I knew when he set the copy of Good Housekeeping magazine to one side that he had been waiting for me. Not me specifically, but a version of me; someone on their own who would speak and not shrug; someone who would agree with him that it was a day for indoors; someone who thought … Continue reading Encounter
My great-uncle Gerry grew it from seed. He liked to eat apples, must have eaten a particularly nice one on the day he decided to plant the pip and grow his own, which, they say, is a hard thing to do. But he had no knowledge that to propagate an apple tree from seed is … Continue reading Silver Apples of the Moon, Golden Apples of the Sun
“In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.” Isn’t that a lovely line? It’s from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. It makes me think about reframing awful things in a different way. Maybe this (insert whatever your trouble is) isn’t so bad after all. And if to reframe … Continue reading The Sunset of Dissolution
I had driven to the north-west shore of Edinburgh, still within the city boundary. The tide timetable pinned to a board told us we had a four-hour window to walk out, around, and back from the tidal island lying in the Forth. When I first moved here, I met a man who told me that … Continue reading Cramond Island
There’s something about staring out to sea that slows one’s breathing, and no matter how rough the sea is, the mind calms, ideas stir, if you happen to be with someone, easy conversation flows. I was sitting on a bench yesterday, looking out to sea, friend beside me, take away coffees, scones in brown paper … Continue reading If I Knew Then
I’m so glad I don’t love cars. It must be a blight, a curse on one’s life to feel the pressure of wanting, of needing to drive something sleek and fast and fancy. If – Janis Joplin style – the Lord were to buy me a Mercedes Benz, I would thank him and accept it, but having … Continue reading Who’s Going To Drive You Home?
Over four nights, I read The Old Man and The Sea to the two brothers, twenty-five pages before they went to bed. I did wonder at their eyes staring into corners of the room, seeming to follow spiders, or shadows, sometimes a hand reaching absently for another Ginger Snap. Were they listening at all, or were they … Continue reading Destroyed but Not Defeated
Five people holding hands and dancing in a circle. Dance (La Danse) is a 1910 painting by Matisse. The bodies are painted red, they dance on a mound of green, the backdrop behind them (sky?) is blue, and they are naked. The colours are vibrant – two primary colours, one secondary – and the simple, primitive style … Continue reading Gotta Dance
Do you ever see beauty in something that is not conventionally beautiful?
I visited Heaney’s grave with my friend last week. First, we went to The Homeplace, the arts centre in Bellaghy that celebrates his poetry. I’d been before and I love it. Loved seeing how a poem moves through multiple iterations of scoring and scribbles and shifting around before he gets to something he’s happy with. … Continue reading Seamus Heaney’s Grave