Room to breathe and connect.
That’s what I need.
Each day seems a breathless scuttling of doing, rushing, half doing, kicking things under the sofa just so I don’t have to deal with them in that moment, squeezing things in squeezing things out. I have developed a strange, scurrying scuffle, brought on in part by the slightly too big faded lilac slippers I wear around the house, partly by the gasping need to be beyond my next destination, five minutes ago. Too many gaping loads of laundry to process, too many loaves of bread to cook, vats of soup to produce, and tantalising sticks of charcoal waiting on the side, tubes of delicious paint luring my gaze from the latest batch of flapjack in progress.
This afternoon I drove home in the cold shivering rain from a particularly nurturing mother’s group I belong to. Our children are cared for in a creche for two hours, and and we sit in circle, in silence and in deep listening, and our tears and heartfelt connection and support are like a true balm, for us harried struggling 21st century mothers living in our isolation and overwhelm.
I felt particularly soothed and connected to the women in the group today, and usually as I drive home after my group I feel resourced to cope with another week.
But as I drove today I realised I was progressing more and more slowly, I DIDN’T WANT TO GO HOME.
I was dreading walking into mess and disorder, jobs shouting at me from every corner…Me Me Me, and poor little Finch dragged around trying to half complete them all, never ending. Stuff, detritus, things to sort, things to clean, things to make. I wanted none of it. I wanted still, peace, calm, silence solitude.
And then I saw them. Maybe for ten seconds, on the river, a glimpse between to houses. In the rain against the unappealing mud brown of the river Dart in flood.
Nothing special, just two swans, stretching their necks and doing their thing in the rain, in the cold, in the mud. And I wanted to be there, with them, heck I even wanted to be them.
Simple calm beautiful wild and free.
I felt as if I was in chains.
But who has the key to the padlock?
I could have got out of the car and walked through the mud and rain and sat with them, the wind beating in my ears like a wild thing playing its mournful song.
But I had three children in the car and I didn’t. I came home and got a bit frustrated, tried to paint. Got cross with everyone. Tried to remember the swans. Forgot them.
But now, late at night I remember them.
Remember their grace and simplicity.
How they must feel, down there on the mud, not thinking, stressing and flustering around in baggy lilac slippers.
I want to be a swan.
I don’t really want to be swan, but I want to learn from them.
Learn to use my thoughts less, my head less, listen from my heart, my belly, sniff the air, sharpen my ears, soften my gaze. Sit by the waters edge with nothing to do but BE.
Be like a swan.