12.51 ~Holding On

12.51 pm ~

that dreadful moment, 4 years ago, today, that ripped apart what was left of our quaint, quiet world.

I am remembering it.

My heart doesn’t want to anymore, but my brain and my body  insist.  12.51, and all the other moments, beginning Sept 4, 2010, are imprinted on my being ~ indelibly. They have leached to my very core. Part of who I am and what I will be, forever.

Four years on and I still stiffen at any unexpected movement in the house, even if it’s only the wind, or a shake caused by a truck rumbling  on the road.   I startle easily. And, then, there are those moments that come, out of the blue, and screech through my head for an intense few seconds, saying, ” Is it going to happen again, NOW?  Is it, is it? What will I do? What will I do? Will I make it? How will I hold on? Can I hold on? ”  I am standing again in the bathroom doorway, holding on to frame and fear. Indescribable fear.

Then it’s over. I survive, and move on. Slowly. On shaky legs.

I set the table, in some trepidation, with my great-grandmother’s china. (Please no shakes, please no shakes.) I remind myself it has survived more than a 100 years. It is chipped, cracked and crazed, but its beauty and value remains.

A friend brings apples.

What would my Bramley ancestors make of these apples http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravenstein in her serving dish?

What would my Bramley ancestor make of these  apples in her serving dish?

 

She has gathered them from an abandoned, earthquake-damaged property in her neighborhood. She calls them gravestone apples. I like that. They are, in a way. The property on which they grow is like a forlorn graveyard.

I eat the apples. I bake them. They are given new life, new form.

Crostatahttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/apple-crostata-recipe.html meets Chintz, Felicity, Vermont and Williamsburg

Crostata meets Chintz, Felicity, Vermont and Williamsburg at my table.

 

I bake bread, to share.

Bread to share

Bread to share

I want to feast on life, not fear.

Join me. Take a slice,

Take a slice

Take a slice

a spoon, a fork, “dig in”.

For keeps from Kerry. :) featuring Community Plate (Coronation) from my mother's cutlery set.http://www.rubylane.com/item/362270-1936CO-set-modgrille/Oneida-Community-Plate-CORONATION-Art-Deco

For keeps from Kerry. :), featuring Community Plate (Coronation) from my mother’s cutlery set. The tiny teaspoons belonged to my paternal great-grandmother Alice. http://www.rubylane.com/item/362270-1936CO-set-modgrille/Oneida-Community-Plate-CORONATION-Art-Deco

Something to ponder as you digest :

The china used in this post is a metaphor for continuity. The  Flow Blue  semi porcelain plates which belonged to my maternal great-grandmother were produced about 1912. The pattern is Vermont. They were made in England by Burgess and Leigh. The small blue plates, which I purchased just prior to the earthquakes, are also Burgess and Leigh. They are made in the same way and in the same factory as the Vermont china was all those years ago. One pattern is Felicity, the other is Chintz. Felicity is a small, delicate flower pattern reminiscent of elder flowers in a gentle pale blue originating from the 1930s. Burgess Chintz is a delicate blue chintz  pattern dating from the early 1900s, derived from the wild geranium. How any of this china survived the shaking, I will never know.

 

© silkannthreades

Longevity

Longevity

requires a willingness to ‘go the distance’.

Cape Gooseberryhttp://www.edible.co.nz/fruits.php?fruitid=50 has travelled from the wilds of the Andes to colonize the world. South America to the world.

The Cape Gooseberry has travelled, over the centuries, from the wilds of the Andes to colonize the world.

Longevity

requires stickability and a willingness to adapt to whatever life throws at you.

 

Longevity needs a thin skin that understands, and responds to, the changing of the seasons.

Delicate elegant skin

Delicate elegant skin

Longevity needs companionship, creativity, determination, and careful crafting.

 Physalis, Winter Cherry, a paper collage by Mary Delany. Copyright British Museum.http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pd/m/mary_delany,_winter_cherry.aspx

Physalis, Winter Cherry, a paper collage by Mary Delany. Copyright British Museum. http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pd/m/mary_delany,_winter_cherry.aspx

Mary Delany had it ‘in spades’ )

Sometimes, longevity requires sheer bloody mindedness, as well as generous good luck,  but always, always, longevity requires an open, tender, sweet heart :) ,

Sweet centered physalis with nasturtium and marigold

Sweet centered physalis with nasturtium and marigold

( and a never-mind attitude to the all-important gritty bits that hitch a ride ).

Happy Anniversary, Mum and Dad, celebrating 67 years together, this February.  Longevity, it’s a long road.  ;)  Travel well.

Longevity is a long road and a long row to hoe.

Longevity is a long road ( and a long row to hoe ).

© silkannthreades

Lilts

Star-God burns afar
sparkles rata into flame
cicadas chatter
calling time on berries ripe
O Te Waru Haere Mai

February 2nd ~ Groundhog Day, Candlemas, Imbolc, First Fruits, Lean Time, Te Waru, Lammas,  Lugnasad ~ by whatever name we know it, the underpinning story is the same. The earth is sifting seasons. Do you hear its trickled lilt?  What does it sing to you?

Chilean Guavas: New Zealand Cranberries

Calling time on berries ripe

This post was inspired by Juliet Batten’s book Celebrating the Southern Seasons ~ Rituals for Aotearoa,  and Earthbornliving’s blog, Nona Hora, the Ninth Hour.

The Star-God is Rehua (Antares). Te Waru is the eighth month of the Maori calendar.  For more information on our southern seasons, read Juliet’s beautiful post on Lugnasad here.

© silkannthreades

Of an evening

Jasmine and sweet rose
linger long on waning light
summer’s parting bliss

Jasmine and Sweet Rose

Jasmine and Sweet Rose

linger long on waning light

linger long on waning light

summer's parting bliss

summer’s parting bliss

When I posted my evening photos on Facebook, many people seemed  to prefer this one

Of an evening ~in full colour

Of an evening ~in full colour

to the black and white.

I was intrigued.

Sometimes my days are so saturated with colour, I need the lullaby of black and white.

 

© silkannthreades

Radiating Kindness

My interest in decluttering was flagging.  Alys, at Gardening Nirvana, who is a professional organiser in RL,  offered some timely, kindly advice. “Set a timer, ” she said, “and go all out for 15 minutes or so, and see how much you can get done.”  So I did. Yesterday. Worked like a charm. I raced through a heap of files, containing documents dating back to the 1990s, some of which, ( oh irony of ironies ), related to a storage facility I once used in New York!

Sigh of bliss…. so satisfactory !  to achieve so much in so short a period. And not only did I declutter, but I also discovered, tucked away in a corner of a shelf, a small  Helen Exley giftbook , called Words on Kindness.

It’s the dearest wee book, full of wonderful quotes. Several of them I greeted like old friends. Others were as new, to me, because I had forgotten them completely. Many of them moved me deeply.  The quote I have open before me today is this:

Even as a mother
protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all
living beings;
Radiating kindness
over the entire world.
The Buddha ( c 563 – c 483 B.C. )

A painting, Mother and Child, by Edgar Degas, illustrates the text. I cannot find a link to that painting.  Instead, I have selected this painting by Mary Cassatt who worked closely with, and was influenced by, Degas.

Mary Cassat "Mary Cassatt, 1902, Reine Lefebre and Margot before a Window" by Mary Cassatt - [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg

Mary Cassatt “Mary Cassatt, 1902, Reine Lefebre and Margot before a Window” by Mary Cassatt – [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Mary_Cassatt,_1902,_Reine_Lefebre_and_Margot_before_a_Window.jpg

As I read Words on Kindness, in another part of the world, far, far from me, a champion of mothers and children, a champion of kind words and deeds, was celebrating her 91st birthday. I am referring to the remarkable  Dr Catherine Hamlin, co-founder, with her husband Dr Reg Hamlin, of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.  Dr Catherine, has spent more than half a century living in Ethiopia, serving some of the most marginalised women in the world.

” In the 1950s Catherine and her late husband Reg went to Ethiopia to train midwives, but their attention soon turned to the plight of the fistula sufferers.

Together the Hamlins perfected the modern technique for obstetric fistula surgery and
 have treated more than 40,000 women, more than 90% of them cured.”

– See more at: http://hamlin.org.au/#sthash.QyWleIWz.dpuf

An award winner documentary,  A Walk to Beautiful, was made about the fistula patients, and the life-changing care given at the Fistula Centres in Ethiopia.

 

More about the work of the Fistula Hospital and Dr Hamlin can be seen  here. It is a difficult, even harrowing, video to watch but it is ultimately a testament to the transformational nature of compassion and  radiating kindness.

If I can stop one heart
from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life
the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Emily Dickinson (1830 -1886)

Radiating gazania; like kindness it spreads.

Radiating gazania; like kindness it spreads.

© silkannthreades

All Good Gifts ~ a balance sheet

Still in the spirit of keeping track of myself ~

ALL GOOD GIFTS  ( Incomings):

from Cynthia, author of A Good Home, a dedicated post, accompanied by flowers;

from Clare, at  A Suffolk Lane, an introduction to the lovely tradition of the Blessing of the Plough on Plough Sunday, and a reminder of the wonderful hymn ” “We Plough the Fields and Scatter”;

from Robbie (and her friend Lori), at Palm Rae Urban Potager,  notification of Save our Soil Blogger Action Day (21st January ).

 

ALL GOOD GIFTS (Outgoings):

for Robbie ( and Lori ), composting my soil in time for Save our Soil Blogger Action Day, and scattering seeds of buckwheat and wildflowers;

International Soil Day 21 January 2015

International Year of Soils 2015 

for Clare, a beautiful rendition of We Plough the Fields and Scatter,

and a glimpse of a harvest to come,

Cape Gooseberry ~ physalis, amour en cage, golden berry....

Cape Gooseberry ~ physalis, amour en cage, golden berry….

fed on the sweetness of summer raindrops;

False Physalis

False Physalis

for Cynthia, an arrangement

Summer arrangement of roses, mint, sage, borage and heartsease

Summer arrangement of roses, mint, sage, borage and heartsease

for a heart’s ease and a heart’s celebration in all things bright and good, no matter how tiny.

Heartsease,  heart's delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood,  love-in-idleness,johnny jump up

Heartsease, heart’s delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, love-in-idleness, johnny jump up…

© silkannthreades

Hop to it

Four months ago, Nath at  Beautycalypse invited me to join her Blog Hop. I didn’t hop to it immediately because I needed to first complete a similar Blog Hop for  Sheri de Grom.  I completed Sheri’s Blog Hop in October and posted it as Finishing What I Started……then this happened, and that happened, and…w.e.l.l…..skippity hop, hop, here I am, weeks and weeks later, with still no proper response to Nath’s lovely invitation.

So, it’s time to knuckle down, RSVP, and, thus, put my  ‘blogging house’ in order .

Dear Nath, ~explorer of beauty as a philosophy of harmony, creator of BEAUTYCALYPSE, an ad-free blog about ethical excellence~

I accept your invitation to blog hop. Please enjoy my response.

Let’s hope that together we will continue to strive to live wisely and well, and with love, in 2015.

Sincerely Gallivanta

 

WHY DO I WRITE?

Why I write hasn’t changed much since I stated the purpose of this blog on my  About page in 2012.  However, for the next little while, this blog will have an additional purpose;  to keep track of myself, in practical ways, but also in practices of the soul, such as gratitude ~ and love, as epitomized in this quote from St John of the Cross.  “In the evening we shall be examined on love.” ( thanks Clanmother for bringing this quote to my attention  :) )

WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

That is the big question! And this is the big answer.

Last time I answered this, I said I was working on growing younger. I still am. It has taken me a long time to reach my numerical age, so it will take a considerable number of days to de-age all my decades. As I work on resetting my spiritual age, I am also, as you are no doubt weary of hearing,

Oh, not that story again. Do I really have to listen? I would rather go outside..... please?

Oh, not that story again. Do I really have to listen? I would rather go outside….. please?

rearranging and sifting and sorting through and decluttering my physical environment.

It’s a huge task, often tedious, and always challenging. Readers’ supportive comments as I intermittently blog my way through the process are wonderfully sustaining.  And Nath, bless her, has offered sterling decluttering inspiration through her  Blog , too.  I am in awe that, in 2014, she managed to achieve her goal of discarding/giving away 5 old items for every new one bought. That’s a high standard to attain and maintain.

I would like to equal it but, currently, this is how the numbers stack up in my abode. In December and January, 22 items came into my home, either as purchases or gifts; some were new and some second-hand. All were delightful, of course, and welcomed with joy.  Here’s a sample of the acquisitions.

During the same period, I dispatched about 25 items to one of our city’s handy  Ecodepots   and to friends/neighbours/strangers. Before the end of this month, I hope to have a few more items, such as our second car, out the door, possibly via NZ’s  Trade Me online auction  site.

Not quite 5 to 1, but not too bad for a start. :)

 

HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN THIS GENRE?

It doesn’t really, so I am going to recycle the answer I gave on Finishing What I Started.   ( Check the link in my opening paragraph, please. :) )

WHAT IS MY WRITING PROCESS?

Again, I will reuse the answer given in Finishing What I Started.

Is this The End, you ask? Not quite.

I would like to invite Miss Marzipan to join the Blog Hop, but only if she has time in her hectic-creative-working woman-mother of two-marathon runner-schedule. Miss Marzipan, like Nath, cares deeply about sustainable and ethical living. Her choice of giveaway gift of Moonbear make-up bags reflects her commitment to helping the plight of the Moonbears via  Animals Asia. And the product she chose is from the Italian eco, cruelty-free, fashion label  Miomojo.  Miss Marzipan your caring lifestyle  makes a difference to me, as well as to all those creatures who cannot speak for themselves.

"In the evening we shall be examined on love." St John of the Cross.

“In the evening we shall be examined on love.” St John of the Cross.

Right, that’s enough cluttering of the page with my words and photos.  It’s back to work for me, filling up the de-acquisition box.

 

* Final Note

I am deeply grateful to Angela Namoi and  David Bateman Ltd for the heart-flutteringly beautiful Dawn Chorus. If we fail to live as caring eco-citizens of the world, the Dawn Chorus will become a song confined to history and legend.

© silkannthreades