Alexander Averin

Friday, 8 June 2007

Beauty and the Circle of Life

Dear Diary,

(First part written on Thursday).

A sunless morning I am afraid but there is some good news on the radio. About biodiversity of plant species and habitats. Biodiversity, there’s a grand word, everything has to have a ‘fancy label’ these days or a logo.

(Don’t get me started on logos. I will just say have you signed the online petition?)

I listen to a story about a rare beetle called the wormwood moonshiner, what a wonderful name that is. Apparently it is only to be found in the middle of an industrial estate somewhere, I forget where, just as well really. Best to keep the location a secret I would think. Apparently every public body now has to take regard of what ‘biodiversity’ is to be found on their patch which can only be a good thing. with regard to planning consent, things like that. It is time we humans had regard for the other life on this planet. As a species we have not been here very long and we won’t be here much longer if we carry on as we are. But the Earth will remain.

I wrote recently about the importance of bees to human survival and Bill Oddie was talking about the same subject on ‘Springwatch’. Apparently humans would only survive for six years if bees were wiped out. Six years! So please plant as many bee-loving plants as you can.

The jay is always the first bird I see now in the morning, sh/e is around an awful lot. I must check out the symbolism of this beautiful bird. (M keeps reminding me that they are related to the crows but I try not to associate the jays with their ‘bad habits‘).

It’s amazing what you learn from Radio 4; I always said it was like an education when I listened as a full-time mother bringing up my children.

Apparently there is a ‘fidget’ gene, recently discovered, which explains why some people put on weight and some don’t. Fidgety people stay thin. Well it could be because they live off their nerves? But that could be a gene thing. I think we are like we are because of our genes and not from our upbringing but then I have special insight on that subject.

I have been married 31 years today. We don’t celebrate or anything, in fact most years the date passes and is gone before we realise it. Our wedding was just as low-key; we both wore jeans, only two relatives were present (and our new Dobermann puppy) and then a few drinks in the pub and off on a camping trip to Dorset. Ah those were the days… I saw (and still see) marriage as a piece of paper and felt I didn’t need that to make me commit to someone. We lived together before getting married and I only consented to a wedding because I wanted to start a family, times were different then :)

Yesterday I saw a parent woodpecker feeing her baby at the table. Now a magpie has come; that is unusual. They are around in plenty, in fact they nest in next door’s woodland, but they rarely visit our front garden. He fills his crop at an alarming rate and then flies off; he obviously has babies close by too. As soon as he is away the jay returns and does the same thing. He goes and the collared dove appears. It’s almost as if there is a queue somewhere up in the treetops. As I have said before, one doesn’t need TV here; there is so much drama taking place just outside the cottage.

My son S was up at 4 am. He has gone to Pembrokeshire with my son-in-law as they are shearing some of his sheep that are kept away ‘on tack’ in West Wales. S will be catching sheep I guess and wool-wrapping, that sort of thing.

I have been contacted by BBC Radio Wales as they want our library book group to review a couple of books from the Welsh Book of The Year Long List; they are sending some copies to me straightaway as our deadline is 21st June. I have checked out the list online ( and am very impressed. That over-used phrase comes to mind ‘All are worthy winners’ but it looks to be true in this case.

Wales Book of the year Long List 2007

The Long List for Academi's Book of the Year was announced on World Book Day, 2nd March 2007. The list consists 20 authors from Wales 'marking themselves out as world writers'.

The judges of this long list for Welsh writing were John Rowlands, Gwion Hallam and Elinor Jones. In English writing the judges were Carolyn Hitt, Katie Gramich and Patrick McGuinness.

Welsh Language Long List

Ychydig Is Na’r Angylion (Gwasg y Bwthyn) by Aled Jones Williams
Yr Hunangofiant (Y Lolfa) by Alwyn Humphreys
Un Bywyd o Blith Nifer (Gwasg Gomer) by T. Robin Chapman
Harris (Gwasg Gomer) by Herbert Hughes
Grawn Gwirionedd (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas) by John FitzGerald
Valentine (Y Lolfa) by Arwel Vittle
Ffydd Gobaith Cariad (Y Lolfa) by Llwyd Owen
Pili Pala (Gwasg Gomer) by Catrin Dafydd
Esgyrn Bach (Y Lolfa) by Toni Bianchi
Dygwyl Eneidiau (Gwasg Gwynedd) by Gwen Pritchard Jones

English Language Long List

Running Late (Hutchinson) by Diannie Abse
Ethnicity and Cultural Authority: From Arnold to Du Bois (Edinburgh University Press) by Daniel G. Williams
Growth Rings (Seren Books) by Christine Evans
The Man Who Went Into the West (Aurum Press) by Byron Rogers
The Climbing Essays (The In Pinn) by Jim Perrin
Mr Cassini (Seren) by Lloyd Jones
The First Wife’s Tale (Shoestring Press) by Merryn Williams
The Cut of the Light (Enitharmon Press) by Jeremy Hooker
The Night Watch (Virago) by Sarah Waters
Send My Cold Bones Home (Parthian) by Tristan Hughes

We are being sent one poetry book (hooray) and one prose, not sure yet which prose one but it will be in English as none of our group speaks Welsh which is a shame. When they come I will have a good excuse to sit by the river and read while keeping one eye out for the ‘Glas y Dorlon’ the blue of the river.

Request Time

I keep switching the music playlists on the blog page. I am building play list 3 so if any of you have a particular favourite let me know and I will add it. (Am I a frustrated DJ do you think?).

Now Blessings...

Some writing my daughter has sent me, both some of her own work and also a poem by Gibran which I will post for you at the end.

The bees, need I say more?

And with bees comes honey.

Hay fever has started but thank God I don’t suffer like I did when I was younger. Giving up dairy produce has really helped as has taking local honey daily in the months leading up to June. It also helps with the symptoms. But when it gets bad I do resort to medication; Piriton works well but it makes me dozy, (dozier than usual!) and really spaced-out. But then sometimes that is quite a good state to be in!

The house martins who are growing fat and flying back and forth outside the open study window as I write,; they are within my arms’ reach . It always amazes me how they avoid flying into the cottage through the wide-open windows.


I was drawn to do a bit of ‘oracling’ this morning and I opened a book at random. The page opened at information about gems and crystals, on the Amethyst page. These stones are meant to be calming in grief and to grant deep restful sleep. I am going to buy one for E who has lost her only daughter. The funeral is today.

I was re-reading sections from John O’ Donohue’s ‘Anam Cara’, recently as it is always a comforting book. My newfound sister bought it for me so it is even more special. This is what I gleaned today.

It talks about death as being always within us, both in our negativity and in our fears. Our need for control is one sign of fear. Also another sign is the fear of being ourselves and always trying to live up to some ridiculous ideal (do these ring any bells?)

The way to face any fear is to

Shrink it down to one question:

‘Of what am I really afraid?

This shrinks any fear.

Fear only multiplies if allowed to keep its anonymity.

The Celtic mind resists linearity and thinks and dreams in circles.

Birth, Death. Rebirth, that is a circle.

The dead never disappear but live amongst us while remaining just out of our sight.

I hold that thought, especially today.

I will sign off now with the beautiful poem my daughter sent me (by Kahlil Gibran).

Beauty XXV

And a poet said, "Speak to us of Beauty."

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?

And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle.

Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us."

And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.

Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us."

The tired and the weary say, "beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.

Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow."

But the restless say, "We have heard her shouting among the mountains,

And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions."

At night the watchmen of the city say, "Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east."

And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, "we have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset."

In winter say the snow-bound, "She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills."

And in the summer heat the reapers say, "We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair."

All these things have you said of beauty.

Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,

And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.

It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,

But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,

But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.

It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,

But rather a garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.

But you are life and you are the veil.

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.

But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

Khalil Gibran

Bye for now,


Woozle1967 said...

Lovely, as ever. Happy anniversary for yesterday! 31 years! Well done you guys - an inspiration and heart warming.xx

Faith said...

A garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels forever in flight..... thats so beautiful Cait and reminds me of my garden now. the 'angels' are my doves.

Your blogs always soothe me.

Suffolkmum said...

I was speaking in my head the very same lines that Faith quoted. Beautiful poem, I thought I'd read loads of his but didn't know that one. Happy anniversary. I share similar views on not 'needing' to be married, and we lived together for a while too. But in the end I liked the idea of ritual and celebration with the people closest to us.

Inthemud said...

Belated anniversary wishes for yesterday, , I like your style, we don't tend to celebrate ours either and only had a quiet wedding, but I did wear a skirt , and Stan did put on a suit of a sort!

Biodiversity, seems to be an in term, we have a Project going on at Bucks Green Playing field by the river end.

Thanks for your comments and advice re job, I've been struggling with it and talked to current DD and spent time just thinking and I think gut reaction is to turn down offer, i think Lucy will suffer and So will my health, I don't think I can face driving to Hove every day.........So that's how I feel today!

countrymousie said...

Happy anniversary - I have just done 23 years - he has done some 36 or so on aggregate with others!!
Gosh what a blog.
Didnt live together before marriage but dont feel the same about making it legal now as I did then. No 2 son is unmarried but has a baby daughter and has been with partner 11 years. No one thinks anything of it now do they.

Equus said...

In Ted Andrews' 'Animal Speak' the blue jay can reflect lessons in using your own power properly and it can also reflect lessons in not allowing yourself to be placed in a position in which power is misused against you...... it has the ability to link the heavens and earth, to access each for greater power.
Do you have Ted Andrews' book? I find it very useful in my day to day life. Thanks for writing.

Milkmaid said...

Congrats on Anniversary, I had hoped I'd inherited the fidget gene from my nana, but it looks like my skinny brother got it instead, I love reading your blogs, I usually pick the Irish Rover as background music, shame it stops when commenting. I always understood Jays were related to Magpies
I too resort to sleep inducing medication when my allergies get too much, normally Actifed very old fashioned not many chemists stock it now, not good practice round here to give up dairy, although I do have a slight allergy to it, but that goes for the rest of the farm, kill or cure my motto, some days I think the former is winning

CAMILLA said...

So sorry I missed your anniversary Cait, I am sending you lots of wishes, for a HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. I had mine in April, 37 years. Yet again dear Cait, a truly wonderful blog, and so refreshing with gorgeous pictures, wildlife, and then to hear about The River, it sounds wonderful where you live. I saw a Jay in the garden only last week, at least I think it was, quite a large bird, with light brown body, and the tip of the tail was brightly coloured.
Camilla.xx P.S. forgot to say, beautiful music too.

Frances said...

Hello Cait, and a very happy anniversary to you!

As always, your blog has taken me far away from New York. Thank you for that effortless ride. No security checks, I can keep my sandals on, etc.

Now to your dj offer. Do you have anything by Aretha? I would never turn down Instant Karma. A bit of Ella Fitzgerald, Richard Thompson. Haven't heard Waterloo Sunset in a while. Please let us know when you might want more.


Pondside said...

Happy Anniversary, Cait. I enjoyed this evening's bit of music. I meant to say that I loved the Chris Isaac's piece a few nights ago.

@themill said...

Happy Anniversary to you too. i also posted this to you on my blog -foolishly.

Pondside said...

Hi again, Cait. I just decided to drop by again this morning to let you know how much I enjoy your blogs. I find them very restful, even when you talk about difficult things - what is it? Maybe the music or the background colour, definitly the writing.
Anyway, thank you for the little haven of peacefulness you've created.

LittleBrownDog said...

Congratulations on 31 years of marriage! In your writing, I think you always sound so youthful, it's hard to imagine you have been married for such a long time.

Beautiful, thoughtful blog, as always. Thank you.

patsy said...

Happy Anniversary Cait, another beautiful June Bride!
Pats xx

Frances said...

What a sweetie you are, Cait.
Such a treat to hear the music!

Anonymous said...

An enchanting blog, reminding us how life can take many different paths. There can be a house full of joy and excitement yet doors away, a family can be suffering such pain.

Every day of marriage or just being together is a comfort in our lives, 31 years, however, is an achievement! Happy anniversary, Crystal x