365 And Then What?
On New Years Day we started a project we are calling The 365. Poured a large bottle of vodka into a glass barrel and everyday put something into it, mostly from our garden, some foraged stuff. The idea being to make a unique spirit, a spirit of the year.
We are a little afraid of it. (We keep feeding it.)
20/20 vision now means anything you didn’t imagine could happen. Fear of the unknown is pandemically viral. There’s a swell- if you don’t know the ocean maybe this word has less meaning.
Can you close your eyes? Feel your skin touch the air that touches the sky that merges to space? A universal heft, dear friend.
On a Friday (June 5th)
Walked round the lanes, through a gate, through a field of cut grass which curved up and open to a playful breeze, over a stile, over a stream on a trip-trap bridge flanked by old trees, wading in thigh-high grass to the tipped over oak. Dog conquered the undergrowth while I climbed as high as I dared to watch the buzzards drift, and the air stir over a cereal crop.
Escapism is not the right word though - it was more of a finding experience. A flow. A letting of thoughts and grotesqueness.
[For a moment only, I will write about this; about systemic racism.
How I did not perceive sooner: was I dead?
I am working on a writing project that is full of notes on the normalisation of evil but didn’t see how much I was sat in the middle of it.
Doing the work to change.
It’s like the relocation of a disconnected bone. Pain puts things where they should be.
I don’t like heights - that’s why I climbed the oak.
Should I write more? Nope. The deal is to do the work, not to use it as writing practice.
Do the work. Be the change.]
Tuesday, 16th June:
We drove to Exeter, to Grace’s flat.
My sister-in-law has been busy: boxed it up, labelled it into collections. Memories and curiosities. We packed the car with all we could.
So much stuff, which in theory we are not looking to collect: but we want to keep family artefacts, we want the talismans, the imbued care.
Suddenly I love matching crystal.
You have to let life flow.
For now I have delivered the rotary washing line to my daughter (Grandchild 2 showing me the splint and bandage protection for her broken finger - it was flattened in a door slam and needs surgery - twisted bones like my mangled foot; Grandchild 7 teething with absolute despair; Grandchild 6 doing her Used The Potty celebratory dance, also painting her torso with yogurt).
(This line I have stood by, watching the swans of Exeter snuffle beaks to grass, as I’m pegging out Grace’s laundry.)
And the clothes horses, which were put straight to work as a heap of damp-sour clothes were dragged from the washing machine.
(My daughter was so tired she wasn’t even sure she’d washed them, but there was another load waiting so it seemed best just to keep the system going.)
The fold down card table went to my son and future daughter-in-law - they petted the leather top like a new pet and it felt like another good match.
Wednesday, 17th June:
Drove through a thundercloud to get to St Austell today. Near the middle of the day and dark. Near midsummer, and hailing. Hailstones so hard I feared I would be left driving a colander. Thunder bouncing across the moors. Lightening at my shoulder. I was thinking if it strikes I must kick out of gear, pull my feet from the pedals and glide towards the road edge. Mistook my nettle sting buzz for static and nearly followed the plan. Laughed like breaking glass.
At home, Wednesday evening:
The weather has been crazy, we say. Mr has put some storm-knocked apples in the 365.