29 February 2016

scenes from spherical life



Write a blog for eight years and it's not surprising that there are times when you feel that you are covering old ground because you probably are. It may be a route that takes you past the same place again - shopping at the market, cycling to the gym, a walk to the library.  Or a ritual - the lighting of a candle as the light goes on a winter afternoon, making a favourite cake- again!, settling down to a Saturday evening murder, preferably somewhere in the north or, a topical favourite, the unfolding of spring - the appearance of new buds, different birds moving in, sudden showers, late frosts. Whatever it is, chances are it will provide a comfort of sorts, perhaps reinforce a sense of place and belonging. Occasionally it might induce a rising desire for change, anything from a niggling itch to a sense that something more profound needs to shift.  February - j'accuse!



This isn't leading up to anything dramatic. It's just that I've been thinking a lot about this circularity, how to value the best of it without relying too much on the familiar. So I'm using the bike less, walking instead and building into those outings little detours from familiar paths, focusing on what I can hear -the sonic walk- as much as what I can see. It has been surprisingly fulfilling. Just another form of mindfulness I suppose, but one that makes you realise that actually the diesel engine from barges all sound slightly different, how a runner's shoes slap on the towpath as they jog past, that a crush of  buddleia across the canal is still as full of sparrows as it was several years ago, what a blessing that is when the building sites by local watersides have lost trees inhabited by small songbirds.



Those dispossessed birds don't give up. A late afternoon walk a few weeks ago took me over the Green Bridge crossing the A12 and there in a scrabble of shrubs a robin ignored the fumes and build up of rush hour traffic and sang for who knows how many other birds and a contented human audience of one.

So here we are on Leap Year Day. It's cold but the sun is shining. I've finally completed this post which  I started at the beginning of the month. I'm waking up too. I shan't be asking anyone to marry me, but that's another story.

11 comments:

Liz said...

You're right, there's something very reassuring about all the predictability, the familiarity, the sameness (who was it who said, 'There is no content here, only dailyness'?). But, yes, it's good to have a plot twist every now and again. Enjoy your walks. I'm considering a change of lipstick colour.

colleen said...

I tried that too!

VP said...

There is something reassuring about the familiar, circular patterns of life, especially those outlined by the seasons.

However, that doesn't mean the circle can't go 'wobbly' from time to time. Life is so rich, it's good to explore everything on offer, even within the boundaries of one's own circle.

A lovely post, especially the reminder that life isn't just about what we can see. We need to use our other senses too.

materfamilias said...

Oh, well put! "How to value the best of [the circularity] without relying too much on the familiarity." I'm on the brink of a significant change right now, perhaps watching the last wheel of one particular circle. . . and wondering what other comforting cycles I'll be able to recognise once I've let go of the ones I assume structure my life. . .

colleen said...

Thanks VP. You are so right about the importance of exploring what's on offer, even within the bounds of the familiar.

Materfamilias - good luck with the change! It took me some while to get used to the anchor of my job, but oh the freedom!

annjennyg said...

There's a real art to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, but I think you have a gift for that Colleen. You always seem to be able to look at things from a different angle and capture it in words.

colleen said...

That's very kind Ann Jenny. On that late afternoon when I heard the robin singing on the bridge I had walked home from the River and there were tiny signs of promise everywhere. And who doesn't love the sound of robins?

rachel said...

A lovely mindful post, Colleen. It's that time of year where you really do need to look or listen very carefully to get beyond the chill and dreariness of some days. But there's always something to lift the spirits. Today I spotted a scarlet elf cap (tiny little fungus) gleaming like a beacon amongst all the wet rotting branches and mud on our combe walk. Tomorrow I shall go back with my camera!

Gina said...

Such a lovely thoughtful post. There is comfort in the familiar but it is good to shake things up a bit sometimes. I was listening to a robin sing as I dug out my veg beds just a couple of days ago. Such a joyful little song.

Val said...

A nice, mellow, thoughtful piece ...as I type this comment I am sitting at the kitchen table, with the Sun shining through the window (bliss) I can hear the steady fast muffled thumping of a woodpecker or nuthatch (I'll have to go check) having his breakfast on the suet feeder hanging outside the front door.
The cat sits on the aquarium lid and glares (ears flattened)at him ..not amused (we've had the lid reinforced as fat tummy has fallen in twice already... (sorry this comment got a bit long!)

colleen said...

Ah, Val. An Alaskan Spring. Fat cats, woodpeckers, nuthatches. Beautiful.