Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning, brings the dawning
It's just a restless feeling by my side
(Reed, Cale) 

And here we are. It's a cold Sunday morning and we awake in the dark. Nothing new there - the dark still reigns supreme at 6.30am, only beginning to lighten when the hour of seven is well established. Alannah is an early riser and as a perk of being mother, I get to watch (with her) the sunlight coming back around every morning. Some days it is bright and golden, with the light reflecting off the amber coloured beech trees that line the Charleville estate walls, and some days it is dark and damp with light barely making an impression behind heavy grey clouds that block out life-giving-sun's light. How different from the summer when light was barely gone for more that a few hours, and when getting up at 5am seemed like the wisest thing to do to ensure we didn't miss an ounce of all those glorious June mornings and hot afternoons.

Woodland winter palette awesomeness
But best to stay in the moment, in the here and now. Best not to linger in the past summer months or waste precious winter wishing for the brighter days to come. Best to embrace the dark and welcome it for what it brings. For this is the dark time, the winter dreaming. Time to think, time to read and time to process thoughts and ideas and images of the year gone by. Time to rest the body but feed the mind. Time to kick up fallen leaves and enjoy the winter silence. 

Here in the Holly Cottage, the pace of life has slowed down by a level or ten. We wake early and pull the blinds, waiting and watching as the light comes back to illuminate the now very quiet garden. The winter garden is now the stronghold of bold robin, brave wren and stoic blackbird, as we - less graceful humans - step back and leave  them to it, letting the soil breathe its heavy winter sighs and yield whatever sustenance it can to our hungry feathered friends. Green manure has been sowed on bare soil to hold and nourish it in the springtime; half the spuds are out of the ground and hardy brassicas and root vegetables are left to wait it out. The Setanta spuds are sadly, but surely, widely and badly damaged by burrowing slugs, who found a nice damp  home inside the nourishing starchy homes in an otherwise un-slug friendly summer. We think - we hope - the Sarpo axona variety fared better - they are much smaller in size but seem to have been less attractive to the cunning slime-mongerers. There are still some beetroots left in the ground, along with parsnips and turnips ripe for the stewing and roasting. But the most beautiful of all things green in the garden at this time are the bulging winter cabbages, sown early last spring and almost completely forgotten about under a wire net until a few weeks ago when we started looking round for what was left to eat. We won't go hungry ;) 

Most of the day is spent in the Holly Cottage kitchen now, escaping to the leaf littered woods when we can. Holly is making herself sick on acorns but I can only hope that someday she will learn. While  Holly forages, Alannah is beginning to take a peek at the world outside from the safety of the baby carrier. Sometimes I look down to check she is still with us and I see her bright blue eyes watching the scene as we walk past giant oak and tumbling pines. What must she think of it all? What impressions and what cascade of neural networks are becoming established as her brain is processing all this new information?

All this got me thinking, more. And so the last week I have been delving back into old philosophy books and trying to re-assemble thoughts and theories that get squeezed out of focus when the mind is in work drive. The work of Socrates, Buddha, Descartes, Spinoza, Schelling, Hegel, Hume, Kant and Nietzsche - not to mention Darwin - all these names and ideas are buzzing around my head as I distill and decant and try to see the world from their perspectives, making sense of my own. It's fascinating how thinking changes through the centuries, and yet I find that the fundamental truths and realities stay the same. Each one of us must make our own sense of it, and this is one of the most exciting and sometimes frightening aspects of being human - that we can make sense of it, or at least that we can try and wonder in awe at the whole thing as we do.  Like Lou Reed and John Cale's poetic reflection of a Sunday morning. 

Sunday morning girls
She is thriving of course - two months last Wednesday and grown out of her newborn wardrobe completely, filling the three month sleep suits more and more.  Pink is her favourite colour at the moment, mixed up with white and purples and lilacs. A marked contrast to the yellows and greens of the wood, she strikes a defiant pose as bright pink bundle as we stroll through that earthy palette of autumn-come-winter temperate woods. 

Time to get back out into it, this time with Lou Reed's voice echoing in her ears and in my heart. Thanks Lou (1942-2013) - how beautiful you are. Play it loud ;) 

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