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The Life Enthusiast Chronicles with Gallivanta

Gallivanta:

You may remember that a while back I dedicated my post ‘May the Singing Never Be Done’  to  Britt, life/history enthusiast, blogger, and author of Nola Fran Evie.

BUT the dedication to Britt came with a proviso…..that she locate the Totem Pole by Chief Lelooska in Portland, the replica of which stands near Christchurch Airport.

Britt took up the challenge with her usual gusto, and is about to reveal all in a forthcoming post on her blog, A Physical Perspective. I can scarcely wait to hear what she discovered, and how. Whilst she was off searching for the Totem Pole, Britt decided to issue her own challenge to me  (tit for tat ;) ).  My challenge? To write a guest post for her regular series the Life Enthusiast Chronicles.

Gulp! I thought. But I gave it a go. Here is the result, my first guest blog. After my initial ‘gulp’, I thoroughly enjoyed writing for Britt’s Chronicles. Have fun with me and the sheep, and please remember to bookmark Britt’s blog if you want to find out more about the Totem Pole challenge.

Originally posted on a physical perspective:

Last month Andrea Stephenson of Harvesting Hecate revealed how crucial it is to remain curious in life, to explore every piece of the world, inside and out. In my monthly series, The Life Enthusiast Chronicles, beautiful beings from all over the world explain why life is so awesome to them.

This month I’m overjoyed to bring you guys Gallivanta from Silkannthreades all the way from New Zealand. Gallivanta’s blog is always playful, positive, intelligent, and inspiring. Even simple photos from her garden seem to awaken something special in all of her readers, including yours truly. Her youthful zeal shines through her words and I always leave her blog smiling big. 

To show you all one example of what a lively woman she is, back at the end of July Gallivanta sent me on a totem pole quest in Portland. Yep, a totem pole quest. I’ll write about my discovery…

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Finishing what I started

Practising growing younger, as per my previous  post , seems to have made me more forgetful, not less,

The forgetfulness of youth

The forgetfulness of youth; it exists; the evidence is in the lost property boxes at schools. :)******

for, until I read  Sheri’s latest post, I had  forgotten I had yet to complete my contribution to the Writing Travel Blog. Sheri invited me to participate way back in June!  I made a good  start. Now it is time to finish what I started.

There are four parts to the Writing Travel Blog:

1.What are you working on now?

The answer, as I gave before, is simple; I am only working on that which is before me; this post. However, for a bit of levity, I will add that I am also working on growing younger. The budding, exuberant growth in the garden provides inspiration for this task.

 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Since my “work” is my blog, I have to say that it doesn’t differ much from other blogs.  Like many others, I have a mixture of text and photos, some humour and some more serious moments. Perhaps, one small idiosyncrasy is that I like to have layers (usually of meaning) in my posts. Layering challenges me as a writer but it also gives the reader many options and angles from which to choose when reading my words. For example, you may not be interested in my photographic take on the apple blossom, but you may be intrigued to know that the  blossom is on a columnar Ballerina apple tree  , which produces full-sized apples, and is the perfect fruit tree for a small, city garden.

Another angle on the apple blossom

Another angle on the apple blossom

3. Why do I write what I do?

Nowadays I write mostly for fun but the ‘why’ of the blog is still adequately expressed on my About page:

  • to communicate our daily life to our family all over the world;
  • to explore the theme of Joy & Woe as expressed by William Blake in Auguries of Innocence;
  • to counterbalance the woe caused by the four large earthquakes and the 12,500 after shocks (to date) our city has experienced since the first big shake on  September 4, 2010.

4. How does my writing process work?

Usually I read something, hear something, or see something, that prompts me to cogitate on a certain subject. Ideas and words form in my mind over a few hours or days, and when I have written my post, in my head, more or less how I want it to be, I come to the computer and write it down. Sometimes the transfer from head space to computer space goes smoothly; sometimes not. I don’t like to do drafts but I do spend  time making sure a post sounds right ( to me); so that means hours of fiddling and checking and checking and fiddling before I press Publish, and send  off my work into the plein air of the blogosphere, to ripen and flourish under the warmth of your readership.

Apricot ripening in the warmth of its small world.

Apricot ripening in the warmth of its small world.

Final part:

To link back to the blogger who sent you the invitation to participate; that’s the lovely  Sheri who is a writer and a passionate mental health advocate, as well as a generous reader and supporter of my blog and those of many other bloggers.

Strawberries growing together, in good company

Strawberries growing together, in good company

To invite other bloggers to join the Writing Travel Blog.

It’ s hard to choose but, today, my thoughts are with Stacey LePage at  In the Corner and  Cynthia Reyes. They are on difficult journeys. They are wonderful, spirited people. There is no pressure to accept my invitation to be part of the Writing Travel Blog but your stories are ones I am honoured to share.

******

Who has sharp eyes? Is there anything that bugs you about the first  photo of forget-me-nots? Apart from the lack of focus. :)

© silkannthreades

Inappropriate language

Mouse ears  Myosotis  Forget-me-not to listen to our every word.

Mouse ears/ Myosotis/ Forget-me-not to listen carefully  to my every word.

I am thinking about ageing; specifically, the inappropriate language we use to describe the ageing process. We speak about decline, deterioration, dementia,  diminishment and loss of dignity. Our words depict a downward spiral, and a negation of being.   We talk of growing old, yet that is only what happens in numerical terms. In reality we grow younger. We become part of a re-creation, a transformation, of our body and mind. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is really not so curious at all.  Most of us will become infant-like towards the end of our earthly life.

My mother spends most of her time in a day chair. She is bone-weary. She finds it hard to accept her ‘re-creation”. She misses her walking and reading, and a clear mind.

In a quiet moment during my recent visit, she said,” Someone said to me,  I think it was Pop, ‘Don’t get old, K….., old age is a bugger’.”  We chuckled wryly about her father-in-law’s statement. In today’s terms, he was not old when he gave his words of wisdom. However, he followed his own advice and died in his early seventies. His stubborn daughter-in-law  took no heed but, now, at 92 is beginning to understand the aches and pains and ennui  that prompted those words.

Yet, despite the undeniable physical discomfort associated with increasing years, my mother’s perspective on age and that of my grandfather are part of a culture that sees age as a disability,  an indignity, a vexation and a condition that requires separation from mainstream society in nursing homes or gated retirement complexes*.

Is it possible to change our perceptions of ageing by changing our language? As does John O’Donohue…

For Old Age

May the light of your soul mind you.
May all your worry and anxiousness about your age
Be transfigured.
……
from John O’Donohue’s ‘To Bless the Space Between Us’.

Without devaluing a long life and the wisdom gained, could we not accept and cherish the re-creation/ transformation we undergo as the years add up?. Can we teach ourselves to look forward to a time when we are as helpless and loved as a new-born baby?  Can we  learn to say to ourselves, ” I am not growing older. I am growing younger by the minute. And I am fine with that.” A tall order!  But not impossible.

Matthew 18: At that time the disciples came to Jesus
and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Although my mother follows the Christian faith, her confidante and special companion for many years has been  the Laughing Buddha. Some years ago she gave me a Laughing Buddha, too. He sits on my table and keeps me company. The Laughing Buddha speaks a universal language. It has no age. It is timeless. Can you hear it in his laughing smile?

 

* As I have said in previous posts, some retirement communities work well for people. They provide security and good living conditions.  However, I still find it odd that we consider it acceptable to ‘corral’ the older members of  our society. We would not, perhaps, accept these types of living situations so easily for other age groups, so why do we readily allow special areas for the elderly? Is it because of the profit that can be made from their perceived need?

© silkannthreades

I was Awol

You may have noticed that I have been absent from my blog and your blogs.

I had an opportunity last week to make a quick trip across the ditch (Tasman Sea) to visit my very elderly, very frail parents in Cairns, Australia. I hadn’t seen them in six years, so a visit was long overdue. I was also able to spend a short time with my daughter in Cairns.

It was a good, but tiring, visit. I will make my way back to blogging slowly over the next few days.

Cairns is beautiful. The weather was perfect. The birdsong was a joy as were my nightly conversations with a gecko. My daughter gave me a wonderful shoulder/head massage. And there were many hugs with family. :)  Saying goodbye to everyone was hard.

Curlews outside my sister's home in Cairns

Curlews outside my sister’s home in Cairns

 

A salad mix from Gallivanta’s Herb Garden

Parsley,

Parsley

Parsley

sage,

Sage

Sage

rosemary,

Rosemary

Rosemary

and thyme,

Thyme

Thyme (which the cat uses for her day bed. :)

and, because she asked for it, rocket,

for Cynthia.

Rocket

Rocket

This rampant rocket planted, perchance, by the light of the moon and a solar-powered torch, some seasons ago has taken off, all over my garden.

It’s my most successful crop ever. Grows better than any of my weeds.

Now, to add to the mix, I have something that Cynthia didn’t ask for, but she is getting anyway; a review of her book, A Good Home, which I have just finished reading.  Here it is. ( You may also be able to see the review on Amazon)

‘Love, laughter, tears, grief, family and community form the cornerstone of any good home, and this holds true for Cynthia Reyes’ heart-warming “A Good Home.’ From the moment Cynthia opened the door to her little pink house in Jamaica until the last pages in the old farmhouse in Canada, I felt like an honored family member in every one of her good homes ( and gardens). I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced, I mourned and marveled with Cynthia and her family. And, when Cynthia’s life shattered into sharp and dreadful pieces, I sat with her in her silence and cheered her own; willed her to allow the wisdom of the old house to begin the healing of her wounds. To my great relief, the healing began. Without it I would not have had the privilege of reading Cynthia’s tribute to the power of a good and loving home. Read and enjoy, and I guarantee that, by the time you reach the last page, you will, like me, be asking the author for a sequel. If you want to know more about Cynthia and her lovely, good home of today, I urge you to visit her blog http://cynthiasreyes.com/

In my  haste to share my enjoyment of this book, I forgot to mention, in my review, another lovely aspect of Cynthia’s story; her frank account of  her ‘doubting Thomas’ struggle with her faith. It cheered me  greatly because it echoes my own faith experiences, which, dare I say it,  are somewhat akin to the salad mix in my garden. Sometimes they are over abundant, sometimes they turn up in unlikely places; sometimes they are tattered at the edges or bug-eaten, or don’t grow well at all. But the amazing thing is that there always seems to be enough faith around to nourish me when I most need it.

On Amazon you can read an excerpt from Cynthia’s book, so whilst you all rush off and leaf through that, I’ll prepare us a delicious green salad with herb dressing that we can share when you’re ready. Deal? :)

From Gallivanta’s Herb Garden, with love.

With love

With love

© silkannthreades

Saturday Satisfaction

To end the week, as I began it:

Come sit awhile with me,

Come and sit at table

Come sit at table

and celebrate another birthday

Gift of Friendship

Gift of Friendship

for a special friend who lives nearby.

Let’s ” tak a cup o’ kindness yet”* and a tasty treat,

and feel satisfied that we have spent the week as best as we were able.

*Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

 With healing and love and many thanks for keeping me company during this week of daily posts,

Gallivanta

© silkannthreades

Future Fridays

Come pass some time with me,

and watch the children play,

Passing Time by Donald Paterson, Fendalton Library

Passing Time by Donald Paterson, Fendalton Library

for it is for them,

I vote this way.

 Early Voting, Fendalton Library, for New Zealand elections, 20 September, 2014

Early Voting, Fendalton Library, for New Zealand elections, 20 September, 2014

With healing and love,

Gallivanta

© silkannthreades