RHYMES&REASONS

Observations, Thoughts and Reflections on 21st Century Life

Tag: Loss

The Bridge

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You wake one morning and sense a change, a slight shifting of the sand,

a murmured whisper, the faintest touch upon your hand.

Was it the waking from a dream or the mourning of a death,

was it joy anew of passion found or the drawing of first breath?

Was it the void of emptiness or vast realm of possibility,

was it the final release or acceptance of futility?

With a backward glance I view the bridge where yesterday I stalled

until the night stepped forth and accepting as it called

I gave surrender as it carried me across.

http://www.rebeccapells.co.uk/

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The Rhythm of Nature

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Acceptance must come, to deny the end of summer’s gift is foolhardy.  It was but a fleeting moment in time, when all seemed possible, when heat and heart soared.  But as in nature these dizzy heights cannot be captured and held suspended in time.  We have to let go, move on with the seasons, face a new chapter of life.

Few things end abruptly: more oft there is a gradual passing, a fading of that which was held in high regard and despite our best efforts the saturated colour, intense and bursting with life cannot endure the whisper of breathy frost or a shoulder coldly turned.  Disbelief turns it’s attention to weary acceptance that once again we allowed ourselves to be smitten, to believe the summer was forever, that we had finally arrived and would be allowed to stay.

The garden decays before our eyes,  fruit unripened calls out for late warmth; lush trees which short weeks ago danced in gentle breeze, now shed their leaves in nods of brittle shards impatient to bare their boughs and be at rest once more.  When the party is over, we need to withdraw, to reflect and maybe even hide a little until we are ready to emerge once more, to show ourselves, exhibit our work, declare our love.  In an era of instant disclosure withdrawal is a bid for freedom, to hide under the covers, to ensconce ourselves in the studio or walk the cliff edge.  It is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference.

Real loss is to find ourselves stuck, unable or unwilling to embrace the new.  Time and again we look back, ruminating, regretting.  If only we would turn our attention to the rhythm of nature, to that which new seasons and chapters offer.  For beneath the protective cover of leafy decay, we will find hidden beauty, small tender, formerly eclipsed by summer’s glory.  Ready, waiting to unfurl towards the future.

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http://www.rebeccapells.co.uk

Witness and Solitude

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To witness and to be witnessed is a form of acknowledgement of our own and others’ existence.  It is the sibling of ‘belonging’  identified by Abraham Maslow in his hierarchy of basic needs as crucial to our emotional well-being.  Few are able to live entirely in the absence of either.

As I approach my mid-fifties, I suddenly find myself without parents – officially an orphan as one friend stated!  Neither uncommon or unexpected.  And yet I was unprepared for the sense of aloneness I experienced, even though I’m not from what you would describe as a close family either geographically or emotionally.  It has surprised me, since I live and work alone I’m used to and comfortable with my own company.  But parents or carers are our primary witnesses, they watch over us when we are young, validate our efforts as young adults and observe  from the sidelines as we progress through life.  And then at some point the witness becomes the observed as we in turn keep an eye on them in their advanced twilight years.

The threshold over which we take our first steps into aloneness is often experienced as abandonment.  Many will step back in fear and seek distraction, the company of an unsuitable partner or live at the edge of other people’s lives, rather than allow the space and time for a solitary life to flourish.  Alone we are faced with nothing but our own reflection, our repetitive inner voice, no-one to be impatient with but ourselves!  Tired of our own story, we eventually begin to tell it in a different way, we no longer need to filter it for the ears or expectations of others and we can live our life as a question rather than a fiercely guarded certainty.  Sooner or later a fresh complexion begins to appear, the gentle re-weaving of our inner and outer forms.

In the 21st century to seek solitude is considered odd, others feel rejected and offended by it.  But to allow ourselves – and others – to be alone, whether for hours or days or weeks, is to live something that feels like a choice again.  In this space we can experience our own truth, not to sink into despair of a mis-spent past or regret a decision made long ago, but to inhabit the space in a fresh way, to navigate the movable frontier between what has been and what we are about to become.  Self-knowledge allows us to adopt the manner of the fledgling novice once more, humble and gracious in our attention to ourselves, others and life.  It is good to remove ourselves from time to time from the chaotic flow of a world which never stands still, to find our place within it once more.

Painting ‘Field of Dreams’ Rebecca Pells Fine Art

In the Bleak Midwinter

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Winter.

 The living foundation of us all.  The underlying heart, which continues to beat out it’s rhythm when all seems lost.

 The joyful, which in another season’s time would raise a smile, is met by the hard gaze of frozen ground that no nourishment or distraction can melt.  The beauty of the brown barren land is lost to us as we seek in vain the colour and warmth from a distant time.

Dormant.

We long to move on, to leave behind the chilling air which engulfs as fog and cloys our every thought.  We plough our way through the detritus at our feet, heavy with sodden tears.  And wearily we sigh as all we turn over is bleakness.  This internal airing of spinning thoughts, wringing them dry until they fall as fragile leaves at our feet, serves to relieve the burden we heavily bear.

Lost.

Temporarily in the lightness of an empty mind, unsure and wary of the way forward, impatiently we scuff the ground with our feet.  And there we catch a glimpse among the array of wintry browns, a tiny shoot of brightest green, tender, vulnerable and yet poised to unfurl.  A symbol of our inner desire conscious or not as it begins to once more stir, the manifestation of a living, hidden current which runs through.

Patience.

When all you see is fog across the land, or dust settled on a lost love’s rose, smile and be sure for the light is yet to be revealed.

Painting ‘Reflections Unfurled’ by Rebecca Pells

https://www.artfinder.com/product/reflections-unfurled/

The Journey

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Yesterday I rose before daybreak to return home to Shropshire from Dorset in the UK, where I had been staying for a few days to attend my 92 year old father’s funeral.  The usual four hour journey became six due to fog, intense wind and rain and flooded roads.

Weather and thoughts seemed to merge and reflect each other’s mood with each slow mile I travelled.   At times I could not see my way forward but neither could I return.

Reluctant to rise this December morn

at once willing, wanting to be gone.

But to leave him behind yet I am torn.

Out into the light not yet born

for it holds still death’s time done.

Hours are long, the road is short

veiled as I too by dense dark haze.

The wheels turn as my mind too, wrought

with turmoil as child and I fought,

cradling the infant with gentle gaze.

Refusing to be settled, the infant made cry

even as I soothed the adult joined child

“depart not my father, you cannot die.

Leave us not with questions why”

in unison now with sentiment wild.

“You cannot leave, not yet, now not.”

The question hung, then tore the fog apart –

“did you love us or did you not?”

The infant lay back in rocking cot

once more quiet, carried in my heart.

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Reflections Unfurled

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I’m drawn to return to the place of my birth –

where I took my first guttural breath and found myself at last.

Dust settling in layers upon it’s first blush,

the fresh young shoots crushed, lay stunted by neglect,

devoid of the nutrient which first gave life.

I thought I’d found my Garden of Eden –

but arriving too soon, the ground unprepared and ploughed with furrows past.

Extremes of withholding drought and gushing flood,

the pendulum struck it’s final blow.

The way closed for now at least, I grow my own path

Beneath the dust an inner harvest toils

strengthening, strengthening, nourished by a place beyond thoughts,

a lixor of passion, reciprocal, replenishing.

Verdure anew with each season past.

A gentle breeze as particles stir, at first one spec then two, three.

Hurry not,  slowly to unfurl the green shoots once more,

carefully, tenderly as a butterfly cupped.

Remembrance

Leaving - Copy (2)

POPPIES

The act of remembrance is also a reminder that we are still here, standing at the new horizon as the old makes a distant retreat.  The lost horizon is always there, carried within us but the act of remembrance focuses our gaze upon it.  A portal through which we approach that fading vista, remembrance offers up the door through which we are beckoned by our lost loves – by those we are in gratitude to – but through which we can never fully walk.  Forever kept apart on the threshold of what was and what is we are either the memory or the memorised, we cannot reside betwix the two.

We are the life which has come from death.  In the viscerous fog of our mourning comes the lucent mist of our own morning.  For some there is heartbreak, still fresh, tender and yet to form time’s cradling scar.  Exposed and raw it is the sweet burden of loving someone who is now beyond our reach.  We have been asked to let go but as yet, cannot – haunted by a presence which is no longer present.  Remembrance helps us to release gently that which was not ours to keep, it enables us to step into our own discarded clothes once again, where we will re-discover the familiar shape and form of our own life and inhabit it once more just as we are supposed to do.

With remembrance comes responsibility to go on, to live our lives as a precious cherished gift from those we now remember.

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My grandfather Claude Pells (seated) with an ‘Unknown Soldier’

during the First World War.  My grandfather survived the trenches of France and lived into his 80’s.

I do not know the fate of his brother in arms.

POPPIES from one of my paintngs.  To see more of my work click here.

To deny or not to deny . . . to be in denial is considered a negative but is it?

Denial is a natural reaction to anything which may cause us discomfort or distress, to that which we did not seek – illness, loss of a job or relationship.  It’s a form of rejection of participation in what is.  Often viewed by others through a lens of negativity and accompanied by an underlying current of judgement, someone ‘in denial’ is perceived to have failed one of life’s many tests.

But denial has a role.  We find ourselves catapulted into no man’s land, somewhere between the longed for safety of the familiar past and the resisted, feared future.  Shell shocked, our senses heightened and with eyes clouded by confusion, we scramble to return to the safety from whence we came, only to feel the ground give way beneath us.  The more we try to no avail the further we sink ever deeper into the quagmire and risk becoming stuck. But it is also a place of self-compassion where we can reside until we’re ready to face that which in this moment feels overwhelming.  A place from which acceptance can gently and tenderly coax us toward the horizon we are not yet ready to meet.

Rigid with indecision and unable to move in either direction we continue to resist, knowing that we must find the courage to journey on and the strength to step out into our future, away from the place we mourn but in which we can no longer reside.  Denial provides space, it enables us to take time to dip our toe back and forth, retreat and try once more until we feel ready.  Eventually the dawn of acceptance – that we cannot go back – rises within, our attention released and now free to turn toward the new horizon.

  By natural progression we tire of just staring at the future unable to fully participate from the incapacity of no man’s land and the first stirrings of curiosity and frustration spur us onward. The nurturing cradle of denial now feels restrictive as we strain to see what’s happening over the horizon.  The moment we step across the threshold separating resistance from readiness, carrying with us the comfort of knowing it will always be there to offer a temporary haven, we take our first tentative steps into a future full of fresh possibilities.

The Circle of Life

Green eyes dilute with age, my feline friend conveys a dignity far greater than mine.

A pull bonded by years both knowing it will end, at least in this physical realm and time.

Preparing for what I know must come and yet, part of my destiny too.

Sharing these last hours although different than I, the magnetic tug endures, not to be parted from you.

And yet I must let you be free.

She senses my sadness, how hard to let her go but with an unspoken ‘it’s okay – this is the way it should be’.

This circle of life.

I leave her to sleep, to choose her own time,

But my desire to be near I gently disturb, gathering her weak body warm, close to mine,

her plumpness diminished revealing the curve of her ribs and contour of spine.

I drink in the sweet smell of fur a memory to recall at some distant, unimagined time.

Her purr once given so freely now comes raspy with effort but offered  to reassure.

Still she gives more.  My precious one.

  No longer able to lazily stretch, white tummy exposed to enjoy the May sun

but lying sphinx-like a position to endure, five minutes or more.

The birds once prey now chatter and chirp, keeping a distance borne of respect.

Do they too sense her gathering end?

The pure joy of having known and shared a love.

Emotion  poignant with loss, etched with privilege of witnessing life waned

and laced with the inevitable sadness to come.

The circle complete.  My precious one.

Autumn

 

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Autumn is a time for letting go of that which we can no longer hold onto.

Preparation for a bare winter when little appears to change and all seems lost as we mourn the sweetness of a summer past.

Long days of darkness hang upon us but we know that given time, eventually the light will return once more, gently breaking through our sadness, lightening our mood. The groundwork of autumn has cleared away the spent and decayed in preparation for the sweet shoots of new life and possibilities.

And we know that we will move forward once again unburdened by what has been.

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