Alexander Averin

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Over the rainbow

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

I may have blogger’s block as I don’t seem to feel inspired to write on one particular subject. This may have to be a bit of a ramble so bear with me.

I rose early this morning even though I am on leave from work as I had to make a little journey in the car to pick up something from the library. I throw on some clothes - layers are the order of the day again and the only way to keep warm. A quick drink of fruit juice and a yogurt and I’m off, tea and porridge will have to wait for my return. It’s another cold morning, hardly above freezing and still ice lies about so I have to be very careful, especially underfoot. Luckily the main road has been gritted, our gritting angel comes regularly; another unsung hero is that man.

When I arrive back home about half an hour later it is still only nine o’ clock and I take the dogs for their run in the field. We don’t venture on the bridge in the garden as it is ‘skew wiff’ - it still lies at an angle where it was ‘moved’ in the Great Flood and it will also be icy. I know from past experience how quickly one can slip on (or off!) it so I am not taking any risks with myself or with Finn and Kitty . Much as Kitty loves water, I doubt that either dog would relish falling into an icy river.

So we go over the road bridge and enter the field gate. Everywhere is cloudy except one far side of our valley which is bathed in sunlight. These are the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains and they shine a rusty gold, interspersed with small blankets of green, the sky a bright blue; it is like a distant oasis of summer amidst the cold and grey of a chill November.

The dogs and I set off for a stroll around the five acre field. They run well together; Kitty is the more energetic, she is still young and being a border collie her energy is boundless. Finn is an elderly lurcher with the heart of an angel and he tolerates all Kitty’s tormenting as she play bites him and charges, tempting him to race with her.

It rains on and off, the sun peeps out at me from behind another hill and then as I turn to look again at the mountains I see the arch of a rainbow and it brings a little lurch of delight that I feel somewhere in my solar plexus (the sixth chakra?). A friend of mine saw a double rainbow last week, they are quite a rare sight and I am sure they would bring double delight in their wake.

I am still dreaming of rescuing two donkeys, I cannot make my mind up yet. I will think on it until the spring as that would be a good time to get some. Donkeys keep haunting me, as things do when you have them in your mind. The air is pure and crisp and I am tempted to stay outside but I have to do a few little jobs in the garden.

The first job is the replenishing of the bird feeders, the rate at which they get through the nuts and seeds is amazing and they adore M’s home made bread, I saw four blue tits fighting over a crust of it yesterday. Like everyone else I am trying to make savings but cannot bring myself to stop feeding the birds. I have even bought a new ‘feeding station’, (a grand name for a set of metal hooks), but the ground has been too cold for M to install it in what will be its new home by the river. This morning my little friend the robin speaks to me from the wooden bird table, I understand his language of course but invariably he says the same thing ‘Where is the food?’. Sometimes he appears at one of the cottage windows and just stares at me. There is no need for words.

The nuthatch is the first to arrive on the newly filled nut holder, even he is less shy than he used to be. I call him Norman, God knows why.

I have some new solar lights to install as well but that job will have to wait for a thaw.

It is raining steadily now but it is like my beloved Irish ‘soft’ rain, the kind I feel at home in and could be happy walking in all day but M is calling and is mentioning tea so, somewhat reluctantly, I go indoors, throw off my wellies and a few of my layers and plan the rest of my day over a nice big mug of Yorkshire Gold. (There is no tea like it except perhaps Barry‘s from Cork!).

A poem before I go?

It has to be William Blake.

On Another's Sorrow

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear -

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

William Blake
Songs of Innocence

And will there be blessings?

I try to be original in my choice of blessings but the same ones do keep recurring and I apologise for that. Is there a limit to the blessings one can receive in this life?

Rainbows. Need I say more? There has been sad news all around lately and I hope the rainbow is a symbolic message that all shall be well.

The great writer Maya Angelou was at the Hay Festival a few years ago and she spoke of rainbows. She said

"When it looks like the sun isn't going to shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds,"
She also said that poetry had become a rainbow for her. I can identify with that.

The power of the group. Community. Even an online group can carry great energy, can be a comfort, can bring about friendships that would otherwise never be. What a great force for good the Internet can be and it has been life enhancing for so many. So Purplecoo you are a special blessing and not just for today.

Talking of groups I must mention the book group. We met last night in the library and it was another very enjoyable meeting. We discussed Martin Booth’s Industry of Souls, a very good book that was shortlisted for the Booker some years ago.

Talking of good books I am reading a great one at the moment. It is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wrobleski, I am only half way through it, it’s a long one but it is one of those books you don’t want to put down. If you are a dog lover you may get more from it but even if you are not I would say it is a must read.

A new song that can lift the heart, A new voice that can touch one.

But here’s an old one. A song for you all. Enjoy.

Bye for now,
Go mbeanna Dia duit,


Frances said...

Cait, yes you have written of many topics, and throughout all you post your very unique spirit shines away. Thank you.


Pondside said...

That's one of my favorite versions of that old song.
I like the way today's post took us on a little ramble.......or two.

Elizabeth said...

Loved the account of walking out with the dogs and not wanting to fall into the cold water.
So vividly there.
The Blake a super choice of poem.
All best wishes from New York

willow said...

The poetry you post always pairs so nicely with what you're experiencing. I love the new header with the blanket of fields covering the child!

Withy Brook said...

Lovely and so apt, Cait.

Nan said...

I so enjoyed reading this. Beautifully written. Thank you.

Lane said...

A soothing post and a beautiful Maya Angelou quote.

I've heard that version of the song(s) before (isn't it lovely) but never realised who it was by so I went to have a read about him. Thank you:-)

Also thanks Cait for your comment on my blog about the library. Much appreciated:-)

Pili pala said...

Lovely blog. What a beautiful poem. Thank you for your kind comments xx

CAMILLA said...

Such a beautiful post you have written Cait, thank you.

I love that piece of music by that artist, one of my favourites.


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

If this is "a bit of a ramble", then I like it when you ramble. So many lovely images you conjure up, wonderful poetry and song. Even book suggestions! You are the second person to recommend Edgar Sawtelle, so I meed to check that one out.

Edward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edward said...

Lovely rambling blog, beautifully composed as always. Industry of Souls is, indeed, a wonderful book - Milla's reviewed it for her bookgroup:

(Previous comment truncated long URL)

alison said...

Hi Cait,

I've come over from Nan's Letters From a Hillfarm blog and wanted to say hello. I love what I've read of your blog and look forward to visiting the archives. Your latest post is lovely, and I enjoyed the William Blake poem - my blog name actually comes from a line in his "Crystal Cabinet" when he mentions a "lovely little moony night".

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