Where are you as you read this? Sometimes I forget you’re there.
Three walls of glass surround me, to my left a flat blue grey milk
stretches out above the Northern fields. In front, to the East,
sunrise turns the milk Peach & Cream. To my right, it’s already
daylight & serious, needs to get a sense of humour – a towering
backdrop looms above the trees to the South. I slept like an ancient
leviathan last night, deep in a crack at the bottom of the ocean.
Dreamed a throat as sore as bracken. Woke up with a sore throat,
run down with flu knocking on the back door.
Riding the steely twins West into Emerald City, bag packed, hotel
booked, a pocket full of memory sticks to show & tell the world
what artistry & madness has been scratching out here in the fields
through Summer – trains already disrupted by a microbe on the line.
I’LL TAKE THAT AS A ‘WIN’:
I was too busy, too fast, to enjoy the sun rising low & gold
over the fields sending thick shadows running from it’s pink
& copper light. The fingers danced across the keys, too focused
on another & another thing to stop & eat. Kettle on a loop,
eventually clutching mug in the sun, telephone strapped to
an ear. The customary two hours of worry, lay awake before
the 06:00 alarm leaves me rinsed, nothing left, at the other end
of the day. But today, between the race to get the next thing
& the next thing finished, I had a miniature breakthrough
& tasted success. We don’t measure ‘hits’ ’round here in chart
positions, but if we did today’s entry would be top 5.
It’s the little things now that are massive, the grams not
the megga-grams, the ounces not the tons. So I danced a dance of
happy feet & made a face smile temporarily. Downed tools,
flicking through channels as I drove through the fields to the
shed of dreams. No rush, no stress, window down for a full face
of warm Autumn wind. It takes a light foot on the pedal to go
where I’ve been.
LAST TEABAG BEFORE THE SUN:
Essex rubs it’s eye’s, dazed beneath a sky of grey milk.
The dirt looks great, ploughed, raked & groomed to perfection.
Hedgerows hold their ground, but leaves are on the turn & falling.
The Walnut tree is still shedding nuts long after I saw none left
& the big apple tree clings to more than half it’s crop.
I’m back at the coalface, tapping on these keys. Trying to finish
a book before the end of October. November is an unknown, though
already it’s got plans & this surreal film my family is living
in continues to roll. It’s like a motorcycle engine that was
running rough, now it’s in pieces on the kitchen table being
cleaned before re-assembling. It’s scattered around the kitchen
getting care & close attention, ready to put together as something
better than the thing it was.
YOU’RE LATE AGAIN MR. STICKY KEYBOARD:
Sun came up, it was good. Day got better over shared breakfast,
listening. Later, phone calls & typing, typing, typing re-writes
on the book & phone calls. Visitors, tea & conversation, then
typing, typing, typing. Later, it got dark. We drove north to
see a band. It was good.
THE NEXT RIGHT THING:
Going to bed early. Drained, another day of emotional conflict.
When someone you have loved & protected all their life turns on
you, despises you for looking after them & keeping them safe
from all harm you have no choice but to keep on loving them.
IN THE ROAD:
It was a Sunday, woke up at 4:00am with a head full of worry.
Went to sleep on a sofa & found silence. Woke in bright sunlight,
showered & did an hour on the book before driving between the
fields. Laughed. You said I looked happy, the hi-point of the
day was seeing you happy too. We drove until a marching band
pulled out in front of us, horns honking, drums in rhythm.
It took me back to when I was 10, marching with the Red Cross
behind the fire engine at the head of the carnival. Man, it was
so cool to be walking in the middle of the road.
FOLLOWING THE SIGNS:
Picked the last plums from the tree outside the kitchen,
concealed & protected in a cocoon of Autumn leaves.
The walnut tree delivers an endless supply of nuts & this
years apple crop is the biggest for a long time. Rose hips explode
in oranges & red from hedgerows & every weekend we harvest bags
full of Blackberries. What kind of a Winter is coming?