iggandfriends

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


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The White Wolf and the Black Wolf

The story of the white wolf and the black wolf is, I’m told, an old Cherokee story. I’ve seen and heard various different versions. But in this time of unrest in the world, it gives us an important question. What wolf are we choosing to feed inside ourselves? Why don’t you read it and decide?

There was once an old and wise grandfather, who had a grandson he loved. Each day, the grandson would come and spend time with his grandfather, and talk to him about the events of the day. One day, the grandson came with a look of anger on his face. ‘Come’, said the grandfather, ‘sit and tell me about your day’. The child sat on the floor and leaned against his grandfather. Looking up at him, he said, ‘I went into the town today with father. He had promised me a present, as I had helped him so much recently. I was so happy and excited. I went into the trading post and there we found a small knife, just the right size for me. So father bought it for me.’ Here, the boy fell silent.

The grandfather placed his hand on the boys head, ‘Then what happened?’

The boy said ‘I took it outside to look at it. But some older boys saw me. They called me names, and teased me, and said I had no right to have the knife. Then one of them knocked me over, and another took my knife, and they ran away with it’. Here, the boy paused. Then, looking up at his grandfather he said ‘I hate them! I hate them!’

Grandfather sighed deeply and said, ‘I have also suffered. There have been people who have taken without asking, those who have called me names, who have fought and bullied. I have felt great hate. But hate hurts only you. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. In the end your own soul will die. I have struggled with this. It is as if there are two wolves inside me, a white one and a black one. The white one lives in peace with those around him, and does not take offense where none was intended. It looks for good and not evil, it welcomes, not rejects. It only fights when it is right, and only in the right way. But the black wolf is full of anger and hatred. He is focused only one himself and his wants. Anything that is against his will sends him into anger. He fights everyone, all the time. He looks for the negative, not the positive. He cannot think because his anger and hatred are so great. It is anger that destroys himself. Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both try to rule my life.’

The boy looked up into his grandfather’s eyes. ‘Which one wins, Grandfather?’

The Grandfather smiled and said ‘The one I choose to feed’.

Galatians 5:19-25

 


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Merry Christmas! Nadolig Llawen!

Angel whispers

Brush the mind

Strange promises

Full of hope

Waiting

The world holds its breath

Until the creator is birthed

Not to cheering crowds and waiting press

Not in explosions of light and sound

But in the night

Hidden away

The darkness hours

Are lit by light eternal

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For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

A blessed and happy Christmas to you all.


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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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Sunflower and sunshine

In the morning light

The petals slowly unfurl

Centre revealed

Turning to drink in

The rays of the sun

 

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First sunflower of the year  opens in the garden to cheer me up. Sorry for the delay in posting – been ill for a couple of weeks and am slowly getting back to normal.


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Silver sun and rainbow cloud

Silver sun played across the sea today, chasing waves with shimmering light. The seagulls whirled and skirled in celebration, dancing in the gentle breeze. Out at sea a gannet dives, black silhouette against the brightness. And above a cloud shares its rainbow, rejoicing in the summer’s eve.

 

cloud rainbow


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Holidays and memories

When I was sixteen

We moved to a place

With views of mountains and fields

With estuary and sand dunes

Where you could paddle

Along the narrow inlets

At low tide

And watch the fish dart ahead

Flashes of silver in the sunlight

And feel the flicker of flatfish

Disturbed by your passage

As they skimmed the surface

of the sand

It was not always a safe place

For the tide could turn and rush in

Leaving you in a mad scramble

Towards the shore

Safety

But not for anything

Would I have missed

The touch of the fish

As they tickled my feet

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A week spent away in Benderloch, just north of Oban. No email, no internet. Just the sea, the mountains, and the green… bringing back memories of my time near Porthmadog. I was up in Benderloch for Woolfeis, the gaelic wool festival. Great fun, of which more later.


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Fairy rings and drunken bees

The playing-field was mown last week. Dry grass still lies piled in rows. Yet the daisies are back again, white stars shining. By the swings and between the goalposts the earth shows through, a threadbare patch of green. Trodden down by excited feet.  If you look closely, a fairy ring lies under the trees, where the little folk come and dance by moonlight. Through the gap and over the dry ditch on to the path homewards. The hedges are laden with may-blossom this year, white froth edging the track. Purple grasses wave gently in the breeze, a faint rustle at the edge of hearing. The flowers seem to smile in greeting as I pass by, buttercups gently glowing in the light. A bee bumbles past, weaving from flower to flower. Sipping the honey, drunk on summer.

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Bluebells and butterflies

Tired of sewing, it’s time for a walk. The rain has stopped and the sun is playing peek-a-bo behind the clouds. Boots on. Rainproof on. The post office first, getting the jobs out the way. Car tax paid. Ouch. Letter posted. Hopefully that will bring a smile when it arrives. Then I head up the hill, towards the playing field. The sunshine has carpeted the edges of the field with wildflowers, blossoming in the heat. Through the snicket gate and along the back lane I wander.  Long grass soaking the bottom of my jeans. The scent of the freshly washed green surrounds me, a moist warmth. The cow parsley is in full flower, nodding its head as I pass by. In the lea of the hedge, a few bluebells linger on. There, as I watch, a butterfly drinks deeply of the scent of spring.

bluebell butterfly


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Flatfish and crabs

Low tide and the sand stretches out in front of me, rippling out to the sea. The water in the rock pools has been warmed by the sun all afternoon. I take off my shoes and paddle in, gasping slightly at the cold. Not as warm as it appears! In the depths, the sea lettuce waves gently in the current. Gentle steps I take, staring into the water. Puffs of sand rise up as the tiny flatfish and blennies swim rapidly away. A young plaice – no bigger than my thumb nail – lies camouflaged on the bottom. Sensing my approaching toes it flees rapidly away. A crab stares at me from behind a curtain of seaweed, before burying himself in the sandy floor. Slowly I wade my way up to the head of the bay, stopping to stare now and then.

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