The best laid plans of mice and men…

Six children sitting around my kitchen table colouring in. How did this happen?

Six children, busy and happy.

Six children, busy and happy.

I’m on a break from full-time work.I haven’t written anything for weeks. I have hundreds of unread emails.  My friends are being neglected. There’s gardening to be done, boxes to be sorted and emptied, an entire house waiting to be painted, my “to do”  list is endless… and six children colouring in. Yes, I’m babysitting one of them, but six! In my living room? How did this happen?

The day began with no commitments. Hours stretched before me, waiting to be filled. My co-houser would be away for several hours. Space.  Solitude. Quiet.  I could sit, I could write, I could ponder and dream, let my thoughts meander.

Knock on the door:

Could I babysit for a couple of hours?

Of course, after all one of my priorities is creating community, building networks and providing support. I am committed to putting the ideal into practice. As my father would say “putting my money where my mouth is.” I’m good at the mouth bit. So, babysit? One child? Couple of hours? Sure. No problem.

However, it is school holidays and there are other children who live close. One child became three, became four… five… six. A mention of colouring in to the youngest and soon all six had joined in. I mentioned find-a words, mental arithmetic exercises, spelling … as long as I provided sheets, they would  do them.

These children wanted school! They were bored, they had nothing to do,their mothers were either at work, or recovering from late shifts. This little gang were wandering around the street, looking for entertainment or something to occupy them and an adult to supervise. I sympathise and remember my own childhood with much gratitude.

I grew up in a village. Our house was on a hill sloping steeply down to a river. Other houses were scattered between paddocks. I climbed trees, built cubbies, fished in one of the creeks and wandered about. There was a house with space under it’s verandah post where we left pieces of moss and flowers for the fairies. And I read books, any book I could lay my hands on. I had a favourite spot in the pepper tree where I could lie back and read- soft breeze, birds, the smell of the pepper tree and endless time. Adults were not part of it. No one supervised us. We never complained of being bored.

184There were jobs. I had younger brothers and a sister to keep an eye on; there was  washing up and clothes to be hung out and brought in, chooks, ducks and geese to be fed, sometimes a cow and a calf,  but in my memory it’s one long sunny day that went on forever.

These children in my street have nothing like I had. There are paddocks to roam in and trees they can climb, but they aren’t  accessible. Most are in someone’s backyard and children aren’t welcome. Ride your bike up and down? Gets boring after a while. Read a book???  Reading is becoming a lost art and the little one can’t read.

I send my co-houser to the shops as soon as she drives in – bread rolls and sausages, let’s feed the mob.

My neighbour returns home and I feed her. The children leave, reluctantly and slowly. I feel torn. I would like to continue to entertain them, but I don’t have endless time to give them. We’ve gardened earlier, searched for grubs and I have things I must do.

kindnessThe day ends. I haven’t crossed much off my list. I had no time to sit and dream but I have given. I have chosen to give my time, my attention and my compassion.  Perhaps this counts for more than time for myself. Perhaps I am learning about priorities of lasting value. And perhaps this is an opportunity to practise acceptance, acceptance of what is.

 

 

The Great co-housing adventure continues.

Boxes and furniture put wherever they would fit.

Boxes and furniture put wherever they would fit.

The front porch after the removalists left.

The front porch after the removalists left.

Perhaps there’s a reason why  Wendell Berry’s statement “Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire” caught my eye this morning.

But I would never be relieved to see my house catch fire and while I know we have too much we are looking forward to sorting and simplifying.

I want to show you our home as it is today, after the removalists have brought everything, right at the beginning. I want you to share this adventure of co-housing and community with us, the creating of the home, the evolving garden, our own journeys, the shared journey, the challenges we face, the successes, the life – our own, the house, the garden, the community, this valley and neighbourhood.

When you see these photos it might cross your mind that there’s quite a lot… and I’d agree, but there are mitigating circumstances. And here’s the background.

I am more able to understand nowadays the devastating effect chronic insomnia, illness and continual exhaustion have had on my life. The more I understand the more  accepting and compassionate toward myself I am. As I become less tired and have fewer external demands I’m experiencing the contrast between a life chronically exhausted and a life less so.

No wonder I have spent years reading mainly escapist literature. No wonder I have started so many wonderful books only to put them down because I couldn’t concentrate. No wonder I have such a long list of things I want to do when…

There are flowers by the door- not all is chaos.

There are flowers by the door- not all is chaos.

I have just spent my longest period ever in a full-time permanent job.  This was interrupted by severe and long illnesses, but…with a secure wage I experienced the joy of buying a spacious light-filled house –  three bedrooms, two bathrooms. And then I enjoyed filling it up- such pleasure in having enough linen for guests, buying  quality saucepans, a dinner set, crystal glasses, furniture that wasn’t just cast-offs and the indulgence of books and books and books (and yes, clothes and more clothes).  I remember feeling I was a proper adult when I bought myself a new and beautiful fridge…and then a washing machine. I could look after myself, I could be independent, strong and capable. So empowering. But illness, Chronic Fatigue and exhaustion meant that I couldn’t keep up with the sorting and clearing out and throwing away…it’s all come with me.

Angela, my co-houser, moved to the UK eight years ago, for a planned long-term stay. Her possessions- furniture, linen, books, kitchen…all went into long-term storage. The move didn’t work out. Angie arrived back in Australia- heartbroken, homeless, jobless, broke…but not friendless.

This is Angela's bedroom. Wait until it's painted and organized!

This is Angela’s bedroom. Wait until it’s painted and organized!

When she found work her choice was to house-sit, furniture and possessions staying in storage. A move into a small unit meant there was no space to retrieve her belongings. After several years, my dominoes all fell perfectly and we bought this house. I moved… and all my stuff. Angela remained living and working in the city, but  was finally able to move her long-term stored things to this house. (Imagine her delight in seeing much cherished possessions again! ) We stacked everything somewhere- we are talking two households here and neither were minimalist. And this house has no garage or external storage space.

At last Angela has reached the moment when she can leave her current work, uproot herself from the city and move to her home in this small, beautiful, rural valley. Today, the unit has has been packed up and all the contents are now here, Angie is yet to arrive. As Max says “Let the show begin!”

Share our adventure!

One of my kookaburras yesterday.

One of my kookaburras yesterday.

(And I thought this post was going to be all photos! Silly me.)

The Great co-housing adventure begins!

images[6](Or, as Max says in “Where the Wild Things Are”, “Let the show begin!”)

Well, it’s almost begun. Angie, my co-houser hasn’t arrived yet, but all her things are here. (Well, except the clothes and things she needs for the next few weeks.)

Life is an adventure!Here’s some of the background to this adventure.

Angie and I have been friends for forty years. More than friends, she’s part of my family. We have cared for each other, slept on the floor at each other’s homes when we’ve been homeless. She’s the person I have phoned in the middle of the night, after I have phoned for an ambulance. Over the years we have  guarded each other’s back, when trouble was stalking.

We’re often single. Careers and security have not been our primary aims. So we haven’t reached middle age, financially secure and affluent. ( Most of the time we realise how  very secure and how richly abundant we are in so many other ways.) For many reasons we have chosen to buy a home together.

There are so many reasons. I am passionate about the necessity to create community and build a safe and loving space where we can belong and have that absolute sense of trust. I love the Wendell Berry poem which says “home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”

to give my presence, my aim

to give my presence, my aim

I want home to be that place of unconditional love, total trust and safety…the place where I know I can be completely vulnerable… and I’m not thinking only of these four walls here and of Angie and myself. I am committed to building a larger community and helping to create such a space for others.

With Angie here, I can relax. There’s someone else to share all the jobs.  There’s someone who loves  and supports me through thick and thin. There’s someone who will give me space and silence and solitude whenever I need it. There’s someone to provide that rare and special feedback that will enable us each to grow and blunt our sharp edges, to point out when we  have been less than the best we can be.  There’s someone to laugh and play with, to have fun. So much, so much to be so very grateful for.

The garden will be started- finally! The house will be painted. (I HATE THE COLOURS!) Together we will practise living frugally and sustainably and we’ll be better at it, because we’ll  have each other to prop up our resolve when we fall into lust and wanting. (We both love things- books, paintings, beautiful objects… and I adore clothes. I fall into lust and wanting very easily.) We have more than enough.

(And you thought this was going to be easy, Angela!)

Life in the moment!

Life in the moment!

I said to Ange the other day: “Thank God you will finally be here!!! We can paint and garden and start a market stall and go to the gym regularly and get fit and have picnics at the beach and invite people for meals and sort out boxes of stuff and get started on that photographic project and you can begin building and making and maybe we’ll have some hens and we’ll sit about and read and have a glass of wine together and cups of tea and…(I stopped for a breath)”.

Angie: “I’ve been looking forward to resting and doing nothing much for a while!”

(Silly girl!)

I could call this climate change or global warming, but it’s too bloody hot!

Ah! cool.

Ah! cool.

Hot. Hot and more hot. It’s only November, although it was only September last year when we had a heatwave and an out of control bushfire raging a few kilometres away. So this year it’s a bit later. Something to be grateful for.

It’s been so hot for days. Can’t sleep, too exhausted to do anything. I’d drive to the beach but I might fall asleep at the wheel.

A local beach.

A local beach.

Yesterday at half past five in the evening it was thirty-seven degrees, that’s almost ninety-nine Fahrenheit; on Friday, in the morning, it was forty-four, that’s one hundred and eleven Fahrenheit. Friday I had an appointment at Forster, a local beachside town and went swimming. The ocean was rough so I bobbled about in the beach pool. Cool, cool, clear water- absolute bliss. I could go today…

No lush garden here yet.

No lush garden here yet.

I’m so glad the garden has been delayed. I’d be frantic if we had created our garden beds and done intensive planting. At least I don’t have too many plants to worry about. A friend who has been gardening here for eleven years says the sun is now much hotter and plans to cover all her vegetable garden beds with netting to provide some shade and protection from the heat. Seems ludicrous. We used to aim to get the most sun exposure possible and now we look for some protection for our plants. What will it be like in a few years? Experts agree it’s only going to get hotter.

We would like to have some tanks here. Australia is one of the driest continents (is it the driest?), and our rainfall is less and more scattered. The locals tell me we would need large tanks if they were to be of any use and we lack space. It’s too expensive to put them underground. Strange to think that water may become the commodity wars are fought over.

Last year's flood. We are a "land of droughts and flooding rains."

Last year’s flood. We are a “land of droughts and flooding rains.”

Living in the country I have become much more aware of weather. In the city I would notice if it was very hot or cold. Rain could be a nuisance, but I was less aware of the absence of rain. There’s not so much land around and any parks or gardens can be kept watered. Strong winds can be obvious but even their impact is broken by so many buildings.

Here it’s right in my face. Sometimes I think my body is attuned to the weather. I react emotionally to extremes. Too much hot weather and I turn nasty. Days of strong westerlies and I want to lock myself away in a cupboard. I grieve for the coolness and the refreshing of rain through the dry and the drought. I grieve for the land and the animals. Driving around here through the dry times, and it’s mostly been dry, I sit by the road , near the cattle and I mourn. I mourn for what we have done. I mourn for the future. I mourn for our earth.

And I long for rain. I long for cool. I long for summer storms and cool spring seasons, for autumn crispness.

if only.

if only.

Locals tell me that even with good rain the land no longer recovers. It might recover to about 80%; but then there’s another drought and another and another. Each time the land recovers to some extent but never completely, so over time  the land has become drier and less resilient, it’s more difficult to grow the food and the pastures.

Karl, who lives up the road a way, tells me that his creek hasn’t run fully for over twenty years and I know that the river I grew up beside is much shallower. In some places where it once flowed fully there are banks and it slows to a trickle. Great swimming holes, but not the wide, free-flowing river it once was.

I listened to an interview with Jackie French, a notable author and conservationist. Her latest book “Let the Land Speak” explores the idea that Australia has been shaped by the land itself, rather than by events. I listened as I drove and I found myself in tears as many callers spoke about their intense love for where they had lived or had grown up.

Part of my valley.

Part of my valley.

I know that I needed to return to this particular area to be near the country of my heart so this piece of the earth could heal the heartbreaks and the wounds of a life.

I will cherish it and care for it all the days of my life and I will fight for it while I have breath.

The kindness of strangers and my undying gratitude.

We had big storms here last week and the State Emergency Services have been endlessly busy.

The SES big truck was called to my house once. It was my very first returning- to- work half- day after long months of absence with CFS. A big day.

Bear the cat, at home and comfy.

Maybe Bear isn’t looking all that chastened.

I drove into my carport and could hear a cat in distress. Bear had jumped onto the hot water tank in the corner, miscalculated and fallen head first down the small space between the tank and the wall. Too small for him to right himself, there he was, wedged head first, back legs in the air, crying. I could just reach him but not well enough to get a hold. I started crying…and panicking.

Help!

Help!

What does a woman do in such a moment but call 000? Yes, I was assured, someone would help. In the meantime I phoned back, sobbing, to my workplace. Long ago I had taught  two of the women who worked in the front office. I have presumed a lot on this association. One of them answered and was her usual commonsensical self. She would phone the father of one of our school families who lived in my small hamlet. ( This was neither the first nor the last time that this wonderful group of women would care for my sobbing self.)

The father was contacted, arrived with his family, then with that brisk practical sense of country people he set about undoing the tank, emptying the hot water and  freeing one distraught and muddy cat. His very sweet wife dealt with one  extremely distressed and grateful woman while the children offered pats on the back and sympathy. (I have quite a special relationship with those children now.)

Emergency services to the rescue!

Emergency services to the rescue!

It was then the Emergency Services pulled up, a big truck with all the bells and whistles,  to find one sobbing woman, a chastened, and dishevelled cat, a hot water service being re-assembled and the family of my rescuer standing about making kind noises. These busy people were understanding about a wasted trip and my small hamlet enjoyed the spectacle.

Bear the cat insisted on several lottery tickets being given to his rescuer (I don’t think he even liked cats!) and he continued to send him Christmas cards. Nowadays I have a special bond with his wife and children. The time Bear was caught behind the water tank became a favourite story in their classes. Children enjoy seeing their teachers displaying less than their usual competence. It makes us more human.

Once again I was offered the opportunity to accept generosity and kindness with humility and great gratitude. These people expected nothing back and were happy to help.

I’m a slow learner. I keep learning the same lesson- that I can ask for help. A mentor once told me to reach out- isn’t that asking for help? I look back and can see so many times when I didn’t know I could even ask. What a difference there could have been!

And it’s a memory in my collection of stories when I have been cared for, unexpectedly. The stories I take out when the world seems a little bleak . The stories I keep in my gratitude book.  A large collection and a large book.

What are your stories? What are you grateful for? Can you ask for help?

Garden Diary

Yet again, I’m forced to acknowledge that I can’t do everything. Does this mean that yet again I need to let go some things I want to do?

One of my highest priorities is to live simply and sustainably. This includes having a beautiful and productive garden. Gardening is always one of my highest priorities. It grounds and renews me and brings me quiet joy.

a sad plant

a sad plant

A move to a new home and environment? Start the garden! But here I am, more than a year later and the garden is almost untouched . The weeds are still there, old plants cry out for pruning, there’s lots of potting to do, plants I bought last week are languishing, unplanted. And there’s a whole new garden to develop.

Whenever I’m outside I end up feeling disheartened, overwhelmed and frustrated.

What can I do?  I can judge myself, become highly critical and end up with no gardening done feeling thoroughly miserable. Or, I can choose to practise self-acceptance and self-compassion with no judgement.  To do this I must first accept that I cannot do the impossible; to start this garden from where it is now, is just too big a task for me. So I stop thinking I will.

So here’s what I shall do: I have settled on a plan, after much deliberation; we shall create no-dig gardens, or lasagne gardening; growing on top of the ground by building up layers. This soil is too hard and too degraded to attempt to dig. And to begin with, we shall have beds where there is now lawn, leaving some lawn around each bed.

the beginnings at Tarbuck

the beginnings at Tarbuck

 

I can’t do this. I don’t even make an attempt. It’s too big for me, even if I practise doing it “a bucket at a time. ”

So this week I shall find a gardener who will plant fruit trees and set up the garden beds. I have two sources to go to for information. I’ll ask my same sources if they know where I can buy old railway sleepers for my garden edges. If I can’t get any, then I shall order  treated pine. I will talk to the garden suppliers to decide if I will order garden soil and compost at the same time. That will depend on whether I can begin to move it myself, slowly, “a bucket at a time”,  to build up the beds. I need the beds started to get me over the first hurdle. Once the beds are in place and some initial layering is done, I’m going to try hay bale gardening. That way, I can start growing some vegetables before the beds are set up fully- I do know that it will take me time to set

a new bed

a new bed

them up. And as the bales break down they will become part of the process.

You see, this will be my second spring here and still I won’t have sweet peas, poppies, cornflowers, delphiniums, forget-me-nots, lupins, irises, daffodils, jonquils, anemones and all the other joys of a spring garden.  For a second year we may not have the pleasure and sheer delight of extravagantly beautiful, fragrant roses; fruit trees take several years to bear fruit. I want to go out to my garden and pick that night’s dinner. For too many years I have not had the things I consider to be essential  I don’t have  years to wait. Housman talked of having only fifty years left to see the cherry hung with snow. I sure don’t have fifty years.

bluebells in Spring at Tarbuck

bluebells in Spring at Tarbuck

What have I learnt? To accept, yet again, that I am not superwoman and I can’t do everything. That I am prone to self-judgement and am still learning to be kind to myself. That I remain a work in progress. That, surprise, surprise, I’m still not perfect.

More prosaically, I realize that I have needed to live here for a time before I could clarify what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.  And that plans take time to develop. Patience! There will be enough time! If I live each moment fully, that moment will be enough. When the flowers are blooming, Kathryn, remember to appreciate them. Drink in their beauty, share them, fill your house with them. And always, keep your hands in the earth. It’s the Amish who say that we are closest to God when we have our hands in the soil.

a Spring bouquet

a Spring bouquet

Set for Solstice

Writing 101. Daily Prompt.

Set for Solstice.Today’s summer solstice, the longest day of the year…How are you taking advantage of the extra hours of light at this time of year?

Well, here in Australia it’s the winter solstice and because of the time difference it was actually yesterday. So while you may choose to write about sunshine and long days and watermelon and going to the beach, I shall write about sitting by the fire, and mulled wine and books and slow cooked casseroles…

We have pretty skies

We have pretty skies

But no, I won’t write about such things because I’m sitting on my front porch, wearing a short sleeved tee-shirt and the cat’s asleep in the sun. It’s a warm, sunny day with yet another pretty skyscape; people are walking their dogs and a family just went by on their way to the park. There are still tomatoes ripening on the bush- it’s supposed to be winter! Does this mean the cold will come later? Even though it doesn’t feel like midwinter, yesterday was our shortest day, with only nine hours of sunlight.

Around both winter and summer solstices I find myself wishing for traditions and rituals to mark the turnings of the year. I’ve grown up with a British sensibility; my ancestors who first settled here were  from Britain. At school I studied British and European history and read mostly British literature. I’m a transplant. So I want to celebrate Beltane in May, have bonfires for Midsummer and a Yule log at Christmas.

We haven’t worked out how to replace these old traditions. There are still Christmas cards with snow, robin redbreasts, holly, Santa Claus and reindeers. The attempt to put Santa on a surfboard or replace his reindeer with kangaroos doesn’t seem to work. But we still have traditional Christmas dinners even though it may be a heatwave.

The question of how to create meaningful rituals and celebrations is something I ponder. Here in this new home which I share with a friend we will attempt to create moments of community for the times that matter. Perhaps those moments will include telling stories of special times and sharing our memories. After all, much of our history has come through the stories we have shared.

Five minutes from my house- black and white cows!

Five minutes from my house- black and white cows!

My favourite winter memory is  from my early childhood. I would have been, maybe four, and we were living with my grandparents on their farm. I would jump out of bed early and run across to my uncle,who was doing the morning milking. Barefoot, I used to dance across the grass, sparkling with frost still on it, my breath misting out. The dairy was filled with the big, black and white cows, swishing their tails as they waited to be milked. I would put my finger under the milk coming down the separator and lick it- warm and sweet, straight from the cow. The clang of the buckets, the sound of the machines, the stamping of the cows, the smells of the dairy…I wasn’t cold, I was filled with the joy of the fullness of the morning.

It was a moment when “God’s in His Heaven, all’s right with the world.”

This memory will be my Winter Solstice celebration for this year.

Country Life.

Some of my loot!

Some of my loot!

I’ve just arrived home from our monthly farmers’ market. It’s a lot of fun, although I always buy much more than one human being could possibly eat. There’s so many yummy fresh vegetables and fruit, home-made jams and pickles, organic meat, seedlings and much more all begging me to take them home and grow them.  Chooks and ducks, rabbits… once I was offered a belted Galway calf (oh, the temptation!). For a person who yearns for the large, productive, rambling and beautiful garden, for the paddock with an alpaca or two, a donkey or two, maybe a pretty cow, a dovecote, chooks, ducks, a dam, a creek with a stony bed and maybe platypuses, deciduous trees, an orchard every aromatic herb ever…it’s an endless source of temptation! You get the picture?

(The reality is a yard that is too small for even one alpaca or donkey or cow; there is no dam or creek; the garden is still in the planning stages; maybe there will be chooks; maybe we’ll get a paddock.)

But there’s still the monthly market. I’ve been living here just over a year and so I’m familiar with most of the stallholders. There are the wonderful women from landcare who run the community stall- when I have an excess of produce I will sell it there. I go into the local Landcare office with all my questions and they provide advice with endless patience.

John's Japanese pumpkin. Isn't it beautiful?

John’s Japanese pumpkin. Isn’t it beautiful?

Then there’s John from Chichester- probably three hours away. He’s a large genial man, dressed in King Gee overalls with a broad grin. He gives me practical advice on saving seeds, on how to grow everything.  He’s a country man of several generations so his advice is grounded in what has worked. His produce, like all the others, is picked that morning and will last for weeks. Goes without saying that everything is delicious.

This week I meet a young couple who are pickling the vegetables they grow. They also have some ketchup, some harissa paste, some fermenting- all from their own garden and all organic. They ooze their dedication and love of what they’re doing. I make a note to remember the ketchup for Christmas presents. They also have Jerusalem artichokes and guavas. I have to buy them because my grandmother grew them. As I eat them it will be a chance to remember her.

Jerusalem artichokes and guavas, in memory of my grandmother.

Jerusalem artichokes and guavas, in memory of my grandmother.

I don’t need fresh macadamia butter or oil from the couple with the macadamia business. The macadamia butter is probably addictive it’s so delicious. And, it’s good for you!

I buy some pecan nuts and make a note to myself: visit Uncle (about an hour away), to gather some pecans for myself. He has so many they fall to the ground, ungathered. Maybe I’ll meet my niece there  to talk about bees and bee-keeping. My uncle lives on my grandparents’ farm and my grandfather kept bees. My niece who is experimenting with dried honey products, wants to see her great-grandfather’s bee hives and talk about bees.

I’m glad to see the family with the local, organic oranges is back. It’s orange season and these are sweet and juicy. Almost as good as the ones were on my father’s orange trees.

I meet my neighbours and we have a coffee. I’ve talked  to everyone and had a wonderful time. Once again I relish the sense of well-being from that comes from the simplicity of life in the country. And I’m grateful.

Mornings

The cat’s purring on my lap and I’m sitting, hot cup of coffee in my hand, gazing out the window, my thoughts coming and going. The sun is warm through the windows , the sky is blue and I don’t have to be anywhere.

One of my morning sofa choices.

One of my morning sofa choices.

I do have a commitment with myself however  and that is to rapid write for at least twenty minutes every morning as soon as I wake up. Now I interpret the “as soon as I wake up” (which is the usual suggestion) to mean after I’ve managed to stagger out of bed and find a cup of coffee.

You see, I’m not much of  a morning person. In fact, I’m absolutely not a morning person. I’m in some sort of somnolent state when I get up and as long as I don’t have to do anything or go anywhere, this is fine. I like to sit, gaze into the distance and take my time. I can run into difficulties if there’s a morning person in my space- you know the sort. They wake up, full of energy, ready to take on the world. If I’m going to snap at someone that’s when it will happen. I try to make it clear to anyone who may be around me in the mornings that it’s best if they don’t speak to me and absolutely best if they don’t ask me things, like “What would you like to do today?” or “What are your plans?”

This morning, as is the normal pattern at the moment, it’s just the cat and me. A cat is the perfect companion for my mornings, being happy to sit and drowse with me.  I have one complaint. He can’t get up and make more coffee and toast and that’s when a morning person is useful -by this stage of wakefulness I would attempt and wheedle coffee and toast from them. After all, who am I to disturb a cat?  It’s a privilege to be chosen by a cat as a sleeping mat.

Part of the morning view.

Part of the morning view.

I cherish mornings such as this when I can wake gradually, write, gaze out the window and (when I’m ready) dislodge the cat and make my own coffee and toast. I revel in the pleasure of it and feel so very thankful. I don’t have to struggle out of bed, force myself into the shower, grab something to eat, find what I need for the day, get dressed and rush out the door (unless I’m on a morning work stint).

How wonderful to be able to start the day feeling grateful. It hasn’t always been like this, nor will it always remain so, but I shall cherish these moments of peace and slowness.