it tells of the Light, like none other dare.
it tells of the Light, like none other dare.
Provoked by a heartbreaking post I read today in another blog.
This Bench follows me room to room, down the stairs and out the door. What drew Dave Bignell to capture it?
“Well I used to walk through Hyde Park every morning when I worked in London and of course every season transformed my surroundings. I think in this particular case the bench just looked lonely or somehow protected by the lamppost, like it was standing guard.
It is delicious chilly outside here in Bangalore India, welcome chilly after a humid late monsoon. I’ve been blog writing ferocious after 365 days of waiting for our youngest to heal. My mind is too preoccupied to start December decor officially at home, but this photograph last week pulled me in like lyrics of a yuletide cantata would; you thought you got its message, but nah not yet.
My Ma and Gran went at Christmas like heaven would have a heart attack if they didn’t. I’m not the high octane happy worker bees they were, not me, but this photograph from a place I’ve never been gets my attention just when energy levels are belly crawling. There I said it.
Out in my street by a bus stop, two men in the sidewalk, not 25 years old but with ancient eyes: one spits paan*, the other stares back at me. His friend looks away. They must think I’m waiting for a bus-
Life’s a bus, my Dad would say in his earlier years.
He couldn’t speak much before he went. Illness did that to him. I wish he’d stayed, but you don’t get to order these things. The 25 year olds in the pavement would understand that. Life’s not a bus Dad, its an earth in orbit going on and on. Seasons change, you and I in the beach, you laughing at me falling off the cycle, I was a hopeless learner. You were Unshakeable, you never told me I couldn’t do something if I wanted to. You never lost courage, ’twas seasons that went to winter around you. It got in you almost, like a chill season but inside you were the same person. You and I cannot really change even if I’m quieter these days of rising price, oh fixing salads with no onion, he-he what’d Gran have done with the onion mini-famine we have here? She’d grow her own veggies..
no dad its no bus: we are sitters, walkers, standing leaving arriving. Life is beautiful Dad, you didn’t want to go, who wants to die except my neighbour Mr.Alvarez and his Haiku poems on graves and sweet dying, he reads it out, smacks it out like it is candy. At Christmas Mr. Alvarez misses his two daughters in Kuala Lumpur and Greece, then he wants to hang low and not talk to his round faced wife who will not talk either. Please dear God, keep them from visiting this us this Christmas, I cannot answer questions about new lights, I like the ones we have, a few don’t work here and there but they are milestones of things we did and did not do. Alvarez has to deck his roof with lights to outshine Mars. He says so, that’s how I know. I like my life next to jacaranda trees with squirrel, our muted traffic snarls and manger clay angels with chipped nose and yes, Joseph’s (human father of Jesus) miniature clay head fallen off last Christmas: need to cello tape him back on.
At home we finish a chinese lunch, Kitsy our teenager enjoys playing chef. Jeff my husband is at a river in his easel, he paints rivers, no surprise. He’s from hilly river running Coorg district south of India. Dia and Joh are a few kms away getting the sun. No more seizures for Joh hopefully, but the aggressive side effects of his meds have us running circles to work his chi & chu, or whatever energies are called. Li my sis called last night, she doesn’t feel like Christmas with Dad and Ma gone, she cannot decorate for carolers, her knee hurts. How are you Ray? Just back from a village visit with her carol crew, Li is a village doc. She reminds me of Dad, and Ma in bits. Thel, eldest sis is like her own self + added fizz over the years. Me I’m growing more like my kids, picking their vocabulary and shoulder shrug. Rolling of eyes in particular is liberating but on my generation it looks rude; they get away with it. We hang in together, Haha like parked lampposts and bench, and tree. In season and out.
This Bench. It is park furniture. All the stories and footprints and winters that have gone by haven’t moved it. It is untransformed, though a little worn, yes?
Christmas isn’t the nicest time for those who have lost a loved one, or lost heart; for those feel alone it is easily a time of more than they can bear. I’m thinking about the quality of not being moved. I’m thinking of that Lamp post, the Tree and Bench all there like friends.
I guess December is that time we could spin stories out of threadbare sack cloth but I’m feeling the right to not be moved and it’s a heart strengthening feeling.
I’m thinking on something I read about: that Unshakeable Kingdom we all have for the asking; that secret place deep inside where the Love of God stands by us like a Light in a storm. That storm ravaged place where we’re parked? It can feel cold and uninviting, or it can create whole new perspective: Strength that waits out the winter. I’m the bench, the lamppost, the trees; sometimes I’m the snow…
*paan- betel leaf.
There is a tide turning in your life,
a season returning,
a plot softened by the unexpected
This is time to weep release,
dance healing, restore
A time to take
stake claim make returns on what you never thought remembered your name
This is that time,
it comes by once in a few ways,
crumbs of yesterday.
This is that time, a tide turning,
a season a harvest, waiting
Where no one knows,
It pours out.
Jars. Oil, RN
No alarm bell, no burst of glory. It tiptoed in ‘neath my gate. It wouldn’t hold my hand, It couldn’t. I was cold cold cold, every leaf in my garden shrivelled, ashed; Ivy & dust layered the ground and walls of my address.
When Healing came It bled into me. It Crossed boundaries I had built. It broke Itself like Bread over my hunger and poured Itself out like Water over my drought. New metaphors crowd my space. This had been desert with no oasis. Now, this Healing-
growing me into things I do not want to recognize:
a Garden of Shadows where a Lone One prays. Prays as if for me. What’s this. He breaks on two planks where He hangs, I hate this like a personal wound. I’m screaming words with no decibel: He’s saying it for me. Two words, three- I will never forget. “IT IS FINISHED.” He said, smiling stars in His eyes as if we were in Paradise being made over again.
wait. He takes my buried memoirs of habits of pain.
But I can’t have them back, He says. Healing takes it all away. I’m blinded by an emotion with no name, Its a Light falling careful in my blind eyes. It grabs my poison ivy with new strong Vine: It inhales me, slamming my dying dead inside, don’t ask how. I have no Theory, no Words wise or pretty. All I know, when Healing came to me I was dead blind, now I see:
I see Scars, Its Body broken. Healing has scars, you get this? I don’t and maybe never will, not till we go Face to Face past that proverbial Glass darkly in the way. Now I peer through Reason, Logic, Theories, Rule. Oneday when we have crossed our rules, we will see the host of things that see us now. Oneday we will break through gravity bound toes: on that day we will see what we question these days. Oh when Healing came It broke Its news gentle to me. It knew I’d be suspicious,afraid,disbelieving…
When Healing walked into me, It spoke things I believed I couldn’t know…..
that gain came in via loss, true I knew, but what else could a human fight for? We needed this. This War for Survival was our one socially acceptable behaviour; it united man and woman and child and nations and bazaars and gangsters and priests, it fed global talks and need. If I didn’t do Survival what tell aunty Maya I was doing ? Or Pastor Sahil. Or neighbour Bishhy. Or Karu Harben my brilliant corporate cousin. What tell Didi Grey my mentor..or art collaborators… that I didn’t care anymore how I’m being received;
who could I be, what of my ‘me‘?
When Healing came It talked into me – sacred syllables of the Father Son and Holy spirit, groans not uttered by the carnal 5 senses: we are heart and mind and spirit soul, beyond flesh and sensor. I had territory within that must heal first*, my Healer said, it began in the acres acres acres (deep in my core where we live or die, there we heal, there we host our virus, our sickle cells, our warrants of life, our predictions of peace. If we die there, how could we survive in the peripheries?) ..
Healing took me to an impossibly narrow dizzy path. When I began to heal- one tiny step at a time, It unleashed me to run my feet like a deer’s in cliff edge sheer mountain. Fear rose bitter gall in my throat and I killed it like a beast is killed with bare hands: something I’d tried an entire lifetime, now it happened with one rapid wish;
here was this desire to thank every mean thing that had ever come my way, hey yes those nasties I’d crumpled over? Them. They were my helpmate, they now proved my brick and mortar needed to build foundation of this impossible route. “Forgive. Go on higher,” The Healer pled with eyes of deathless Love, and the Light of that gaze scorched my last defense, over and over like with birth pangs. How could I have known this detail if I hadn’t needed healing ?
Why haven’t You been here earlier- how much went in wasteland of my nothing. My Healer replied as if I had spoken, He said,”You are more than all this. In these deserts more Gardens could grow, if you go. “
Say what, why? There’s more folk like me, why would I care, but now I did.
When Healing came to me It rained and Its Tear whetted my thirst for Its fact. I used to think with Healing I would be strong again to return to old strengths, I’d be a pillar of fortune, a wheel of Change. Oh look- see how nice healing is, but that is not Its way. It told me things I couldn’t know.
When Healing began I leaned my core on Its Strength. No more great burden of goodness to bear! I was still a torn leaf garden but with new shoot- as if I had wing, the Healer said,”Never mind your Self. Rise..”
When Healing came It did not give me wings, that’d have scared us all.
It is much more than we show and tell, it’s in the way grass grows o’er and o’er and wise men die and babies born will oneday grow to know more than you or I confess. When Healing can, It will come to you and the Light you see will be outside of our incapacities, then perhaps you too will say to another, “…how else could I have known…?*”
Inspired by our son(& little brother Joh) as he heals.
I said, “If You are here, talk to me,” and all I heard was the silence of my prayers emptying at altars and incense bowls.
“Talk to me,” I said but Your silence was like my emptying prayers at altars of incense bowls.
Talk to me talk talk to me I said, and in the silence of my emptied prayers You spoke and it was like a billion billion voices asking to be heard. To be heard.
Art RN, detail of Valley of Songs.
As 2020 signals her arrival who’s ready for another spin around the sun, another 365 solar exposures?
I’m just about tucking into December, unsure that I want any change to scheduled yuletide calendar- perfect days here wreathed with red print ribbon and a graphic babe Jesu swathed in glossy paper. It has been a busy year I’ll say, and December feels like the beginnings of a healing. (Do read my post https://innerdialects.home.blog/2019/12/06/heart-lift-2/ if you’d like details). The storm of healing isn’t swift, it is slow- baked bread aroma wafting in, whether I believe it or not;
Its that globally appropriate time to count blessings, spread acts of gratitude, and kiss away curses. A time to gather falling leaf and sweep aside differences of opinion if we can. We wish strangers, wear reds, eat, dress, shop, smash cobwebs, hey take out personal garbage, find tinsel in morning mist, that kind of thing. It’s not even christmas eve and I am feeling Mme.2020 breathing down my neck. She waits with calendars and diaries, promise cards and sermons on the net, in our pulpits, in manuscripts we write when no one’s looking. And yet it’s impossible to make a doctor smile, he gives you a “You’re not out of the woods yet,” kind of look. It keeps joy in check. It purses my lips and plays down highs.
God dearest, this I need: to rinse out every negative. This I want: to grab this moment and pay tribute to the good the bad the ugly sinful wretched and yes, the glory of Yayy; all our hallelujahs, our hashtags of grouch: gratitude for every shadow that shivered my soul, and for every piece of sun that slid in past boundaries. They made us who we are today: raw, real…
That said, (and it doesn’t half cover my list of ‘Joy in the morning after night of DUH)
– who made calendars and dates? We could’ve been one long stretch from Adam to now right. One long year, no leaps. Who would’ve known which year was leapy, which was not? We could be mortals breathing one day at a time, each day it’s own keeper. Now we have calendars. Someone named months. Days. Someone wrote poems on the passing of days and months and invited emotions and here we are gazing at 2020 years of Us.
December is that decked up hall of annual fame: holly and biryani stalls, reindeer next to Kurta Shoppe, Santa caps hanging out with sherwanis. If you’re in India you’ll get this. I love the mess, the messages in our bazaars,in our little corners and pathways that cross globally. It’s a festive reminder of us all sharing narrowing space in an era that owns way too many things that must go, way too many forecasts of those that will arrive, to leave again. Lines melt into each other, heroes are villains and vice versa, what is beautiful what is ugly I cannot say. Lines converge in narrowing spaces between pain and some.
Just in now from a walk there was this furious man outside a flower stall, he stacked bouquet in a rough paper bag, his hands large clumsy and fascinating, I had to stop staring. Took a quick look at his face and saw tears. That was raw but with a sense of beauty birthing, or I’d like to wish that for him and his;
or the sound of a baby raven his scruffy head and junior-gravel rasp, waiting for his chow: but he’s gorgeous;
& leaves curled dry in the sun, shrivelled buds that got little rain, their neck turning up almost, as if waiting for rain, prisoners of hope. It makes me think of headlines praying for better rules for guns and trees, war & peace.
I’m housecleaning. We’re putting up lanterns and baubles collected over the years….., and giving away what we must: 20 days left for all that. Literal/ soul cleansing. Ach. Easier blogged than done, I know. Am trying.
That’s my entire wishlist. It’s going to be tiring but no way 2020 can handle more body/spirit baggage than I can.
And this: am going to spend more time at the feet of heaven. Like today. Today’s Monday. My day with the Creator. Morning glass of hot drink and noon. Then I’m here till 4pm and it refreshes my core like nothing else has. The home goes quiet, lunch is eaten by the rest they might peek in at me:
a day of quiet to lounge at the feet of the Universe and stare with wonder at all the mercies that brought us this far. Some call it Grace. I call Him Father. I don’t know that it can all be curled into a few words. I don’t know much. I’m a gazer, a Stare-er at the fantastique.
Pic on location @M. Isaac’s film. Painting Lord’s Supper, Fisherwoman new walls Singapore,Bangalore. RN.
It’s that time again…
Before we knew about tinsel on trees, Christmas was the best time of the year. We didn’t live with snow reindeer & turkey for dinner; we made match box people in real straw from a local cow shed. There was home made cake and Indian cuisine- ghee rich rices, curry and sweet dough rolled out in different ways. I guess our parents knew what was to be done with the season, Christmas cards arrived and were mailed at a local post office. We got new clothes, and new carols. ‘Luley thou lil tiny child…’ heard that one? At our chapel, 24th midnight service was a thing you didnot miss, it had it’s own air, it’s own smiles. We were excited about things we didn’t fully understand but it was a heart lift. That’s what I’m thinking now, heartlift. It was 16 degrees last night here in the southern tip of our peninsula brrrr way too cold for my skin. We pulled out every last blanket in the house, and as we curled in like a family of bears huddling in layers of reachable warmth, I wondered how it was out there in the street or with folk that do not have enough to cover their toes with extra wool. Woke up early this morning with that same gratitude for every bit of warm at home: rugs, warm shirts and scarf and pullovers, oh hot drink, steaming food, stove, microwave, hotwater, windows that can be shut, doors that stay locked, gratitude for people who care, hugs, laughter, the beginnings of healing, glimmers of well being, trust, faith, birds in trees outside;
it’s been hectic the past months with our youngest recovering from seizures and meds’ side effect trauma. Phew. Everyone’s thresholds are on display. Everyone’s demons come out to play. Right in the beginning of that storm, God released dopamide in my head with an art book contract, and 2 commissions; just when I was giving up and turning into a mama junkie, there was the start of phone calls. Those particular calls that mean a 4pm appointment someplace not so near my domestic area and now I need to comb hair and be seen in something other than my soul-comfort Jean and black Tee.
Yeah God did not stop the storm but the storm did not stop us. I’m sure I’m not the only one that can say amen to that.
So here this time around, am grateful to my teeth bones and unable to organize my head much besides saying, “Thankyou God for visiting my hearth via storms and chill night, thankyou for reminding me of how storms feel and how devastating it can be, the isolation, and pain of changeless illness. Thankyou for reminding me, as my own storm recedes, thankyou for reminding me of people that aren’t exactly rejoicing this season or any. I don’t want to forget this threshold of ache; don’t want to forget how loneliness feels, it’s cold, it’s bitter wound. I wonder how it felt wandering around looking for a place to deliver your baby, cold Bethlehem and a cursing Herod. I’ll never know, but I’m grateful for this taste of pain, it has enriched my heart and life in ways I can’t say if I write a million words. This was all my home could take this year, and I’m cartwheeling grateful, even for voices that cooled and grew more distant.” People are scared of illness, and things I’ll never know. I’m no one to judge. Humans are insecure aren’t we. We are made of bones that break, and we are made of tears that tear us apart if we do not know we are more than mortal- if we forget we are more than soft tissue and neurons- if we forget we are more than surface glitter and social opinion: if we forget we are not invisible: every move we make we leave footprints, heartprints. Every word we breathe say think, we are projecting our self on a large screen that appoints a universe of angel ministers good and bad. Every action bears witness for or against us, how terrible, but there is the core of God, thank God there’s Him. And this advent for me is another visit from the Manger. I love it’s chill draft and need, it’s gifts of touch, of gaze, of friendship .
This time around, I sent mail not to Santa but to One who does all things well. Voice mail that asks for hearts of gratitude enough to warm not just our homes but ones around us; that we will open our senses to people and family or friends, neighbours … strangers… that could do with some ONE thing that could make their day an event of joy, peace. Kindness is a fire, a mountain fire, a wild Bush fire, an unstoppable force that kills indifference. There’s things more than kindness for sure. There’s things people have done for me this season it blows my mind to even unravel it all. Strangers have walked in like angels, praying for us words few dare pray, say, do. There’s evil in this world but now it underwhelms me: there’s goodness and holiness here that freaks me insane with “Ah Lord God, You have made the earth and the heavens.Nothing is impossible with You!”
This season I’ve seen there’s more things to see, hear,touch,taste,inhale,eat,walk through,sit on, give up, arrive at,leave, hold,ask,think,dream, hope for,desire,pray:
This time around, I’m staring at all the trees ever decorated out there with flower and hungry squirrel and winter, and morning dew. I’m staring at the process of God drawing us to the Manger where He waits to deliver us from pregnant pauses. This December I feel an earth waiting to rejoice, heal, celebrate It’s Healer, not just out there but deep within it’s ovens and wardrobes and linen; it’s tables asking for grace, it’s streets needing light and the sound of dancing feet.
And this December I feel you and ask that you will know the joy you deserve and that it will spill out your door and fingers and skin like a light that will never stop shining, and that you will experience heaven all over again, like when you and I first experienced this time of the year- when we were little people with big heart and eyes for wonders at the base of our trees in yards filling with silken winged butterflies…
oh when we even admired wasps, fell in love with ant hills and whooped at pebbles in the beach, the light streaming through them or through cobwebs & dust fairies,
that time when the universe wowed us for the first time, peeping in through our window, at our face staring up at stars fading into daylight, with that sliver of moon a little thin lady next to the silence of the sun,
when we first suspected there was more to this than little stars and an earth spun between days and nights….
that first love. Return my heart to when we first prayed and believed that we were more than conquerors more than the things that wrestle, more than powers and principalities of the dark, more than whisper-lies that we are dead,
aye that first time, we looked up and were kissed by the face of God but we didn’t dare breathe for fear-
that moment of discovery of who we are: an incredible chromosome of heaven. Aye, that. I wish you and me precisely that. Forever.