Sunday, December 16, 2012

Best moment this week past

I have two. I can't choose...

I was driving home along a winding coastal road on Monday night. It was nine oclock, but dusk has barely begun. (That's how it is in Dunedin's December.) I noticed a largish bird on the road, about the size of a shag. Instead of taking flight, as I'd expected, it turned directly towards me with its feet planted, raised its head and chest and flapped its wings back and forth at my oncoming vehicle. It was an astonishing and crazy confrontation.  Car versus bird. I planted my foot on the brake, drew breath, and then saw a small baby, all fluff, scuttling past between us. Saved.

The local city choir generously opened its ranks to all-comers for a performance of the Messiah last week. I had attended three practices prior to the grand sing, bumbling my way through complex and unfamiliar sheets of scored music. Some of the established choir faced us at the performance, while we, the add-ons, sat in the front forward-facing seats, with other choir members scattered among us for vocal support. Delightfully in the thick of it, I was able to watch close up as some of older men in the choir seats, when not called on to sing, surrendered themselves to the music. Their eyes were closed, and they appeared to be deeply transported. The music was glorious, but this too was a glimpse into something sublime.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


This blog, somnolent as she has been for some time, got given a snazzy new new name this morning. JB and I were talking about the why and how of this and that, and he suggested taking a cadenza approach. I loved the fizz of it, and when my first thoughts of some exotic dance died away, I realised he was referring to this small creature. It gave me a lift, and here I am again, fossicking; happy there's a place to piece my words together, let my ideas unroll and reveal themselves.

And so to what I learnt on 24/11/12: cadenza is not a dance. It is what happens when the orchestra dies away, leaving space for an unstructured, often improvised solo performance.  (Not even a regular pulse says wikipedia.)

A space there. I'm leaving room for how much I like that. I love both bits - first the thought of what discipline and generosity is called out from those players who lower their bows. Second, the unconstrained joyous outpouring of the one musician, caught in a creative updraft. Such good things to aim for, it seems to me. The capacity to stop; to quieten and allow. And also the courage to soar, and give myself over to the invitation. (Perhaps dance does belong in the definition listings...)  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Unhurried Hands

Last weekend I unwound convulvulous tendrils from my peony plants. I carried out this exercise in liberation with slow fingers, and dare I say it, delicacy. And it struck me - I have changed! I breathe deeper right now as I think about it. Gone - well at least going, going - is the woman who tore at the garden with urgency, and at some level not too far beneath the rim of consciousness, a sense of panic. Entropy was at work, and it was my (hopeless) task to thrash away at its edges.
Watching my fingers at work on Saturday I had a realisation. I, pmm, am, actually, slowing down.
I have a stone in front of me as I write, with the word 'pace' scrawled as neatly as I could manage, in indelible pen. (It's been pointed out to me that same spelling reads (phoneticially) parchay - peace.) The stone has been sitting there for at least a year, from the time I first recognised that this was my key to living well. 2012 became the year of saying no. No quaker meetings. No blog. (Both had been joys). I would think about and be intentional in response to any invitation that wasn't part of my required life package.
Who knows how or why, but I'm starting to get it. And funnily enough, it feels like it's taking on life from down there, at the end of my arms. These marvellous bits of me that connect me to the world are easily recalled to calm. There's hope for the rest of me.