This morning I was lost in a crazy dream. It was a hodgepodge of characters that included the White Walkers from Game of Thrones and the Ring Wraiths from Lord of The Rings. Lord only knows how I ended up in this nutsy little dream of mine? I heard screaming in this far off Neverland and looked around me. I spun in a circle thinking it was the noise the Ring Wraiths make; then I thought it was a child screaming for help. The scream faded and I opened my eyes and stared up at the ceiling. The glow from the humidifier bathed the ceiling in a golden pinkish hue. I rolled my head to stare at the clock, it was 3:27am.
I must have just been dreaming I thought, but then I heard it again. This eerie cry in a perfectly hushed world. I was now fully awake and I knew exactly what that noise was. I crept out of bed and over to the window and I slowly pulled up the blind and started scanning the street below for him. He wasn’t there. I turned my head from left to right, I pressed my forehead to the glass peering straight down. I couldn’t see him. With the next call, I realised he was just down the street.
It took everything in me, not to run outside in my nightgown to see where he was. I’ve been looking for him all summer. I’ve been worried about him. But last night I knew he was well. My fox was back.
I’m longing for quiet lately. I was shopping for a birthday card for a friend last week and found the perfect card for my Nana. It was dirty, which she would have loved. She had a wicked sense of humour. I wandered around the store and was about to purchase my items when I realised, I can’t send her a card. I just stood there like an idiot for a moment before going to put the card back. I still can’t believe that she no longer exists within my world. We shared a lot with each other, but I still had so much more to learn and to experience through her eyes.
On my daily run, I always make a beeline for the woodland paths. I slow down to a walk there and watch the muntjacs (if I’m lucky to see them), or check on the baby coots and ducklings in the pond. One little muntjac in particular and I are slowly becoming friends. He occasionally watches me do yoga or peers out from the trees across the path, when I’m doing push-ups using the back of a park bench. He seems to seek me out. I find peace in watching him. I find peace in listening to the birds and watching the sun shine through the fern leaves. One of the many side paths has ferns that are taller than me. When the sun shines through them it is like being in a chapel made entirely of emerald green stained glass.
The moment I leave the woods the traffic rushes by, people push past you and there is just so much noise coming from every direction. I don’t want noise for a little while. I want to sit in a chair with my toes in the sand. I want to do my morning run along the beach, barefoot as the sun rises. I want to collect seashells, rinsing them off in the ocean before leaving them to dry on the porch railing. I want to make s’mores over a fire and slowly lick off the marshmallow goo from my lips.
I want to eat when I feel like eating, only see people if I want to, only talk to people if I want to. I want to take naps on a screened-in porch listening to the waves as I drift off. I don’t want to answer questions, or do laundry, or clean a house. I don’t want to hear noise other than the ocean beating against the shore one rolling wave at a time. Just for a little while, I just crave the delicious sound of silence.
I’ve lived in England for a long time now and there is one thing that you very rarely, if ever see. In fact, I’ve never seen one here outside of a zoo. I’m talking about SNAKES! I can’t stand snakes. I grew up in an area of the States where you needed to be watchful for venomous snakes and spiders and where cockroaches, or as we call them “Palmetto Bugs”, do in fact fly. So I always pay attention.
Last year, while walking home along the footpath, I heard a noise that you only hear in horror films. The noise where something big is being dragged. I don’t know how I missed this thing, usually I’m constantly looking up and down as I walk the footpaths as there are always little mice who I don’t want to squash and normally dog poop.
But somehow I was looking up and stepped straight over something and it was only when I heard the noise of something huge being dragged through leaves did I turn around and witness the last two feet of a snake disappear down the hill to the train tracks. I kid you not when I say this, but it’s girth was the size of an Amazonian python that had just eaten a village cow.
There was a horrible smell in the air and after a mini panic attack where I didn’t think I could walk, I all but ran home and after a long internet search came across a site that informed me that that horrible almost rancid garlic odour I smelled was from a grass snake. It’s their defensive move. That snake and I crossed paths many times last summer, even when I avoided the footpath. The first time was enough for me, I didn’t need to see it ever again.
So, last night as I walked home, I stopped short as something almost golden in appearance caught my eye. I looked at it and it looked at me and I thought to myself, Mr. Michie is never going to believe me so I better snap a picture and before I could get a good one it took off.
After a few deep breaths, all but running home and lots of research, we came to the conclusion that it was in fact not a snake, but a legless lizard. As their skin is smooth and very shiny. Still, it’s enough for me to warily stare down that footpath.
Here’s to the weekend, I hope yours is legless lizard free! In fact, I hope mine is too, because they look way too much like a snake to me.
This morning, we awoke to the news of another terrorist attack. This one was at our back door, in our beloved London.
Lately, I feel that we need superheroes more than ever. Never doubt their existence. For it was superheroes walking among us, who last night in the onslaught of the attack, ran to people’s aid.
On Friday, we had an afternoon movie date to see the new Wonder Woman film. It was WONDERful! I have long been a Diana Prince fan. I grew up watching the gorgeous Lynda Carter, spin into Wonder Woman over my morning bowl of cereal as a kid.
Personally, I feel that Wonder Woman’s message is one of extreme paramount importance. Her message is that you can be strong and powerful, but kindness and more crucially love are equally valuable qualities to possess.
Therefore, each time we wake up to another atrocity, we must continue to stand strong and walk forward with kindness and love. We will not cower. We will not back down. We will continue forward, for it is the only way to go.
See how in their veins all becomes spirit:
into each other they mature and grow.
Like axles, their forms tremblingly orbit,
round which it whirls, bewitching and aglow.
Thirsters, and they receive drink,
watchers, and see: they receive sight.
Let them into one another sink
so as to endure each other outright.
The Lovers, Rainer Maria Rilke
Today I celebrate thirteen years of being Mr. Michie’s bride. We have been by each other’s sides since we were teenagers. I’m happy beyond measure and blessed that it’s his hand I get to hold as we navigate our way together on the road of life. Here’s to another THIRTEEN and all the adventures that lie ahead! I LOVE YOU!
I haven’t had the time or the energy to come here lately. I don’t feel I have a voice right now. Since I wrote my last post, I’ve been working on putting myself back together. It is a bittersweet thing to think I exist in a world that my Nana does not. I’m happy that I had her for so long, but sad to think that we will no longer exchange letters, or telephone calls, or have our little chats over lunch or dinner when we can be together. Sad is such a poor adjective to describe how I feel right now.
We rarely watch TV and were on no social media networks last night, so we had no idea what had occurred in Manchester until we awoke today. I don’t like to use this space as a political forum, or a soap box. But this goes beyond that; this was an attack on humanity. As I ran through the woods this morning, I kept going over the news story in my head. It has sickened me. What a cowardly act, to go after children, young adults and people who were simply out enjoying themselves.
I know how excited everyone must have been, how far some people probably traveled, what a big deal it would be to see a concert on a “school night”. To have such a wonderful evening finish on such a sour note. Last night must have been the longest night of their lives for the poor families who spent it wondering if their children were safe? Would they ever walk through the front door again?
How you could do this to people, to plan to carry out an action like this is beyond me. To go into an place, watching the faces around, laughing, talking, singing and know that you will take it all away from them, makes you more than a monster.
The saddest part of all of this, is that these events are happening more and more and we are shocked, saddened, can’t get enough information about it, but the news cycle is brief. Something will come to fill its place. These atrocities need to be stopped.
And through this barbaric act, what shone through? LIGHT! People offering their homes, a safe place to stay, a free taxi ride, phone chargers, food… the list goes on. Goodness will prevail. The darkness shall be defeated. As Leonard Cohen said, “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” We must continue to seek out the cracks, to look for the light and the kindness that exists within humanity. When you’re out and about today, commit a random act of kindness. You never know how one kind word, a friendly gesture or even a smile could make all the difference.
To the good people of Manchester, we stand with YOU in solidarity.
There is much more to a person than their outer shell. Soul mates come in many forms. Sometimes in that of a lover, other times in the heart of a kindred spirit. She held me not long after I was born and told my mother exactly what my personality would be. From the moment her hands lifted me up and she held me in her arms we were and will always be intertwined.
She grew up in New York. Living in the city before heading out to live by the bay. She was an amazing swimmer. She had a little boat that she used to take out in the harbour and would go fishing. Along with her catch, she would “borrow” a few vegetables from a neighbours garden and make a little fish stew for herself on the banks.
She once safely stowed her books away, with the gentleman who ran the candy store, so she could skip school and go see Frank Sinatra croon. She had quite the voice herself and used to sing at her Uncle’s cabaret with his band as a young teen. She was a baseball player. Like Geena Davis in A League of Their Own, she was a pitcher. That’s how my grandpa first met her. He was smitten! Her? Not so much. But he wore away at her and she would later elope with him.
I’ve seen the New York census from the year they were married, it has them listed each living with their families at different residences. What the census didn’t know is that they had already secretly married in Virginia and it was only much later when she became pregnant that they told their families. That was the first of eight babies they would have together. They absolutely adored children and that was something that never left her.
My grandfather fought in WWII and she stayed to fight on the home front. She was an empowered woman before it even became a thing to be one. She was a Rosie the Riveter. I have a copy of an old photograph of her that was taken for a promotional shoot, she looks like a doll with her little cap on. She was an incredible artist, her drawings and pottery beautifully sculpted. She was also an amazing seamstress.
She taught me how to go crabbin’ at the beach. I caught a baby alligator my first time out the gate, but by the time we were ready to leave we had a basketful of crabs for dinner.
She kept her aluminium pie tins for me and I spent hours in her backyard making mud pies, that I decorated with acorns and berries from her yard. Once I was totally filthy, she would call me inside and bath me in her avocado green kitchen sink.
That was the same sink where we washed baby doll clothes and she made a drying line with some twine hung between two of her dining room chairs standing back to back, for me to pin them on.
At one point she had a little orange pinto and we used to shoot through the streets with our sunglasses on, laughing and listening to music. She was a smoker for a short while of my childhood, and I would “smoke” with her at the kitchen table. She would pretend to light up one of my crayons. I held it between my fingers like she did, taking a “puff” as she did, while I coloured with the other hand. It was like hanging out with Betty Draper.
She had a wicked sense of humour, a wonderful laugh, an even better smile. Her hands were like butter. She was a woman of unwavering faith. Her eyes saw beauty in everything. She didn’t miss a trick. She and my grandfather continued their passionate love affair up until his death.
Like my other grandmother, she was a woman of rare breed. A lady through and through. She had a special “good luck” clap that she did when watching baseball, but it was also used when she watched, Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right. She had a lot of -isms that we still say to each other all the time. And when you spoke with her on the phone, her way of saying goodbye was normally, “Ooookay, so long, doll!”. All said in a sing-song manner with a slight New York accent.
For 93 years she walked this earth. For a small part of that she was mine. We lost her this week and my heart has broken into a thousand pieces. I’ll eventually pick them up and put them back together, but there will forever be a missing piece.