The early sun lights the grass. Amber leaves wave in the morning breeze, bronzed by the cold. Frost crunches beneath my feet, and the winter-fresh air brings colour to cheeks and nose.
Bonfire night brought the cold wind with it. We huffed our way to the bonfire, steam puffing out like little dragons. Hats, gloves and scarves brought into use. Stood stomping our feet on the grass, attempting to restore feeling. Hands firmly tucked into pockets, huddled against the chill. Oohed and aahed at the explosion of light and sound above. Then, warmed by the chatter, we headed for home, and the heat of the fire.
The wind is behind the tide today. It rises up the beach, riding high onto the shore. Seaweed tumbles in on the waves, rolling into large caterpillars along the water’s edge. A flock of dunlin perch, absorbed in rummaging for the next tasty morsel. Slowly I move closer. And closer. Timing my steps to the crash of the sea. Grandmothers footsteps writ large. A sudden move and off they go. Flashes of black and white, curved scimitars skimming their way along the strand.
For more info on dunlin, check out this link. Lovely little birds.
The recent rain has filled the burn
The small trickle of summer
Now a rush of water
Heading out to water the sea.
I’m told the peat in the water round here makes for excellent scotch whisky. The local distillery seems to be thriving!
With traveling, retreat leading and job-hunting, the last few weeks seem to have flown past. In fact, the last year has flown past! A year since my unpaid sabbatical year began. While leading a retreat down at Lee Abbey a week or so ago, I found myself mulling over what has been achieved and what has not been achieved. Although that might be the wrong way to express it. One of my strengths and one of my failings is that I’m good at planning and programming my life, and most of the time, I stick to the plan. I was determined not to plan the year away! So I had vague plans for this year out – nothing definite. I was going to finish at least one of the books that I’ve been planning and writing for the last few years. Preferably two of them. I was going to do some other writing, do lots of walking, train for a 10K run, maybe look at composing some songs, practice my violin, spend time on my artwork, learn to make bobbin-lace, visit some of the places I’d always wanted to go…. the list continued!
I haven’t finished any of the books I’d started writing. I have written some other things instead, things that at the start of the year would have been completely alien to me. I have spent some time walking. I have learnt to make bobbin lace, and how to bead a bauble. I have sewn and embroidered. I have knitted a Shetland lace shawl. I can now spin wool on a spindle and a spinning wheel. The violin has spent most of its year in the case. I have been to some of the places I’d heard about. I have laughed and cried and had the space to do it in, discovering yet again who I am, and starting to discern what God is calling me to at this stage in my life. It has at time felt like being put through a wringer.
My life has lain fallow this year. Most of what I have seen, photographed, written about, has been influenced by factors outside my own life. Events happening in other people’s lives. Nature in all her many moods. The harvest that has emerged has been not of my planting, but of God’s. Some of it is barely discernible to me. At times I question if there has been a harvest at all! But some of those looking on assure me there is one. There is certainly a feeling that seeds have been planted, and will spring into life when the climate is right. In the meantime I must wait, and make sure the fields are nourished, protected and prepared.
The writing continues, the blogging will continue, as will the various bits of sewing, knitting, etc. I have Christmas presents to make. The job-hunting continues, the grind of filling in application forms, phone-calls, searching, looking. Not an entirely positive experience. The being with God continues. In all of this, I hold on to the fact that God has a plan for me, and where I eventually end up will be his plan for my life, not mine. I wait for the future.
In the quietness of the old church
Propped in the corner
Stands the sheaf of corn
Pale gold, gleaming in the light
Stirred by the breeze, it rustles slightly
The seeds are ripe,
Ready for the harvest
For the planting
For the coming year
For future to be decided.
I wake with a mind full of angels
Of white feathers and halos
And of more.
Swords and fire
Messages from heaven
I rise, mind still buzzing
Glance out the window
Watch in wonder
As three swans gracefully swim past
Floating serenely on the sea
White feathers gleaming in the sunlight
Heads dipping in among the waves
This year’s cygnet protected
With a fierce love
I watch and wonder
What message God will send
By his angels
This Michaelmas tide.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11
Up the lane, between the fields. The cows gaze at us inquisitively over the gate, long lashes skimming brown eyes. The hedgerows are laden with berries, glowing amongst the thorns. The late summer sun warms our backs as we pick, stretching to collect best of the crop. Until, bags full and hands stained purple, we head homewards. Dreaming of bramble jelly and drop scones.
Been a slow couple of weeks as I continue to recover. Health gradually improving but not back to normal just yet. Getting there, though