Opening my eyes when the children aren’t here is a little bit of a confusing event. I have forgotten myself in my sleep again and I cannot, for a split second, remember what I am. I simply have no purpose, no one to dress or feed, to hunt for shoes for or to encourage to read their homework books for me. I have no other reason to get out of bed, other than I just want to. The day suddenly is precious and I need to get up and be in it. Be of it.
But instead I lie a little longer and my mind trips and skips over reason why it’s not ok to do so. I’m not meditating, nor am I reading, I’m not doing anything at all and my mind is not at peace. It frets and worries, chews the sides of my nails and grimaces. It trips over things I should be doing: walk the dog, check the seedlings, check for eggs, have a coffee at least and accept that you’re awake. I lie still and watch this cascading dribbling of worry as it falls. I am conscious that I’m feeling urged by it but that I’m going to just lie here a little longer and let it do its thing, while I carry on doing nothing.
Outside the window the midsummer morning light makes brilliant lime yellow the conifer over the road. It waves its soft fronds gently in the breeze. Slowly it is encroaching on the telegraph pole where the common woodpecker sits and I really should talk to my neighbour about getting it trimmed. Just gently, though, like a haircut. Behind it a tall, ladylike and elegant silver fern shimmers too, as if to say I was here first. She stays in cool shadow as the conifer wakes in the sun. There is no woodpecker today, so I am free to hear the Mediterranean chatter of the sparrows. They always remind me of hot French village lanes. Ubiquitous to Britain they may be, but I never heard them until childhood holidays in hot summer France for some reason. And now the connection has been made in my mind and there it shall stay. The sound transports me from mild and upland Teesdale to the wild Atlantic coast, where wine and salt are harvested in abundance. Where donkeys wear gaiters and men wear battered hats.
Every waking is my chance to dream awake. Again and again.
I listen to the rhythmic, deep, healing breath of my husband as he sleeps his weekend sleep beside me. He is my reason. When I forget my own, he gently brings me back to myself. I know that when he awakes he will want to get out and dream awake too, it’s just that he calls it something else.
The conifer dips into shadow and turns just green again. Now back to lime yellow. Now back to green. It’s a dappled day. The wood pigeon is awake. The frantic nesting days are behind them all and now it’s the time for scrawny fledglings on hedges. Once a baby great tit got a bit discombobulated and fluttered onto my finger. Gripping tightly into my flesh like a baby’s pinch it surprised me with its power of life. Then it realised its mistake and jumped clumsily off into tall grass. I detached my wonder and joy and walked away. For it may be dinner for the circling crow, or wrapped around by the slow worms that are abundant in these parts, if they eat baby great tits that is. Maybe it will fight it off and learn a great lesson in the meantime. Of the urge to life that courses unbidden through its veins and will make it do unbidden things, to survive. And to continue.
The lime green conifer now has a back drop of grey massing clouds where before there was the freshly washed blue of morning. I really should get up. Because. Who knows why. I’ve a feeling there are things to be done, things to be felt and seen and joys to be had. Other joys, I am nudged to believe. This daily premonition is what urges me on to live my life outside and beyond, what makes each day a reward for the last one I had.
For the children will be back soon and I like to tell them of my little adventures just as they tell me of theirs. I may show them a fossil I found, or a bright pheasant feather, or tell them the story of the baby great tit. The day needs to be lived before it can be told as the curtains are drawn and bedtime beckons.
Off I go.