Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Precious Life

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Life ...

In an instant I realise how precious life is and how quickly, suddenly, it can be extinguished.

It was an innocuous accident. I simply slipped on a slimy mat that had been discarded in front of the door in the garden. One second my feet were firmly on the ground, the next whoosh, they'd lifted me off the ground, sliding away in front of me, out of control. As I felt myself fall, the thought flashed through my mind that I might be able to stop or at the very least recover the situation before I caused any damage to flesh or bone, but it wasn't to be, the mat was too slippery, the momentum too fast.


When I realised I'd stopped sliding I became aware that I was laying flat on my back on the soft, mossy, ground. Initially I felt a mixture of silliness at my predicament and cross that my clean clothes needed to be changed only minutes from having put them on. I was aware my shoulders, back, bottom, fingers all ached and I was surrounded by the recycling that had emptied itself on top of me as I fell. I wondered whether falls such as this one hurt children as much as they do grown women.

My daughter quickly opened the door when she heard the commotion...

"Mammy are you okay, did you hit your head?" her voice that a second ago had been monosyllabic as I hurried her up for school, was now full of concern.

As I tentatively moved and began to lift my shoulders from the ground, muddy elbows supporting me before I hauled myself back upright, I glanced behind. My head had come to rest on the heavy limestone step that we cross dozens of times each day.. Judging by the pain I must have taken the full force of the fall across the back of my shoulders... a few centimetres more and the outcome may have been very different.

Several hours later I think I've been in shock. The reality of how extraordinarily quickly our lives can change has been chipping away in my thoughts all day.

As a result of this jolt I've said loving words to my husband, hugged my children, cuddled the cat and stroked the soft fur around the dogs ears. I've walked the garden, touched the mossy trees and noticed the remaining flowers swaying in the strong, mild autumn breeze. Despite the bruises I've cleaned out the hens, cut the grass, sowed a few vegetables and made some red onion marmalade, breathing in the vinegary, alcoholic aromas that have been wafting around the kitchen for the past few hours.

I stood and watched the sun set way off to the west and I thanked the universe and whoever is minding out for me that I'm still here, intact and am in a position to appreciate everything and everyone that I share my life with. I know this feeling will pass, soon day to day living will take over and memories of my little slip will fade away, but at this moment I'm reminded how utterly precious our lives are.

And the mat... well the mat has been banished forever though a part of me did wonder whether it should be cleaned and resurrected as a thank you for today's gift...

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Universe

If I were a tiny spider this little woodland would be my universe, it's all I would ever know or believe to exist.

I might find myself on a leaf that's picked up by the wind and blown across the woodland floor, but still I would be amongst the familiar, mossy beech trees, the fungi and the lichen that thrive in the clean air on the top of the hill.

I might hatch from my egg beneath the webbed canopy that does nothing to protect the organisms that appear daily beneath it.

As I grow and develop I'll move away - perhaps only a short distance - making my own home amongst the soft green micro forest of the old tree that I was born in. My existence would be about mating and survival and I would weave my web so intricately that at the very least I would be guaranteed a daily meal. This woodland would be my universe.

But I'm not a tiny spider.

I'm a grown woman who shares this world with you but experiences it differently. I forget that you don't see it as I do, live it the same way. If we were sitting side by side on the leafy floor, gazing up at the narly old tree, we might look at the same trunk and branches but would we see the same things? For fleeting moments our thoughts may blend and the tree's energy might weave its magic around us, but our perception of it will differ because our individual experiences are different, just as our memories of the moment will be too. The question is, does it matter?

"There is no fixed physical reality, no single perception of the world, just numerous ways of interpreting world views as dictated by ones nervous system and the specific environment or our planetary existence." ~ Deepak Chopra