Angel Wings and Herb Tea

Life after loss; healing through creativity, writing and art


Writing into spring: Our word

Even my blood is running thin and light, sap running clear and green . The fresh tender shoots the riotous petals and rook shit tumbling from the nests onto our car every night. That’s how we know its Spring. We need a new parking place.


My hibernation from words is over. Winter, hormonal baby slow thick brain, soft and sluggish, sweet porridge of slumber and dreaming through the cold months. The colours danced off my paintbrush but the words slept, a sweet sleep.

Nursing hours under blankets, casseroles of winter roots and the words wouldn’t come. Trying to write a journal entry was like a brisk walk through quicksand.


Time poor as always but always shards of exquisite freedom to create a tiny gem to hold in the palm of my hand. A few brushstrokes, a charcoal sketch, a few stitches on my art journal, a coil pot made.


I need it

But as the new leaves butterfly  fresh on every tree in sight, and even the snakes of old ivy whisper their stories around the oak; (they remember last Spring, and the one before, and before that) I start to write, little phrases twist and squirm, a word to remember, a rush to find my notebook, or old receipt, or paper napkin…

Then I remembered

Our Word*

That’s what I needed.

Something to pull me out of my nice girl comfortable dullness, goody two shoes careful what would the neighbours think brain…..and into my heart, my guts which shriek and swear and sometimes are not nice but always want love and hold the truth.

I three quarters completed an online course with Marybeth Bonfiglio last year, and Finch came two weeks early and swallowed the final week.


Our Word isa writing experience led by five each week, with soul shifting, shape sorting, bone wrenching goodness, writing prompts to dive into the underbelly of reality, to grapple with the stars and caress the moon.

I’m on day two and still struggling with prim miss making a good impression and am feeling scared  and stilted.

It  will change.

Down the road I’ll share some words here.

In the meantime check in later this week for the wee giveaway I have planned to celebrate my move over here….

Until then,

love Henrietta x


*    for some reason the link icon is not functioning at the moment….so here is the link to Marybeth’s site.




You know what, I do talk alot about how much I love living without electricity, the candles the simplicity, the magic…. but I’m finding our limited acess to the laptop really, really hard.
We have an invertor in our car, which charges our phones from the car battery on the school run, but doesn’t leave any time for charging anything else; we sneakily charge the laptop if we visit a friend…but …that gives us an hour and a half use of an evening. An hour and a half.
 I love this blog, I love writing here, and knowing that you guys are actually reading it, and sometimes commenting (I especially like that.) But it’s challenging.  I’m also trying to write some more articles and some other projects, (currently drafted in longhand by candle light, which is fine, honestly) But at some point I need to transfer them on to the screen, and research things, and check my emails, and hell, even reply to a few. Then of course Hugh needs to check a few things out, like the price of batteries and solar panels, specifically, and Freddie wouldn’t mind downloading a bit of music too……
So I’ve started to visit internet cafes on one or two of my three child free mornings  a week, and I drink copious amounts of three mint tea and studiously ignore the cappucino. But sometimes I have no transport and can’t get to the internet cafe, and am at home with free time and NO COMPUTER.
So I pace up and down and imagine all the writing I could be doing and waste lots of time huffing and grumbling whilst putting some buckets of laundry on to soak, before I remember to look out of the window. It’s beautiful, sunny and warm, and I do have a pen and paper if I really need to write, but  there are steps to be built, paths to be dug, raised beds to be planned.
So I build steps (no pics yet as camera battery needs charging) chop wood, and walk in the wood and it feels good and spring like.
But I still want  to get on the computer!
Well, this evening Hugh brought back a beautifully charged laptop for me, no one else wanted to use it, and anyone would have thought I’d be delighted, but instead I wanted to lie by the fire in the cosy candle light and read. It seemed a bit 21st century to start turning computers on. Briefly, as I lay there, I considered giving it all up and just donning a shawl and several layers of petticoats and forgetting all about modern nonsensical ideas such as blogging.
I may have even voiced this thought.
I got short shrift from the 13 year old among us, sighed, and turned the wretched thing on, the laptop I mean, and got on with it.
 I did write something for the current issue of Juno, but that was when we had endless electricity,



Last Saturday, I took a day out from my life, a whole day, from ten until five in a cosy studio with seven other adults and two enormous dogs. There were no children, and no packing and cleaning, there was no insulating or painting or dashing around holding ten things in my head, while I just quickly text someone and stir the onions and pull Leo out of the fridge. For six hours (one hour was devoted to a sumptuous bring and share lunch) we wrote and shared and reflected, and felt our way into this still new year of 2012. I feel this day may become an annual occurence, compassionately and creatively held by the wonderful Roselle Angwin of Fire in the Head.

I rarely have the time and space to step back and reflect on my life from the outside. Especially at the moment, with our build nearing completion and our next house move looming, it has become very important to remember just exactly why we are doing this. And to remember that we have chosen this path, and we will continue to influence the direction it takes through life by our decisions and motivations. How I needed to know this.
Prompted by Roselle’s exercises and questions we worked in pairs, alone and as a group to dredge the gold and the slime from our lives.. …with a grand finale of verbally releasing (and writing and burning in the fire) the things which had not served us in 2011, and welcoming those we wished to embrace for the new year.

As always I found the power of free writing  without pausing or censorship to be revealing, insightful and surprising. A trust in the process of following where the pen leads, without pausing to edit, uncovers the treasures which are always there when we stop thinking! I was surprised for example when in answer to the question, ‘what would you do if you had only a year to live?’, I wrote, ‘stop cooking’.

‘Well that’s ridiculous,’ my censoring mind immediately thought, ‘wouldn’t you get rid of all your things and travel the world or some other traditional only-one-year-to-live activity?’ So I dutifully and limply wrote, ‘travel the world and give away my belongings’, but fortunately came back to the cooking.
Yes, I realised I had let cooking dominate my life. Feelings of guilt at not being a wage earner gnaw at my fragile sense of self worth, so I cook copious amounts of nutritious, delicious, fresh, home baked goodness each and every day. From slow cooked millet or oatmeal in the morning to raw energy balls or sugar free muffins for mid morning snacks to carefully planned vegetable grain dishes at dinner time I pride myself on being the paragon of wholesome food. Which is great, apart from the fact its got a bit obsessive. Of course, I really do believe freshly prepared organic food is important for my family, but do I have to take it to extremes which prevent me from doing something more meditative, creative, social or physically active?

It’s a useful avoidance tactic, being feverishly busy with a seemingly necessary task. Finish editing the children’s book I am writing.?…No can’t possibly I’m up to my ears in making sauerkraut and being good and looking after my family. So I sidestep my fear of failure in writing, but at least I’ve got a few jars of preserves on my shelves.
And I can justify my existence by being visibly useful instead of doing something self indulgent like writing or meditating or dancing. Grrr…I’ve got to stop being so good all the time.

We can and do create our own reality, and I left the Thresholds workshop with several poignant and compelling affirmations which I will copy out and pin liberally around our new home.


  • I breathe love and acceptance into every moment,  and I remember that the pain I feel is caused by my own aversion to misfortune.
  • I release my attachment to the outcome
  • I am living in this moment. (that’s a big one)
  • I am connected to everything.

And others still brewing….

Thanks so much to Roselle for facilitating the process of  reflection and intention setting, I’ll be back next year!

Watch the quiet opalescence of dawn,
Listen to their sleeping breath,
and the cat’s stealthy paw.
Smell the smoke of early morning
Feel the night drifting from my limbs.
I am here.