Friday, 8 June 2007
Beauty and the Circle of Life
(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 (academi.org) 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.
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?).
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).
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.
Bye for now,