Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Love and fun and paradise

I had the most wonderful Christmas Day at Zoë's house with her and Brian and my grandsons. There were a lot of laughs and much cavorting  and it pains me that now the boys are teenagers I can't show you what they look like and I am not even free to describe them or tell you what we did. I understand and accept it completely, but they are a part of my life, and I talk about most other parts of my life (don't I?) so it's hard.

I will say that it was two years since I spent a reasonable amount of time with them, because I have not been inside their house since the arrival of Covid, and when I have met up with Zoë outside, the boys have usually been out or in bed. 

This has made me worry that I was no longer relevant or a part of their lives, but the hug that one of them gave me on arrival was as warm and heartfelt as the one I received from the girls in Colorado last month. I was moved at the time, and it moves me now, as I tell you.

The girls greeting me at Denver airport

I came home on Boxing Day, and Dave is so anxious that I have brought Covid home that I am keeping my distance and wearing a mask until the weekend. 

It was worth it. Don't tell Dave but it would still be worth it if the 'isolation' was for a fortnight.

My life for the last two years has felt impoverished by a dearth of adventure and variety and fun and hugs, with only occasional oases.  I was brought up on hugs and I need them now, which is why I drew that picture last year.

The other thing I want to share is a link to a moving piece in the Guardian: The best photographs of 2021 and the stories behind them.

It is not just about the photographs themselves but the picture they paint of our world in 2021 made up of personal experiences from around the globe - the  humanity.

I just read Simon Parke's blog post in which he says his word for the coming year is courage.

I'm wondering what mine is. 

Is it grit? 


I think it has to be Love.

And also the message in Roger Robinson's poem:

A Portable Paradise

And if I speak of Paradise,
then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily,
get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,
hostel or hovel – find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.

Roger Robinson

© Roger Robinson, from A Portable Paradise, 2019. Used by permission of Peepal Tree Press.

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