Bluebells are the undisputed spring highlight. At their peak, around this time of year, they form an unearthly blue haze through the woodlands. A winding path in the wood passes through swathes of dainty blue flowers. Here, the air is laden with a delicate perfume and birds sing happily in the background. Tall trunks of ancient trees emerge randomly and the light filtering through the canopy gives a different hue to the blue carpet every few minutes.
The perfect way to spend an afternoon with friends, chatting and taking pictures, desperately trying to capture the image of what it feels like to be there, frustratingly aware that it’s impossible.
Half of the world’s population of bluebells are here in the UK.
Bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects feed on the nectar of bluebell. Their flowers provide an important early source of nectar. Field of bluebells are intricately woven with fairy enchantments.
The blueness of the bluebells is nearly purple. It reminds me of this poem by Jenny Joseph and my big purple coat.
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Where is the news of Union with you that I shall give up life.
I am a holy bird of Paradise, from the world’s trap shall rise.
By your love, I swear that if you call me to be your slave,
I shall give up the mastery of life and the world.
Oh Lord, let the rain fall from your guiding clouds,
Before, like dust, I rise and vanish from sight.
When you come to my grave, bring wine and the lute to me,
So that I, delighted to see you, from the grave dancing shall rise.
Though I am old, hold me tightly one night to your breast,
Then, in the morning, from your bosom, young shall I rise.
On the day of my death, give me a minute’s time to see you,
Then, from the world and life, I will be set free.
- By the Persian poet, Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazarus wrote this sonnet in 1883 in America to raise funds for the construction of the pedestal on which stands the Statue of Liberty.
The glorious aspiration set out in this poem seems to have been well forgotten and contorted over the years.
It appears as though humanity sits at the verge of self destruction. We refuse to learn lessons from history. All too familiar ugly realities of the past repeat themselves -demonising of a particular religious group resulting in seemingly justified atrocities against humanity, wars in the name of peace and liberty, a conviction of weapons of mass destruction/chemical weapons proven wrong, rightful nuclear assault of another country, false news and propaganda, massive unplanned military operations used as knee-jerk reactions to events in order to overthrow tyrannous regimes, complete lack of meaningful dialogue and statesmanship.
The awfulness of it!
The sun, the moon and all the colours gathered up in the sky. The slanting light made the evening luminous . Each element did its magic and together, created a harmony. Children played freely and the motors of peak hour traffic moved noisily in the background. It didn’t seem to matter at all. The world went on with its business as usual while we sat still with our worlds that had vanished.
We gathered in this open green space sure to be met with compassion and understanding. Alan’s sister read the same poem, by Mary Elizabeth Frye that she’d read at his funeral:
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
John’s brother, Fabio’s mum, Rene’s sister, Jake’s dad, Saleem’s mum, Ruth’s Mum, Clair’s mum, Saagar’s friends and so many more came along for a quite evening, being in nature, in the company of friends, with what is. The radiant faces in the pictures, the flowers, the candles held centerstage. Love flowed in abundance.
Each one of us, a rainbow in the other’s cloud.
Each one making loss a little more bearable.
Each one being with their own healing and offering hope.
One world. One people. One silence. One togetherness.
Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud by Maya Angelou
Clouds and waves
Mother, the folk who live up in the clouds call out to me-
“We play from the time we wake till the day ends.
We play with the golden dawn, we play with the silver moon.”
I ask, “But how am I to get up to you ?”
They answer, “Come to the edge of the earth, lift up your
hands to the sky, and you will be taken up into the clouds.”
“My mother is waiting for me at home, “I say, “How can I leave
her and come?”
Then they smile and float away.
But I know a nicer game than that, mother.
I shall be the cloud and you the moon.
I shall cover you with both my hands, and our house-top will
be the blue sky.
The folk who live in the waves call out to me-
“We sing from morning till night; on and on we travel and know
not where we pass.”
I ask, “But how am I to join you?”
They tell me, “Come to the edge of the shore and stand with
your eyes tight shut, and you will be carried out upon the waves.”
I say, “My mother always wants me at home in the evening-
how can I leave her and go?”
They smile, dance and pass by.
But I know a better game than that.
I will be the waves and you will be a strange shore.
I shall roll on and on and on, and break upon your lap with
And no one in the world will know where we both are.
Stones and bones;
Snow and frost;
Seeds and beans and polliwogs,
Paths and twigs, assorted kisses,
We all know who Mamma misses.
The helplessness of being alive,
the dark bright pity of being human,
groping in corners and
opening your arms to light.
All of it part of navigating
They would not know
When I was gone,
Just as they could not know sometimes
How heavily I had hovered in a particular room.
I became manifest in whatever way they wanted me to.
There had been a woman haunted.
All of it, the story of my life and death,
Was hers if she chose to tell it,
Even to one person at a time.
I would like to tell you that
It is beautiful here.
That I am and you will one day be,
But this heaven is not about safety,
Just as in its graciousness, it isn’t
About gritty reality.
We have fun.
The dead truly talk to us,
That in the air between the living
Spirits bob and weave and
Laugh with us.
They are the oxygen we breathe.
So there are cakes and pillows and colors galore.
Underneath this obvious patchwork quilt
Are places like a quite room
Where you can go
and hold someone’s hand and
Not have to say anything.
Give no story
Make no claim.
Where you can live at the edge of your skin
For as long as you wish.
This wide wide heaven
Is about the soft down of new leaves,
Wild roller coaster rides and escaped marbles
That fall and then hang
Then take you somewhere you could never have imagined
In your small-heaven dreams.
-Inspired by The Lovely Bones. Author, Alice Sebold.
-Dedicated to all those innocent people who died traumatically in London yesterday and to their loved ones.
Today is Nowruz, Iranian New year.
For hundreds of years it has been celebrated on the Spring equinox to signify new beginnings, seeds and paths.
The earth tips over to allow illumination of the northern hemisphere, a sublime reminder that light always returns. This time when day and night are equal represents our need for balance between male and female energies, between yin and yang.
A time for renewal, growth and glorious blooming of the spirit.
An upward movement of energy, helping us look into the future with hope and positivity.
Meditation on the Equinox
Over our heads, the great wheel of stars shifts,
the autumnal (or spring) equinox manifests itself,
and for one precious instant darkness and light
exist in balanced proportion to one another.
Within our minds the great web of neurons shifts,
new consciousness arises,
and for one precious instant experience and meaning
exist together as revelation and epiphany.
Within our hearts the great rhythm of our lives shifts
a new way of being reveals itself,
and for one precious instant
the nexus of the body and the seat of the soul
truly exist as one.
Let us give thanks for those times in our lives
when all seems in balance.
For those times are rare and precious.
The equinox shall pass, the revelation may be forgotten,
and our actions will not always reflect our true selves.
But through our gratitude
we may remember who we are,
reflect on who we may become,
and restore the balance which brings equanimity to our lives.
Let us be quiet for a moment, together.
By Thomas Rhodes