First thing in the morning, I feed Frida. She cheers me up with her purring as I fill the small white bowl with meat chunks and tangoes her way alongside my steps to her meal spot. She loves having her food early. I love the way she embodies the space within her shiny fur. She’s black like the pit of the night just before the day emerges out of it.
A ribbon of air flows in through the tilt window and fills the room with bliss. I chase away a clacking magpie with my hands ’ clapping so that I can listen to an undisturbed song of a blackbird from the comfort of my bed. The sheets have already given away the warmth my body left in them. I nestle again but don’t drift into sleep.
The dawn morphs into a steady morning. The coffee machine puffs like a steam engine as brown streams pour down the glass jug and gather in the growing pool. I take out a mug and fill it up, no milk or sugar to alter the taste.
I have two refills, savoring the hour.
The mug is short and wide, with an uneven surface, as if someone threw a pebble into a lake, collected the rings and fixed them in ceramics. I brought the mug from a day trip to the Orkney Islands two years before. I bought it, dark blue like the North Sea waters, during a lunch break in Kirkwall. I remember choosing the mug in a local art shop, having it wrapped in a sheet of soft white paper for safety, and then having a cheese sandwich and chatting with an elderly lady at the door to the local cathedral. She was standing there to prevent potential visitors from getting inside as there was a funeral service in progress. When I approached, the woman made a serious remark about my eating the sandwich at the church steps and giggled. I giggled back. We started talking. She was so fragile and yet so lively that she seemed at once a youngster and a sage.
Eventually, our tourist group didn’t make it into the cathedral. Its patron, St Magnus, might have frowned at our lack of determination but the trip itinerary, filled to the brim, didn’t provide room for unforeseen circumstances. For my part, I didn’t complain. I valued the unexpected pleasure of a short good-spirited talk as much as someone else would the sight of ornamented stained glass or rows of ancient pews on both sides of the aisle blind-ending with an altar. That’s how church interior plans are usually executed, even if each church constitutes an idiosyncratic entity.
The Easter breakfast comes in a modified meat-free version. I’m not sure if that can pass as an Easter breakfast. Anyway, it doesn’t matter – I long ceased observing religious feasts. The eggs, chives, the toasted bread with garlic olive oil, round red radishes, lamb’s lettuce and the paste made of white beans mixed with tiny fried bits of onion send flash es of joy throughout my body as I eat. My life’s companion is great at food making.
At the day’s entering point, I had a dream. It was watchful like a rabbit. I squeezed my eyelids tight to prevent it from fleeting but it found its way out between my eyelashes and escaped being remembered. I wished it hadn’t but it wished otherwise.
Out the window, a cherry tree catches my sight. She’s all in bloom. A car stands nearby, parked off the fence. I like the interplay of shapes and colors so I go out and take a photo of the navy blue Renault at the background of powdery pink dots of cherry flower petals. The Renault looks like a baby whale. The cherry tree reminds me of Impressionists’ way of dealing with reality: first, you catch details that add to the whole. But then you need some distance to see the picture clearly. If you get too close, the objects blur and refuse to make any sense.
In the afternoon I talk to my Father on the phone. He will turn eighty-one next winter. Nowadays, he resembles a turtle although, when he was middle-aged, he had more in common with a rhino. Now as the lockdown regulation is trying to keep the potentiality of the coronavirus strike at bay (and us all at a distance from one another as a side-effect), he phones with Easter wishes. To my surprise, I like what he says in concern to time and fulfillment. Ma ybe he says one thing and I hear another as it’s not typical of him to say such things in such a manner. It feels as if he changed his mind on what really matters overnight and ceased to expect my scattered pieces of writing to orderly form themselves into bestselling volumes and get spread in a pandemic fashion all over the world to make me rich and famous and himself happy and proud. One might surprise even oneself, don’t we? Things unfold invisibly, an inch at a time, or even less, until they reveal themselves in a sudden glory: in my Father’s book, I have to succeed no more. I can be as I am and, from now on, do things in the sweet absence of his expectations.
Not that I could not earlier. But there comes a shift of energy when you have your father at your side.
Bef ore one is able to do anything of importance, one needs to bask in gentle warmth of kindness, be it one’s own or somebody else’s.
I wonder now where I’ve buried my will to act, and if it ’s dead or still alive. As I go through the rest of the day, I probe my life attitudes and place some of them in a drawer so that, in the dark the drawer offers so generously, they can try their hand at shapeshifting.
What if I gathered all those scattered pieces and made them into a whole?
As the evening settles in, I listen to Clare Dubois ’ speech called “A Line Through”. She talks about class 5 river rapids, rattlesnakes that shed their skins and the tipping point humanity has found itself at despite its hope to go on the old way. “When your goal is to get through when the river is at its roughest,” she says, “you can’t just focus on your obstacle s. If you fixate on a vortex, you can be sure it’ll suck your boat in. If you cling to the presence of a rock, the rock will block your way out. The secret of making it is to sense the line through the rapids and to follow its shiny thread while proceeding”. Clare is the CEO of an organization called TreeSisters. At the start, she hoped to plant one million trees in the most critical areas of the globe, which seemed pure madness. To make it more improbable an enterprise, she was single, save a thin bunch of women that heard the call, and terrified of public speaking. Yet, together, the women managed to plant over nine million, and they keep gaining helping hands as they go.
“Find out what the one beautiful thing that has brought you to this amazing planet is,” Clare says, “and then see what you can do with it, and where it is most needed at the turn of the wheels”.
At the end of the day, I draw a mandala. Not that I’m good at drawing. But that’s not the point. What I am after is not perfection but a revelation.
Within the circle, a polar bear emerges among other items.
I grow fond of the polar bear.
In the heart space, capable of creating magnetic field, whose power is yet to be fully grasped and appreciated by the human species, we can make room for all the ice that’s already melted and hold space so that the water could reclaim its ice form where the presence of ice is crucial. The snow on the ice surface, on which the polar bear could walk with its cubes and a life companion, is equally welcome.
A bear, like each of us, needs some ground to place his or her feet on.
When the night is over, I hope we watch the ice resurge, among other things. Calling it pure madness one would put oneself at the risk of sounding obsolete.
Call it magic or quantum physics, if you need a name.
All the same, it’s one.
Assume that you cannot fathom life’s mystery (including death) or pin down the meanderings of what Barbara Marx Hubbard referred to as the evolutionary impulse. We may see this present, apparently unavoidable, disaster resulting in a miracle of resurrection.
It has happened before.
Whether or not you are a believer is of less importance.
I’m a great enthusiast of writing, especially poetry and essays. My obsession list includes laundry drying outside in the wind (but, also, in narrow city streets), fairy tales, coffee mugs, Argentinian tango (although I’ve never danced it), moss, rain, stones, scones, seashells, fabrics and cosmos. I love words, myths, and dream s and the parallel worlds they provide the entrance to. I’m fond of plants, especially trees and herbs, and of animals. I love faraway places but am not too keen on whatever means of transport. I feel comfortably unsafe within a paradox.