iggandfriends

Life, crafty stuff, long walks, thoughts, and little oddities.


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Reflections on the harvest

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

Waiting

For future to be decided.

sheaf of corn


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Lists and life

Having a little spare time, I decided to explore some other blogs. I came across this one: Bucket List Publications by Lesley Carter – http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/ . I had great fun reading some of her blogs, and admiring the things she gets up to. I’ve had my own ‘bucket list’ for 14 years now. Not that I knew the phrase ‘bucket list’ at that stage. It was a list of things I’d like to do at some point in my life, and places I’d like to go. Bucket list is a lot shorter to type! It started because a friend and I kept seeing things and saying ‘I’d like to do that – one day’, then forgetting all about it.

Life has grown and expanded with the list. A random selection…. The Marriage of Figaro was a wonderful performance to attend, one Valentines Day. The flying lesson was exhilarating, a sense of freedom as the plane took off, and spectacular views of Eryri. A trip to New Zealand included swimming with wild dolphins – the more you wiggle around, the more they’re interested in you. Floating on a raft through a cave lit with glow-worms on the ceiling. I walked around a volcano caldera (thankfully a dormant one). Back in the UK, I learnt to drive – now that really was a triumph. I combined two of the items and saw a live cricket match, while enjoying strawberries and champagne for breakfast.

The Northern Lights laughed down at me, over in Norway. A wonderfully crisp cold evening with reindeer stew in a Sami tent, reindeer sledging across snowy fields, lit just by starlight, and the Northern lights glowing overhead as I made snow angels. New potatoes grown by me were harvested for on Christmas Day for lunch. Red Kites soared above me in Rhayader, a kingfisher peeped out at my mother and I in Bath, and an otter rolled in the shallows off the coast of Mull.

A year was spent writing a piece of poetry every day (OK, some was more doggerel than poetry, but I wrote every day), and another year taking a photograph every day. Quiet Spaces published my article on Light (http://www.quietspaces.org.uk/pages/1801s.htm#ALightforMyPath) . The Reader Magazine printed my article on the Psalms (http://www.readers.cofe.anglican.org/u_d_lib_pub/m1051.pdf). The blanket I crocheted adorns my bed, my patchwork quilt I snuggle up in on the settee. My Fair-isle mittens and hat keep my ears warm.

This year two miles was finally run – in 23 minutes. The boat span me round in the Corrywreckan whirlpool. Six pieces of art went in an exhibition and – even better – were sold. Mad friends joined me in getting wet as we went white-water rafting.

The current list has on it some small delights and some large dreams. Seeing – or listening to – the bog bush cricket, trying to ski, going sailing, parachute jump, visiting the Shetlands, seeing the poison garden at Alnwick castle, visiting Chelsea physic garden. Make a piece of stained glass, go canoeing, ride a horse on the beach, visit Venice and Vienna, explore Paris (driven round it several times, but never stopped there), go to Ailsa Craig, make some bobbin lace, have a go at woodcarving and French polishing, make a sand sculpture, listen to buskers in New York, go on a tour of vineyards in France, learn to speak Portuguese… I might manage to do some of these this year…

All this has been and is great fun. Life is for living, in all its fullness. Although I love the adrenaline boosting things, while I enjoy travelling and seeing new places, meeting new people, sometimes it’s the small things that mean much more, and take more effort to do. Always take the opportunity when it arises. Such joys are to be shared. Find a friend and drag them along with you. Stare at the stars on New Year’s Eve, drinking hot chocolate and wrapped in a waterproof rug. Jump in a puddle and watch the ripples form. Blow some bubbles. Create. Laugh. Love. Live.