Wednesday, 4 March 2015

I Can Sing A Rainbow...Too.

I should know by now that stories can only be told when they're ready...
otherwise they turn out all wrong.
But it's time now, to go on with the tale...
~Kelly Rae Roberts~
I have my special hat on today my:
 "Explorer of Truth & Beauty" hat.
Just as I was exploring the world of our Special Senses & how they are so remarkable,
such things as: the touch of butterfly feet on fingertips,
& the lick of a soft & friendly dog,
the arresting sight of verdant colour on the hills over "there",
the amusement of watching the silly antics of Whistle...our other borrowed cat who crosses the road to find us every day & play in our garden,
standing in awe at the feet of this ensemble down at Aunty's Garden & thinking "how very clever", how very clever indeed!
& the taste of passionfruit, a flavour like no other...& how they come in the most amazing packages; that wrinkle!
Discovering & picking a tiny wee sweetheart rose & then noticing the little angel wings & the fine hairs on the petals,
finger-staining elderberries made of magic,
inhaling the scent of exquisitely white naked ladies, gifted by a true friend.
Marveling at the miracle of a thousand hollyhock seeds...
how do they know to grow in to another hollyhock just the same?
Dappled light on a perfect, pastel, vintage blanket find...
colours that activate passion & make me want to make Mexican food or eat juicy mangos
...juice dripping,
Yes, there's a "Little Chaos" that comes with these Special Precious Senses.
& comfort to be able to go to Lucy when life gets hard.
When a son (dear to your heart) returns home, a little broken, depressed, stressed, unable to sleep & function & not wanting this life, it's hard.
 All my work to calm my own heart & world, & foster thrival for myself; overturned, wrenched. 
Lurch, back into: hyper-vigilance, overwhelm & sadness & re-living the struggles we've had as a family...just to do life, at all.
Day to day....that's all you can do.
I've learnt more this time through, about depression & suicide & what drives us to these places.
I've learnt that it's a lot more universal than I realised...the symptoms & the struggle of it all.
Damage...that's what happened.
Systemic, acidic harm that sprang from being un-nurtured by a narcissist. 
Confidence dissolved. All colours turn grey; life-lacking, depleted. Seeds of fear & self-disgust scattered carelessly, deliberately through the whole garden. 
Learning the world is a cold & hostile place where we do not deserve to find love or connection.
It's all a lie, of course...but it stains; deep.
The contamination cannot be soaked out, washed seeps through the family soil & poisons the generations. The clean-up process is complex; hard, gritty.
Over this past month there have been so many nights...our minds in turmoil, bodies on fire, hormones cascading in to panic. Can't go to sleep; on guard. Can't wake up; what for?
Food...ooh no. Which one of us, all of us? he ok; where is he it's 1.00am?
The patterns activated decades ago by another, should-have-been care-giver, not taker.
Through the years...dossiers assembled, boxes full: 
"All I have & hold against you" failed daughter, disgust, worthless.
 Only the narcissist is allowed emotions...just calm down Catherine!!" 
There is no discussion, explanation. No, not one single time. 
No reconciliation, let's put things right.
Never "I love you" or "you matter."
Decades go by just the same.
Five decades: long enough to make a different choice!!
Confidence fades with the colours of life, light goes out; drowning.
Where are the healers, the validators? Nowhere to be found.
The pollution fills up the sea, sight of land fades, can't breath.
Then, one day....I found a pretty hat. 
Seeker, author, explorer of beauty & truth it said.
I am.
I am a good daughter, a wonderful wife, a fine mother & a nice friend.
I don't deserve to be punished, not now, not ever.
Close the doors. It's over, even though the voices can still be heard. They never cease.
Nightmares still come, my body (the densest part of the soul) still speaks & aches & inflames.
Thank you for your messages...I am listening. A lifetime of stored emotions not allowed air.
Released, slowly, safely...recieved with compassion & kindness;
we also offer our son. Our brave, beautiful son.
Tender, strong, teaching himself Chinese. Hearing truth, telling his story; safe-supported, brave.
Working again, long hours but determined; eating again.
Little moments of humour & joy bubbling to our surface.
Soft cat fur, Mah Jong (found at the market), nice friends...two young men gabble together like girls! 
We breath deeper, visit the ocean.
Grateful for each other.
We know one another & ourselves a little better.
Trust grows & with it fresh hope.
Thank God for those who shine a light:
And those with compassion-bearing, tender hearts; scattering kindness, sharing beauty & truth.
We can learn to sing a rainbow too...

I'm glad of my Special Senses. They are precious to me. A glorious gift.
They teach me that the world is a place to marvel.
Invite me in to life.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Speaking..."Flower" and of Fairies

A week or two ago I noticed a field,
a field full of wild sweetpeas.
One day, I stopped & went to look...
 I discovered a world of glory.
An unkempt paddock that nobody gives a second glance to as they pass by; merrily festooned in magical pink. Bees & bumble bees gleefully going about their flighty business by the thousands & thousands, swooning from flower to flower,
to flower... 
 In the language of flowers sweet peas signify delicate pleasure.
 Sweet, delicate pleasure it was indeed, to return to the field with Nina, a basket & some scissors. We didn't mind the bees. We worked around them gently.
 One boy decided he'd rather stay in the car thanks!

One day just before Christmas I spotted a little retro green typewriter. I adored it & bought it & had it sent up from Wellington. I thought that I would simply sell the very ancient Underwood & all would be well. I used old Greenie to type out the meaning of the flowers that I put in Sarah's bouquet for the wedding in early January..
 & afterwards both machines sat out, as I used one & prepared to sell the other. Then one day Rob came past & said "You know I still really like the Underwood" & I replied, "Oh bother, so do I!". So now we have two typewriters...which was never the plan, but really rather handy when there are two avid typers who came to visit & found them to be irresistible indeed! Soon, everyone got down to business & tipetty, tappetty, typed to their little hearts content.
 It's a very busy time of year right now for flowers & bees & picking & growing plums. Even in her plumy absorption, my gathering friend Ruth gathered these flowers from her garden recently & left them for me to pick up with some plums. Later she asked if I got the message? speak Flower don't you?! The pink Cecile Brunner...are pretty & pink, the Double Delight is just that, & exquisitely fragrant & the maiden well maiden's hair! Such a sweet message isn't it!
 We all know a little Flower....perhaps, more than we realise.
I have a little story to tell you about tulips. I read it in my "The Enchanted Garden" book, by Claire O'Rush that Sarah & Matt gave me last year. The story is in the chapter called "Flower Healing"...& you know, they really do...heal, that is.

..."Folklore tells of a meadow in England that was inhabited by fairies (meaning that they kept their underground courts beneath it & used it's surface for the revels in the moonlight). In a nearby cottage lived an old woman who tended a very pretty garden, wherein grew a bed of especially lovely tulips. The fairies delighted in this spot, & they would carry their infants thither, singing them to sleep with sweet lullabies. Sometimes, musical airs of such mellifluence were heard in the vicinity of the tulip bed that it seemed as if the flowers were making music of themselves. At dawn the fairies returned from the meadow where they had been making merry, & could be heard caressing & murmuring to their infants as they carried them back to their fairy fort.
The tulips remained in bloom all summer through because of the fairy enchantment & were as fragrant as roses. This so enraptured the old woman that she would never suffer a single flower to be plucked from it's stem.
In time she died; & her successor uprooted the enchanted flowers & planted a parsley bed in their place. the fairies were so distressed that they cast a blight over the whole garden, & for many years nothing at all would grow within it's confines except rank weeds. Yet the fairies tended the old woman's grave so that the grass which grew over it was ever bright green, & the loveliest flowers disported themselves wantonly among the blades, although no human hand ever planted or sowed or in any way ministered to the grave.
This story seems to suggest that where human insensitivity does not recognise the presence of love & the harmony & beauty that are it's gifts & it's manifestations, the life forces wither away, withdrawing to & remaining with the source of that love. A salutary lesson, perhaps, in our ecological troubled times."

And so a week or so later I took Rob back to see the field, but what should we find when we got there but decimation!!
I couldn't believe my eyes. 
All gone!
So we gathered seeds instead & pondered on the unsettling lesson, that life is in constant flow; whether we like it or not.

Peach coloured roses are all about sincerity.
Sincerely, Evelyn.
These zinnias are in your honour dear friends as they symbolise: lasting affection & thinking of an absent friend.

Sometimes begonias are said to mean "deep thoughts"
Dahlia brings the meaningful blessing & messages of  enduring grace. Dahlia is also a symbol of inner strength, creativity & standing strong in you sacred values.
They are also very attractive to bumblebees!
And butterflies!
Yellow roses, like Golden Celebration speak of friendship.
And soft, graceful Dove rather speaks for herself.
In the older texts sunflowers frequently carry the meaning of false wealth...
but the other day when I was driving home on an unfamiliar route, I passed by a road side stall & huge buckets of bright yellow cheerfulness. Right at that moment I knew (with out the slightest doubt) that really,
they mean "exuberant sunshiney joy"!
And this little message arrived from the newly weds. Isn't it the cutest little thank you note you've ever seen!
Thank you too for visiting.
It's so lovely to see you.
But do tell me, I'd like to know...did you know what mellifluence meant all by yourself & just off the top of your head?

We had to look it up!!
Mellifluence is a very old word meaning:
(of sounds or utterances) smooth or honeyed; sweet

Much love Catherine x0x0x

Monday, 26 January 2015

Climbing the Rainbow Stairs

We've been up north, just recently...
to say goodbye to Nana.
I first met Nana when I was about 7 years old.
She was kind but practical & didn't really chat a lot.
Like me, her start in life wasn't too flash. Her mother died when she was only 3 weeks old.
Somehow Nana & I never really connected on that one, (which might have been helpful) but later we shared much the same values: kindness towards others & sharing what you have, no such thing as being bored, gardening is everything & the seasons are there to be followed & prepared for, save seeds; creativity & resourcefulness are pretty vital attributes, life is best lived in bright & vibrant colours & a cheery, caring attitude is really the best approach for almost all occasions.
On our journey to Thames we saw amazing sights...
a rainbow around the sun.
My brother says it's because of ice up there, but let's not spoil the magic!
Thames isn't really very far from Te Aroha...a place that feels like a second home to us both, especially since Aroha Mountain Lodge & the ever marvellous & hospitable Greg are always there... 
waiting for us.
Down the bottom there are three lovely rooms ensconced in the old Maternity Annexe. We stayed in the honeymoon suite. I love the double hung windows & the high ornate ceilings. For decades women found welcome support here in their quest to bring forth new life...the warm welcoming arms are still awaiting expectant travellers. We slept with the windows wide open. The cool mountain night breezes heavenly after the heat of the day.
From the veranda we watched the sun drop out of the clouds
& steadily disappear to bed.
We prepared well for our trip. This Bircher muesli is one of the most amazing foods, ever. If you eat it for breakfast it'll see you through the day & it's also one of the most delicious things you'll ever taste..truly! The fruit is my best discovery in years. The apricots were fermented in honey for 3 days on the bench & then kept in the fridge, so were the strawberries.
On Friday we headed through to Thames; a very old town with a pioneering spirit & a gold mining foundation.
Looking for good coffee, we came across a fabulous sweet shop called Palmer's Confectionary.
First established in 1871 (which is very early on in New Zealand history) the business flourished for many years until trading ended in 1956 & the shop was sold. Then, all these years later the dream has been revitalised & the premises blended (in true Coromandel style)
to incorporate several areas of colourful, innovative craft work.
It is said that during the war years, when sugar was such a luxury, that sometimes locals would bring any extra that they had & would have it made in to sweets as a special treat. Palmers toffees were also sent to the Front for "The Boys".
I love this advertisement printed in the Thames Star on the 24th December in 1901:
There's a lot of history in this place.
Having been a capable & prolific potter for previous decades, in her late 80's, Nana took to doing some wool felting. She made some beautiful felted rose brooches. This one she gave to me. I decided that in her honour, bright & cheery would be just what she would have wanted to see.
We took a slight wrong turn later in the day.
Or maybe not...
Nana's greatest passion was her garden.
She was just stringing up the new seasons onions for her daughters...
when she left.
Leaving a legacy of value is so important.
I found this delightful chest of drawers in the Restore shop early last week.
I decided that they would be perfect for storing my carefully gathered seeds.
Nana's red hollyhocks will be the first seeds to find a home there.
I love the colours in her glazes in the little dishes that I bought home with me.
The tiny white one is for Nina.
I'll keep saving the seeds for her until she can grow her own.
I found the little book "Aroha and the River" by Jeanette Galpin, for a dollar in a book sale the day we left.
I read stories (I discovered it to be a book of New Zealand short stories) out loud as we began our journey home.
"Aroha and the River" was so beautifully written we felt as if we were floating on air for miles.
It is the story of a European woman coming to pay her respects to her Maori friend that has just died:
...." And then for a little while we sit down with Turu in Turu's place on Turu's mattress and the presence of Dolly is as warm & strong as the autumn river. Beside such strength the pictures which stand against the the foot of the casket are pale & insubstantial-there's a framed one of somebody in pink organza at her twenty-first, the glass on it all blurred & damp from finger marks & lots of kissing.
"You just follow me then Mrs Richard, "I hear Turu tell me like a father. And suddenly Te Aroha is so full it's hard to stand, it's hard to walk, it's hard not to weep in this lovely crush of bodies. And soon, following Turu as he tells me, I am engulfed in a nurturing tide of the warmth of which I have never known, a loving all-embracing  circle meeting, sharing, touching, moving on. And then the hongi is over, when the clasped warm hands are loosed I find that the tight-hard pushed back band has finally been freed. My cheeks too are wet with tears"...

Much love to you all.
Catherine x0x0x

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