are you listening to the sound of your life walking home?

they say that eating cake for breakfast is not a wise thing to do, an unkind choice for a body already soft-hipped and comfortable, but this morning i first had to skim the grey surface of my mind with a silver ladle and after having scooped the excess sadness from the top of what i am, and having stirred it into the first of many cups of tea, i decide to ignore the petulant warning that first rooted itself inside my young body, a lifetime and twenty ago, and in that waiting moment i clothe myself with something other than judgement, cutting a thin slice from the edge of the spicy apple cliff, how the cinnamon and the caramel are medicine, perhaps only a panacea, i know, women know what we need and that is why there are so many voices eager to tell us how we might fail should we give in, still, despite my standing barefoot in the middle of a war with myself, it inhabits my mouth for a moment, and it is a rebellion, and this is what my sadness needs this morning, it does not want to toe the line, it wants to be non-compliant and obstreperous, and in choosing one thing in favour of another, a small joy unfurls herself from the slump that she was caught in, the thicket inside my mind, and i watched her sit up straight in the very last pew, right at the back, and i watch her lift her eyes to the hills in the distance, oh the searching and the asking for the help-that-we-need, how for some soft mammal bodies it is a weight of a task, fraught with the scars given to us by others, and given to them by others, and given to them by others, and this is how we keep hurting each other, but still, it is the quiet act of a small courage that no other living being might see, although, here i am telling you about it with my own words, and others are battling their way through much fiercer wars, i know, but the leading yourself to the kitchen, no, actually it starts with the listening to the voice inside, especially after a long season and more of choosing to carry the bags of others and having to leave your own behind, and also the not scolding it for the asking of a spoonful of sweet, the asking for the something that is a sweetness on the tongue, and the choosing to listen to it—to honour its gentle presence.

isn’t this something to bow the head to?

what are you thinking? this life is running out on you, and you owe no other body an explanation, you are not here to pick up the pieces that others throw at you, dear God, time is running out, choose well, choose carefully, choose knowing that you don’t have many choices left. this might mean a turning of your whole body towards what arrives in each germinal moment, this one, and this one, and this one, each one perfectly formed and you in it, but also, there might be a turning away from other things, the courage to hold it up and choose for yourself to unlock the door with that small key called, ‘no’.

each of us is walking through the lives of others, the vast countries of other mammal bodies with their own hidden libraries of stories, and i wish that i could say that i have always treaded carefully and tenderly around them, but if i am brutally honest, and there really isn’t another way if you are determined to know your own darkness and your own light, then i have so often been afraid, so often walked in the shadow of things given to me, that my presence blusters and billows under false sails; too blind to see the hand of my own fears on the tiller, steering me in ways that i would not choose, if i were able to in that moment, how i have run away, first because i am so afraid to be hurt, and then, because i have nothing more to give, and still i wonder at the presence of bodies that won’t use my weaknesses as a place in which to plant their own insecurities, i think the word projection shapes a good image behind the eye, how we tend to pick up the stones that look familiar to us first, how we throw them when we really should put them in our own pocket, take them home, place them next to the tea pot and the plate of biscuits, to look at and to kiss until they do not weep anymore, until they are safe to leave about in the garden, or under a sycamore tree, but i am not God, or a relative of the angels, i am shaped from things, some of which i will not show you, no matter how much you insist on my trust, this is not how it works, and i am learning to be kinder, first to myself, things are what they are, and they demand to be known by their true names, and they insist that i know them, although i have wrapped them up in winter scarfs and woolly hats on summer days, just to hide their faces, or soften their toothless mouths for an instant, even so, one can only hope for grace, served warm in sturdy bowls shaped to fit a hand, made to be given away. oh, i wish you could see with your youngest eyes how much of enough you are, how much you are a life pressed-down, and spilling over with everything beautiful inside of you. listen, you do not have to shape yourself into the expectations of others. there is not enough time left to be unfriendly to yourself. time is not yours. are you listening to the sound of your life walking home?

{a word-string of small stories and battle songs and cautions and at least a few hundred prayers hidden behind the walls}

© Liezel Graham 2023

{images of the recent crocus beauty in the graveyard at Rhu, Scotland. one of my favourite places, where most of the graves are very old and the peace is as thick as honey}

so many words, and little prayers, and cautions, and a tiny wisdom or two, hidden here, and perhaps there will be something for you to pick up and take home with you.

may your day be filled with kindnesses and blessing,


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