My house is waiting.
For the silence that descends. Like golden syrup, like the homemade quilted blanket heavy with blue flowers,
the silence of no other people.
For the mythical day when everything is either on a shelf, in a drawer, or nestled in a cupboard.
For the pears to ripen and fall, ripen and fall.
For the cat to complete his rotation of sleeping places: bed upstairs, bed downstairs, sofa, office chair, other office chair, bench in the kitchen, camouflaged against a black coat on the floor.
For someone to either read all of the books, or put all of the books in the goddam charity shop.
For the sun to warm the mossy patches outside the front door:
the ones the sun never reaches.
For two children watching a red moon in their pyjamas, shivering in the dark.
a fallen leaf,
the hand of a child in mine,
real butter on real bread.
A hot shower,
the feeling of cleanliness,
a crisp, dry towel.
The warmth of a fire after a walk in the wind and rain,
A conversation that winds around us,
a perfect idea
discovered at its heart.
The clarity and space of a day of fasting;
the joy of a day of eating.
and the written word.
Stories and sounds that enter into your soul and reside.
Being able to see the stars.
A harvest moon.
Clean, safe water in every tap in the house.
A door that closes and locks,
but also opens readily
for a welcome.
Friends that are nearby,
friends far away,
family right here,
family over the phone.
Deep, peaceful, healing sleep.
Today I have been thinking about…voting.
Last week we all got dragged out to vote.
There are two halves to my village, but tensions between the communities are rare: those who have lived here for a long time, and those who moved here recently, get along mostly fine.
The sun shone all day. People crossed the bridge over the Tyne-river, safely, to cast their votes.
Our polling station is an ex-Temperance Hall, a piece of our narrow-minded history, now used for toddlers, lunch club. The kids came with me: I know they are safe here, their Eastern European heritage doesn’t matter, isn’t noticed.
They wanted to remain in the polling station – to see how other people voted – but we had to leave. ‘We need to go now. People want space, and peace to vote,’ I said. ‘Let’s go.’
Cigarettes and Stars
When I’m smoking in the garden, I often look at the night sky. I draw on my cigarette and I gaze at the stars.
Smoking and stargazing give me so much pleasure, separately or together. The stars seem small, but of course, they’re not. The cigarette is relaxing and the stars make me dwell for a few minutes on their eternal beauty.
In those few moments, the ordinariness of life is suspended and I am left with thoughts of the distant past and the distant future. It’s a comforting, spiritual feeling.
I’d like to know more about the life of stars: how, where and when to find them, without becoming an astronomer, but I don’t suppose I ever will.
So I will content myself in the night garden with a cigarette and the wonder of it all.