This is going well isn’t it? Once again, good intentions get smashed on the rocks of reality. There has been a big change in my life since I last posted. It’s a good (a very good) change. But it’s taking some time to get used to. More anon. In the meantime, here’s a transcript of a thing I hand-wrote a couple of years ago. I’ve edited the punctuation in places, but the words are in their raw state.
An exercise from “Old Friend From Far Away” by Natalie Goldberg:
Tell me what you will miss when you die.
29 March 2015, 9pm or thereabouts
Nothing. The dead cannot miss anything. Missing is for the living.
“Parting is all we know of heaven”
Paper and ink.
Nightfall and stars.
Books, reading, words, thinking.
Ideas swelling out of my mind, growing, being shared, shaped, transformed.
Birds – songs and feathers and antics.
Daffodils blowing in the breeze.
The memory of past events.
The scent of a bonfire, the crackle and hiss of burning wood. Cold water to drink and paddle in. Water from taps, salty sea water. The beach, shells, pebbles, tidal sounds. The cry of seagulls, the smell of seaweed.
Food. Biscuits. Butter. Meat. Cheese. Apples. Cherries. Chocolate. Toasted bacon sandwiches. Many things that I miss already because they make me feel ill: Gin and tonic, Campari and soda, beer, Guinness, cold white wine, Fleurie.
People, cats, some dogs. Trees and old stone buildings, overgrown churchyards, petrichor. Libraries, walking, elderflowers, the smell of night air. Wind and rain and the taste of salt-spray on my lips. Cool cotton sheets and seeing the moon, especially when it’s at its slimmest brightest crescent phase. Rich winter afternoon light.
Writing on a quiet night when the only sounds are my pen on the paper and the wind rustling the bamboo in the garden. Sowing seeds, making cuttings, picking the fruits of my labour (and eating them). A few TV programmes, my collections of found objects. And the collecting of them. Apple blossom and the unfurling of new leaves in spring. The end of summer and promise of cold nights and easier sleep.
Ice cream. Even though I haven’t eaten ice cream for years. And fudge. Gran’s fudge. Christmas cake. Roast potatoes.
Bees and spiders. Breathing. Memory – the treasure box that is past experience.
The texture of things – the sensual pleasure of touching velvet, well worn cotton, cool stone, or sun-warmed stone. Polly’s fur, smooth wood, rough bark. The differences of similar things – tree barks, leaves, flowers, people.
Looking at art, being in wild places.
I still treasure the memory of sitting at the kitchen table that quiet evening, inking my thoughts onto paper and being pleased with the result. It’s cheering to contemplate some of the many things that make life pleasurable.