Monday, 31 December 2012

The end of the world, it happened after all

On this last day of 2012 I was told that my boy Jackson is dying. What I thought was a wound on his chin that wouldn't heal turns out to be a tumour.  Inoperable. We're trying steroids to reduce the swelling and make him more comfortable. I'll be watching him, keeping him clean and safe, loving him. And once again I'll be checking each day to see if this is The Day. In my heart that day is a long time away but in my mind - and the vet's - it's not.

Jackson is the last survivor of my first family. Casey passed in April 2011, sweet Nellie just six months later. I always knew these three amigos would leave my life as closely as they'd entered it. I didn't know it would feel as if they were here for such a very short time. After 14 and some years, Jackson is still my baby boy, will always be my baby boy.

He's a good boy. A strong boy who loves me and not really anybody else. Not since Nell left us. I know they will be together again but for now I'm keeping him here. I'm not done loving him, I'm not ready. I know how this goes. Nell prepared me. I will not have him suffer but I will not give him up until I have to. Not one day, hour or minute sooner.

So 2013...I wish the circumstances had been different.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Mirror, mirror

I love Christmas. I love people being nice to each other and giving presents and relaxing and having yummy food and the way the whole of the world seems to stop and take a break (well, the whole of this part of the world anyway). When I was little, the only time we got new toys was Christmas and birthdays and with my birthday being in April, by December I was ready for fresh blood. I was always the first up (often not bothering to sleep at all) on Christmas Day and beside myself with excitement for most of the month. I'm still quite like that.

The other members of my little family..not so much. Every year I run round like an eejit, trying to find a way to buy Snow everything she wants, even though she's never short of anything, and this year has been no different. But instead of getting excited, Snow has just been tired by school and the big things we've uncovered this term. Predictably, she went down with a nasty virus a week ago and is still not well. She is super-grumpy and teary and not at all excited and I got to the point where I was wondering how we'd managed to raise such a spoilt, ungrateful child (because I'm compassionate like that).

As usual, this weekend, I'd picked up a couple of library books for me to read to her at bedtime, including Wolfie by Emma Barnes. With Snow running a temperature and generally feeling lousy, that afternoon I suggested we snug up in the big bed together and I'd read to her. We read about two thirds before she fell asleep.

That night as I put her back to bed, she said,"I really enjoyed you reading me Wolfie today." This was the first time she'd said anything positive about anything for about four days. "I'm glad," I said."We can read the rest tomorrow if you like." She asked if she could "save it until Christmas Day". "Of course," I said. "If you want to." She said,"Well it really is a special treat so it'd be best to do it at Christmas."

I guess it's not her who can be spoilt and ungrateful. And I guess we're not doing too bad a job of raising her either.

Friday, 21 December 2012


Turn, turn, turn

It's solstice and tonight, if she's well enough, Snow and I will be doing our first releasing ceremony together. No bonfire for us in this drizzly weather but we'll light the woodburner, smudge with white sage and a crow's feather from one of our corvid neighbours, fold our hopes and wishes into red flannel along with an offering to Spirit and celebrate the turn towards the light.

I never thought I'd be someone who would be teaching my child about spiritual matters. I grew up with agnostic (back then) parents and grandparents who'd had different faith backgrounds: Non-conformist/High Church Anglican and Methodist/Catholic. My parents made the decision not to teach us anything. My school was mildly Church of England in the way the Church of England was back then, I refused Sunday School and confused bible stories with Lambs' Shakespeare. I found my own path in my twenties during the New Age heyday.

The years between then and now stripped away the hype. I went through periods of deep skepticism but never really moved too far from a deep ecology/earth medicine/animistic root. This is where I belong. I no longer have doubts or the need to question. With this knowing comes the desire to share what I've learnt with my daughter. She may reject it, embrace it or take some aspects to weave into her own spiritual cloth but it's important to me that she has access to the source. She's going to need it.

Personally, I am ready for the turning of the year. I know what I will be releasing and what I will be turning towards. Last night I read a quote from poet David Whyte that sums it up beautifully.

'You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
Except the one in which you belong.' 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

black wolf

into the woods

In 2013 I turn 50. It wasn't going to be a big deal for me. There is a part of me that rails against the man-made concept of time by being scattered and random and disorganised (amongst other great qualities to which I can lay claim) and I had mistakenly thought I could dismiss the Big 5Oh as yet another calendar date that actually makes no difference.


Over the last couple of decades I've watched as 30 became the new 20, then 40 became the new 30 and now it is said, rather less convincingly, that 50 is the new 40. One rather optimistic soul recently said that 50 is the new 30. The hell it is.

I thought I'd be scared. I thought I'd feel as if I'd missed my chances. I thought I might turn into a dreadful fake, desperate to look younger. But as it goes, I'm excited. As my friend and fellow 50 year old, Tracie put it, we are standing on the edge of the wild woods. I love that analogy.

If I slow down and listen, and let my eyes adjust to the new light, I can make out the shapes of other women already in there. Free from the hunt for a mate and all that entails; confident of their right to be wherever they want to be, however they want to be; strong, creative and quietly, purposefully leading meaningful lives away from the limelight. Not finished or polished but comfortable with the pace of their learning and growth. Powerful and wild. And when these women gather together they can summon up magic even deeper than that which younger women weave.

I am no longer an elder in my peer group, I am a novice in the second stage of my life. I am filled with anticipation and excitement, seasoned with a dab of fear for good measure. I am eager to find teachers and soul sisters who have already made their home here.

Our society tends to 'disappear' the middle-aged female and well it might. Because if it looked directly at us it might be blinded by the sheer brilliance of emerging truth and energy. I see this turning point as a second chance. All being well, I have at least half my adult life ahead of me and, considering I didn't actually grow-up until I was 35, it could be argued I'm looking at a good two thirds.

This is going to be my work for me  in 2013 - finding my wild voice, out in the woods. Standing up in the circle and howling it out loud without concern for what other people think. I don't get a third chance in this body, this is the real thing. I have no intention of f***ing it up.