Being sick with a bad dose of cold or flu is not at all what I need at the moment but sick I am. While nursing my cold with hot soup and herbal tea, I am trying hard not to self-pity for there is no one to hear me complaining, although deep down in my heart there is a longing for the time past when there was one faithful person so dear and so near who would have nursed me through any illness so tenderly.
Feeling lethargic, I am content to stay indoors but too tired to even hold the paintbrush let alone thinking of what to paint yet so many images passing through my head but capturing them is quite impossible.
What to read? My head and eyes are heavy with a cold that is hard to concentrate on any book. From an old radio the music of ABC classic FM help soothing the discomfort as I sit on my worn armchair staring out through the large sliding window at my little backyard, finding my heart sings with the loving memory of when he built this garden for me: humble in size yet rich in the effort of how it tried to survive through the last few years.
*“… Power sows in the depths of my heart, and I reap and gather in the grain, bestowing it lavishly upon the starving. Spirit revives this small vine, and I crush its bunches of grapes and pour out the juice for the thirsty…….. Human beings cling to matter that is as cold as snow whereas I seek the flame of love so that I might place it in my breast, where it will devour my ribs and destroy my insides, For I have discovered that matter kills painlessly, but love revives us through torments…”
I open my eyes and wondering where I am or what time of the day it is? Oh yes, I am having a bad cold and my head is spinning…
While in the northern hemisphere, people are looking forward to spring, here we are rolling into autumn and it is my most favourite season. The lovely rain arrived after weeks and weeks of sunny weather that burnt the grass and while walking in the rain I could smell the wet fallen leaves on the brown looking lawn, reminded me of a poem written by D. H. Lawrence
“… Falling seeds of rain; the seed of heaven on my face falling – I hear again like echoes even that softly pace… The winds that tread out all the grain of tears, the store harvested in the sheaves of pain…”
Puddles from pools of water splashed as I stepped into them as in the childhood puddles I was so fond of and wondering where I would end up. Nowhere I guess, but just to wait and wait till winter to descend with cold wind and freezing sunny days drying my puddles out. I am so much older now to believe in the fairy tales and what a shame!
Though I still love the rain in autumn as I love you…
“This is the most controlled floral I’ve done in a while. I loved the streak of the blue-purple amethyst that’s like a butterfly in the night. And alone in the night garden I sat thinking of you. The summer evening filled with sweetness while the heat of the day turned my hydrangea all brown. Iris was also your favourite flower as with yellow rose and red cyclamen and many more. So when I happened to paint them you entered my thoughts, and I felt so alone without you. No hand to hold or even just to touch the tips of your fingers. Here in the night with the moon and the stars, I sat alone in my garden…”
Super moon came and went for three days now and I still haven’t been able to have a glimpse of it. Not because I did not look, but the sky over Fremont clouded so thick every night with constant rain. There were sunny patches but only during the day when gusty winds occasionally managed to chase the clouds away.
Wandering through the rose garden by the Seattle zoo where autumn is making room to welcome winter as the leaves turning from yellow-red to brown while the trees looking bare and shivering. Scattering around were some lonely flowers desperately hung on to thorny branches knowing soon enough they too will fade and die.
But fear not, when spring follows winter, the next generation of roses will assuredly bloom much more beautiful as I watched a team of gardeners hard at work nurturing them with definite care if not tender and loving.
And I remembered on this spot where I sat, in the brilliant summer sun of last year. The roses may have been so much prettier though I saw none but pain and grief through tears…
Suddenly the sun moved behind the cloud, casting a more sombre shade and I thought I felt some tiny drops… is that rain?
Words that depicted the scene of this painting or was it my painting being inspired by these words that stirred my heart and soul? Whichever, I cannot live without neither.
“…That was at that sober hour when the light of day is receding. And from surrounding things the hues wherewith day has adorned them. Fade like the hopes of youth, till the beauty of earth is departed. Pensive, thought or not in thought I stood, beholding mountain and lake and vale; the valley disrobed of its verdure. Under the woods reposed; the hills that calm and majestic, lifted their heads in the silent sky… Earth was hushed and still; all motion and sound were suspended: Neither man was heard, bird, beast, nor humming of insect. Pensive I stood, and alone: the hour and the scene had subdued me…” R. Southey
… And as I gazed in the west, where infinity seemed to be open, I felt as though this life is not a “thraldom” as felt by Mr Southey, but it is heaven on earth…
I am very much settled back into daily routine after my big trip yet, the life journey is still miles and miles ahead and that I will have to continue on. I have learnt a lot during my recent travel: About myself, about other people and about what I valued and who I let go. I was fortunate indeed to have had that time just for myself and there was only one person that I would be grateful for. I could not help but to think that he might have arranged it all for me and I love him even more though he is no more, but he taught me to meet “life” with courage!
There was one sunny day during the past three weeks, apart from that it had been raining steadily for many days; the purple winter sky was dark and threatening. At times, the heavens opened and the rain came rushing down over the roof of the house, filled up the gutters, emptying itself on the ground turning my already soaking garden into patches of muddy puddles.
As a child I used to imagine that if I walked into the puddles I might be in another world. I did try, and another world came to me…
I seem to hear a bar of music float And swoon into the west; My ear can scarcely catch the whispered note, But something in my breast Blends with that strain, till both accord in one, As cloud and colour blend at set of sun.
Till the thin clouds wear away Into threads of purple-grey, And the sudden stars between Brighten in the pallid green;
As the day ends to rest The sunset does its best Setting on fire the lively waves Colouring orange the nature he saves its pure ancient glorious perfection.
The great ocean will receive The burning sun who’s going to leave. Slowly comes the night Devouring that magic light: we are still suspended in a great delight.
A poem by Emily Pauline Johnson
All night, the wind was howling outside, at times sounded like a whole army of tanks running down my street, other times it was like the roof of my house was about to take off. This morning the sun was out, I went down to the bay and saw not a soul, not even a lone seagull, she would not be so silly to venture out in this weather. It was not easy to walk on the beach, as the wind was so gusty my sunglasses covered with sand but I managed to hold my camera steady for a few quick shots.
“And in my dream, I went down to the beach again, to the calm clear bay and the vast blue sky, to the whispers of the waves lapping upon the shore. At the water’s edge, endlessly moving tides, so gentle in the light breeze. A lone seagull skipped, pecking and probing, looking for tasty morsels and giving out joyful trill.
In the distant grey mist of the sea, I did not see any “tall ship”, only an occasional vessel carrying containers of goods, quietly creeping across the horizon towards the port across the bay.
Gentle ripples brought in seaweed and tiny seashells; I seemed to hear a bar of music in the whistling wind and my thought wandered. My gaze focussed on the footprints where the soft sand was trampled on. Someone must have walked by with that same weird gait I smiled at the thought wondering if the gentle spirit was sending me a message.”
In the afternoon, the light was brighter, appearing through the clouds shifting and changing, through quick downpours and the gusty winds. The one afternoon that was better to stay in-door. The sweet music helped to sooth the restless soul looking for inspiration that almost within reach, I stumbled on an old yellow piece of cutting…
All night naked you and I – In love and sleep together lie – And as we toward each other turn – Our bodies make the darkness burn – Brighter than day: we touch and find – That flesh can see when eyes are blind.
Time stops: but still the night must fade – We rise into daylight’s shade – And like two strangers dress and move – As if unconscious of our love – But with our eyes we still embrace – And touch each other’s naked face.
Despite of how slow I walked during the last five weeks wandering over England, Scotland and Wales, my left knee started to give me some discomfort during the last few days while stopping at my son’s house in Surrey on the last leg of my journey.
It turned out that I have sprained my knee without knowing until a slip on a doorway at a café yesterday, which gave me an excruciating pain that the doctor had to be called, now I was ordered to rest from all my modest up-hill-and-down-dale wanders. The next five days will be just rests and exercises for my knee to heal before a long flight back to Australia.
I tried not to think that my journey should end on a low note, that was not what I intended. Maybe I should consider myself fortunate that I am not in a worse situation and the high note is yet to come?
Anyway, the weather has been good everyday, and the granddaughters have been wonderful for hugging and kissing on daily basis.
My son thought it was a drastic measure on my part to get out of babysitting, and worse still to get some attention by two good-looking strangers who just happened to be around helping me every little step from the café to the car. It might have been only 50 steps but I managed to drag them out to a hundred, at least!
Last but not least, I am now also a proud owner of this cool walking stick, which came with a flashlight and an alarm and it can be folded down to the size of a folded small umbrella. Serious James Bond’s stuff indeed! 🙂
Tintern was also a very pretty little village on the bank of Wye River in Monmouthshire about five miles to the border with England where my train arrived in Chepstow. There is a bus from Chepstow taking you all the way, to the town of Monmouth passing through Tintern every hour.
I hopped on the bus just outside the hotel heading to Monmouth, though I did not think much of the town itself, the bus ride was worth every penny for the scenery. The valley and meadows were such picturesque landscape to marvel on. Henry V was a Monmouth baby he was born in Monmouth Castle in 1387.
My many morning walks through the meadows by the river are still the best things on this trip. Where I also met many nice people from everywhere including Australia. Wye Valley shall definitely be the place had the most magic for me…
“… I hear this water, rolling from their mountain-springs, with the soft inland murmur. Once again, do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs that on a wild secluded scene impress. Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect the landscape with the quiet of the sky…
…The mountain and the deep and gloomy wood; their colours and their forms, were then to me an appetite; a feeling and a love that had no need of a remoter charm…
… For I have learned to look on nature, not as on the hour of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes the still sad music of humanity…
… I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused. Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean and the living air, and the blue sky and in the mind of man: A motion and spirit that impels…
… Therefore am I still the lover of the meadows and the woods, and mountains; and of all that we behold. From this green earth; of all the mighty word… ” William Wordsworth