Somebody said to me this week, ‘you’re too quiet’.
I haven’t known what to say.
Afraid that if I do, start saying, I might revert to default: tediously Minding Gaps.
Somebody else said to me this week, ‘oh for God’s Sake, let go woman!’
But I have. Let go.
That’s the easier, not to say easy, and inevitable bit.
It’s the ratting-around-void that’s hard.
For so long children have dictated and directed my day that in their absence it is difficult not to flail, not to wonder what to do next.
So I find shape to long hours in the tiniest things. I rescue a startling turquoise – and startled – kingfisher from the pool which he mistook for a tropical swamp such is its pea-greeness. He was cold and shivered and gasped so that I worried he might die. I fished him out and lay him in the sun to warm and locked that cats up so that he was safe from lurking predators.
And an hour later he was gone. Flown. I rejoiced.
Yesterday I watched him swoop into the same swampy depths. He was more careful this time.
I found a hedgehog one morning, valiantly swimming in circles, tiny feet paddling to keep him afloat. I fished him out too, and he curled instantly into a tight ball until he thought I wasn’t looking and then he scuttled – Mrs Tiggywinkle like – beneath sunbaked stones to slumber.
And then blessedly the rain came down and washed the spiders out of the flamboyant (and into the peagreen pool so that I fished them out as well, but too late for they were stiff and upside down) and rinsed the world clean so that the flamboyant blossom was ruby red again and bled damply onto the lawn, so that the leaves were glossy green.
And everything was brighter.
Retired and Crazy wants to know what a Sallyworm is. I built my first with an old friend when I was younger than my youngest is now – and boarding school incarcerated. Sally is maniupulated to give context to time, let you think you can manage it, which is very important when it stretches overwhelmingly and loosely in front of you. Sally’s made of segments, each accounts for a single day. You can cruelly rip her segments off at bedtime or – more gently – strike a line through the relevant day’s circle. I have not constructed one for some time; the last I counted days down on was the one Hat drew for me, in my 09 diary, when she went away to England 3 weeks ahead of me.
I think I might make one now. Give some structure to my day.
Some definition to my weeks.