Thursday, 24 October 2013

FOR two DAYS the SKIES wept...

... and I walked alone in a desolate world of water and mud and wind; the fire of chestnut leaves was strewn carelessly across the glistening ground and conkers smouldered in the wet soil. Dirty blotting-paper clouds, torn and ragged, hung like veils over the sobbing fields. Save for a flurry of starlings, the jackdaws and rooks were the only birds abroad, swimming through the air. The sheep in the meadow turned their back to the whipping wind-driven rain and they hung their heads; and so did I. We both felt the trickle of cold rain on skin.

It was right that the sky rained its heart out for those two days.

There has been so much death in the village recently: The badgers on the low road; the deer by the old chestnuts at the brow of the hill; the nest of pigeon's feathers, with its gash of red, under the weeping ash.

Our summer broke with wind and the wash of rain, and with it the village was touched by the presence of death. News spread from house to house, mouth to mouth, eye to eye. Dog walks became a litany of death. Each day we entered the park with the rising sun and we left it a little quieter because our worlds had become a little quieter.

Some I knew, some I didn't. Those I knew, I knew only a little. A few were expected, but most were sudden. Those of whom I looked forward to meeting in the morning; a comment on the weather, a smile and gone. A wave across the fields, a pat of a dog, a greeting. But now they are gone. I miss them.

Different people respond each in their own way. Some want to know each death-blow in forensic detail, others just talk about the families and friends left behind. Some reminisce, catching smiles amongst the storm of shock and sadness. We learn all those things about their lives that didn't seem to matter when they were alive.

This world weeps rain because it has holes torn from it; the holes of those I knew in passing and who made my world a little different.

And now I hear that the Park Keeper is lying in hospital after a heart attack followed by a stroke. In his front garden, the large mower (he loves lawnmowers) on which he was working stands forlorn, gutted and its pieces spread neatly upon the grass, a few tools patiently waiting for a ready hand to put them back to use. It's missing its heart. His wife cannot comprehend what has happened to him and stands chattering excitedly at the gate or shouting news from the bedroom window. His daughter has grown up in the space of a couple of days. She now holds the keys to the park and, in her youth, has felt the breath of mortality.
And my friend with the Frisbee (who finds it so difficult to talk), on that same night, was also rushed to hospital after he found life a little too hard and a little too cruel to bear. We stand together in the rain, he is like a ghost. He tries to form words, but none come just a jumble of sounds. Not even his dog can make him smile.

It is right that the sky sometimes weeps...


  1. I send you peace and prayer and love and light, my friend. And this poem by Christina Rossetti...

    When I am dead, my dearest,
    Sing no sad songs for me;
    Plant thou no roses at my head,
    Nor shady cypress tree:
    Be the green grass above me
    With showers and dewdrops wet;
    And if thou wilt, remember,
    And if thou wilt, forget.

    I shall not see the shadows,
    I shall not feel the rain;
    I shall not hear the nightingale
    Sing on, as if in pain:
    And dreaming through the twilight
    That doth not rise nor set,
    Haply I may remember,
    And haply may forget.

    -Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts (and words). Christina Rossetti's beautiful words raise so many questions ~ on mortality and uncertainty within a landscape of faith; so much that I can equate myself with! :-)

    2. I hope you are feeling better today .... A little bit? :-)

    3. Aw thank you!! I am honestly feeling fine. I am still worried about my friends - the park keeper is still in intensive care and is severely disabled (hopefully he'll start to get his movement back), but, in all this, there are still lots of things that makes my heart sing :)

  2. I am so sorry that things have been this way lately. I love the expressions here though, as sorrowful as they may have been to write. Sending peaceful and positive thoughts your way my friend.

    1. Thank you so much Keith. Yes it is sorrowful and death leaves a horrible vacuum in our lives, but at the same time the fields and woods around is so full of promise and hope. Even the little 'nest' of feathers where the pigeon had been killed was under a tree that even now is beginning to burst with buds for next year.
      Harvest time is nature's vibrant expression of hope in the future - it's the promise of next year's bounty. Some of my friends (like that pigeon) will not see that bounty (and I really wish they could), but nonetheless the heart is still lifted by a faith that is so much stronger than mine.

  3. So beautifully expressed...heartfelt moments....I love the way you weave your world and the events around you into words....and how you describe these moments of time with such a deep meaningfulness I cannot explain! Your mind is truly a rich tapestry of creation! Your imagery is stunning and beautiful.. pigeon under the weeping ash..your conversations of death...the sky weeping it's heart out and your ghost friend...I love each moment you share! Life is so beautiful, precious... fragile and yet so powerful too..and even in death life builds new dreams..sparks mew hope and faith and love and connection, making it all so magical again! Thanks for your beautiful gift of writing!

    1. Thank you Victoria. I am so relieved that you can feel that in my post. I was rather concerned that it was simply maudlin and depressing - and that is totally unlike the way I am feeling. I wrestled with the ending and kept re-writing an ending that seemed more positive, but it seemed either contrived or appeared to dismiss all that went before. I also felt too that there are times we feel sad and it is right that we do and in those times we can acknowledge those aspects within our landscape that mirror those feelings and perhaps even draw strength from them.
      I absolutely LOVE ~ 'even in death life builds new dreams' That is it precisely.

    2. I think it was beautifully written and if you struggled, as you say you did, I did not notice. You write very well!!

  4. I love the idea of the sky raining it's heart out. Your words are so beautiful and paint such detailed and amazing pictures.

  5. Thank you Angela - However, if my words can even come close to the depth of your paintings then I will be really happy!

  6. Such beautiful words, I love the rain it expresses such emotion, both happy and sad, blessings, alison xxx

    1. Thank you Alison. Yes, you are absolutely right, the rain can express so many different emotions. As you say, there is something about it to which we can relate in such diverse ways.

  7. This post touched me deeply,
    I thought about it long and hard , understanding as the rain swept through my mind .
    Each animal ,each person , you expressed so profoundly ~ even the tools cried out .

    1. Willow, I am touched that you too are touched. There are times, at least for me, when we need the help of the world/nature to articulate for us those feelings deep within us. Having gone to the wilder places we then understand ourselves and our lives a little better.


For your voice is important... and words that are shared grow wings.