Sunday, 2 February 2014
moving through the silence
A slow day resting, trying to give my body a fighting chance, trying not to succumb to the illness that threatens to take hold. There has been tomato soup and white crusty bread for lunch, the epitome of sick-day food. There have been cuddles with the dog, briefly, at least, until she got restless and tried to lick me better. She is not sick after all.
I did not walk her today, my stepdad kindly did, but I took my mum's advice this afternoon and padded out into the garden, fluffy socked, stood on the cool flagstones and took some deep breaths. The fresh air felt soothing to my face, itchy from an afternoon cosseted against the cold, both blankets and the fire on, until the warmth became stifling.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the writealm prompts was familiar phrases. It fell on the second day of my exam and I never got a chance to write, but there has been the premise of a post mulling around my head. Part of it was a vent, an exclamation of frustration, at the phrase that had been oft-used in the preceding weeks, and caused increasing amounts of annoyance. The sing-song reply from supervisors at work, when, having asked about the exam preparation, and I honestly expressed my worry, of "you'll be fine". Meant as reassurance, it became a repetitive refrain, but without the comfort that was intended. It was a shared irritation amongst those of us sitting the papers, a common comment we had all heard. Admittedly the impending exam made us all easily irked, but there seemed too, to be an unthinking dismissal of the fears we were feeling, and I felt the weight of expectation added in to the mix. The pressure to pass increased with every throwaway insistence that there was no other option. Perhaps, though, I can choose to see it another way. Pass or fail, I will be fine, there is no life-changing implication if the results are not what I had hoped. The phrase takes new meaning then, it doesn't dismiss the work that went in to preparing, or the tension of waiting for results, but it takes the fear out of a failure.
Around the same time, as the syllabus looked insurmountable, another phrase started to pop up in my thoughts. At those moments when things seemed to build up, I started to ask "what would help". It is a favourite of my mum's if I call her, tears brewing, and declare that I don't know what is wrong. Even if I can't identify the problem, can I feel my way to a solution. I don't know what made me start using it in such a practical sense, but it has become my fall-back thought. Better, much, than "what do you need", as I will invariably pick sleep or chocolate. Instead it seems to give me a focus, to pick one single thing to do that would improve my mood. It seems to help me navigate my way through a sticking point, and immediately helps me unpick things that are worrying me, or irritating me, before I have properly perceived them.
So today, when I felt poorly, and soup, blankets, magazines and the puppy had all proved eventually ineffective, the fresh air worked. Followed by writing, including a poem using today's writealm prompt. I enjoyed playing with the words, it helped.
from hand to hand
unfurling creatures on the ceiling
rabbits most often
which merged into dogs
bending the knuckles, angling the wrist
some slight trickery to make noses move
i never started with birds
for some reason
but occasionally would end with thumbs clasped
fingers fluttering wings
flying across the wall
and disappearing into the darkness
it was the night time equivalent
of spotting shapes in clouds
creating characters in the sky
or instead on the paintwork
making stories for myself
limited only by my imagination
that is the beauty of shadows
though it is easy to see
dark distortions of reality
to find fear in the eerie extensions of limbs
to wonder what lurks unseen
remembering shadow only exists with light