Gritstone to Loutro and the middlings...

Strange Edge
Strange Edge

Since the last blog post I can report that simmer time is officially here. But how hard is to go from a fast boil to just a little sizzle?

Hard. My first two weeks of simmering allowed for long forgotten walks in the Peak District. That tenacious landscape thrilled and ignited my cells to come out of hiding, infusing themselves with heather-laden air. A re-grounding and re-wilding of internal affairs, catching the last blast of purple ling. Remembering the 'oh this is me' me. Simultaneously, the anticipation of walking a new edge was building with my masters course due to begin, knocking at my heart like Autumn hues. Step after step after step.

It was feet atop flagstones and gritstone. My hand barely held a pen unless it had to.

Endings. Middlings. Beginnings. Middlings. In that order. Loss is a big middling. And on the 7 month anniversary of Dad's grand departure I arrived in Bristol for the unknown unknown. A teenage dream finally realised. Bittersweet. 'They' say that grief gets easier. When? It's not getting any easier. And I would like to politely add 'f**k the cliches'. If I was previously inhabiting the ghostly space of liminal fug I'm not quite sure where I'm at right now. It feels like sticky cobwebs, a crippling slow ache, toffee fog and an unhealed scab. It feels like Dadly visitations in sleep time that keep me awake all night. It's like 'OK Dad, time to come home now, you've been in the Punjab long enough'.

Except he's not. Dad is really not coming home. That complete and utter disappearance of Dad is repeatedly shattering. Repeatedly. Shattering.

I feel like an intergalactic traveller flying amidst a weird and wonderful nebula of loss, enchantment, wonder, hope, laughter, tears. Death sharpens like nothing else. It is a rude awakening and a rude unforgetting. A wild alivening. Some days I don't feel big enough to hold all of these opposites. But they are not opposites. They're just shades. Shades of being. The contradictions that we all juggle.

If Dad hadn't passed away 7 months ago, I wouldn't have been sat in a room with 7 other powerful word-warriors that day in Bristol. Nor would I have been invited in to a hot-tub later, an invitation I chose to decline (another story). Death sharpened me. Dad gifted me an edge that I never had before. I have no idea where it'll lead. Thank you Dad. Then I think of gritstone and edges and middlings, of being a tiny being perched on Dad's hip looking over the 'pani' (water) at Redmires..

The day after my body remembers it's absolutely exhausted, I struggle to walk far and somehow a virus has snuck in to my ribs (says the osteopath). Or maybe my heart has got so overwhelmed by all of those juxtapositions that it's pushing my ribs out. Getting a rib virus (a what?!!) is a strangeness I'd rather not repeat. Simmer Dal, simmer. If you won't turn the heat down yourself then we'll do it for you. But just one more thing to do...get on that airplane.

Here I am now. Sleepless in Loutro, fragments of dreams lurking, tea cooling, darkness lightening, ribs aching. Pinching myself that I'm actually here. Everything is S L O W in Loutro. Except me, for now. The only thing to do here is to embrace the simmering.

And as folks slowly waken to the day, the waning moon still hanging amidst altocumulus, the sky suffused with sunrise and a distant boat bringing in the dawn catch ~ I will go back to sleep and see where it takes me this morning.