Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Pond

Last Friday morning on the walk across a neighbouring common – not my usual patch of green and one that is not so familiar - to my current temporary job I had such an urge to blog. For the first time for a long while I really wanted to post something.

I had just made a discovery – a pond that I didn’t know existed, whose waters reflected the surrounding trees and the blue summer sky overhead. Partly hidden and bordered by reeds, tranquil in spite of its proximity to the main railway line between London and the south and the periodic rattle and clatter of passing commuter trains, the serene, early-morning beauty of the scene penetrated the cocoon of gloom which had enveloped me for weeks.

No-one else was around. I stopped and soaked up the perfection. A handful of waterfowl on the far side of the pond started to swim slowly towards me anticipating food. Without thinking I reached for my digital camera to take some photographs. And then I remembered that I had stopped taking my camera wherever I went. Why bother, I had said to myself. What was the point?

The last month has been fine as far as practicalities are concerned. The timetable for the move is on course – give or take a week or two. The flat has been tarted up. A work colleague has suggested an (allegedly) very good and cheap removal firm. I have discovered a couple of areas in my new home town where I can see myself living. With friends I’ve also taken in an art exhibition or two, eaten pizza and been to the cinema (Lady in the Water – I liked it).

But emotionally it has been hard. I have been obsessing about money and whether there will be enough in the future. The tasks that lie ahead over the coming months have felt overwhelming. And I have been on the receiving end of a rejection that has felt like a punch to the heart.

The muddle, dirt and mess generated by the builder during the week he was working in my home found a parallel in the chaos of my emotions. Unsurprisingly perhaps, depression came to visit.

Thank God for my friends. I have good ones, both online and in the real world. Some of them have picked me up like Humpty Dumpty and – unlike the King’s Men - have had a pretty good go at putting me back together again. They have listened and understood. They let me cry and made me laugh. They shared their own experience and gave me a much-needed different perspective. If any of them are reading – and you know who you are – thank you. Thank you.

So what am I learning here? To let go of control. To trust the process. To be present. To reach out. To do the next right thing. That shit happens. That good things happen. That even the worst feelings won’t kill me. That everything passes. That compassion and understanding are paramount, but that boundaries matter too. That I have a right to my voice. That I can trust my intuition when I stop and take the time to listen to it. That I need to be honest with myself. That I am enough.

It is a slow and painstaking journey, this learning and unlearning (and I have a hunch that the latter is the more important of the two) with a good deal of faltering en route. And today the darkness is still present. But a glimmer of joy and purpose returned earlier this week – and I am so thankful for it - as in the morning sunshine I headed again towards the pond, this time with my camera.

I was looking forward to posting some photographs.

Once again, thank you so much to everyone who left such kind comments on my previous post or who has emailed me. It has meant a very great deal.

I owe replies to several people, including those who asked to be informed when I started blogging again. I will get to these but maybe not immediately, so please bear with me ......


Blogger Stray said...

{{ mary }}

What an intense time. I'm so glad you have friends to ease you through the darkness, point out emergency exits and remind you that, as I was lifted to hear you say - you are enough.

The photos are fab - especially on a grey and gloomy day like today that feels more October than August. It's good to be reminded on more than one level that the sun has shone recently and will do again.

Good luck with the unlearning - I think you are right that unpicking the old patterns is more challenging than picking up the new ones.

Take good care, xx

8:57 am  
Blogger Jean said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:29 am  
Blogger Jean said...

So delighed to see you back here! So much of what you say resonates with me, and that means so much.

(I missed a word out the first time)

10:31 am  
Blogger rdl said...

((Mary)) i was so pleased to see you starred on my blogroll. I'm sorry you've been having some rought times but I think you sound strong. Glad you went back for the camara. late for work here, just wanted to say Hi, i've missed you.

1:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, hugs and hope and endurance for you, dear.

I'll send an email later when I get home.

Zhoen @ work.

1:37 pm  
Anonymous beth said...

Mary, I'm so happy and relieved to see you here. Both this post and the photographs are very beautiful; I hope you've found what you need to carry on with optimism and confidence, and very sorry you've been having a rough time.

3:18 pm  
Blogger Dale said...


What a delight to see you here again! Hugs, hugs, hugs. Life is so beautiful, even at the worst of times. And so damn hard, even at the best.


Bless you.

5:34 pm  
Blogger Brenda said...

{{{hugs}}} and {{{hugs}}} and {{{hugs}}} are the beauty of that pond, somehow, truly.

4:28 am  
Blogger MB said...

Mary! It's lovely to know that you actually felt inspired. I'm very happy to see you back here.

10:17 am  
Blogger LJ said...

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

1:10 pm  
Blogger Tamar said...

Great to read you again and I love the pictures. What a support group we all are, eh?

3:29 pm  
Blogger herhimnbryn said...

HallO M,
Glad (so glad) you are back.
Sorry that you have been visited by 'The Black Dog'. It seems that you have some true and supportive friends ( and the BD hates those!).

Bravo indeed.

11:38 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Thank you everyone. Very much.

5:49 pm  
Blogger leslee said...

Mary, so good to see you back and to hear that joy has re-entered your life. Transitions can be a very tough time, more than we in our intellectual minds think they should be.

12:23 am  
Blogger Mary said...

Leslee, thanks. Nice to see you here and I agree totally with your last sentence .....

10:44 pm  
Blogger Endment said...

Mary - How I wish I could have wise words that would bring you comfort!!!
There are times when our worlds turn up-side-down and we find ourselves having to walk (sometimes unwillingly) through the unknown. I can't say it will get better - the pain of rejection seems to linger and catch us in unexpected corners. I can tell you there will be more days when you find joy and perfection to soak in!

Glad you felt like blogging and that you shared so much with us!
Photos are remarkable.

1:37 pm  
Anonymous kate said...

. . . many hugs to you from across the sea . . . :)

3:04 pm  
Blogger Sonia said...

I am glad to see you back! To write is a manner of heal, I think. Love the photos, too!

4:08 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Endment: *I can tell you that there will be more days when you find joy and perfection to soak in*. Thank you. I'll carry those words with me.

I find it a balancing act too to know how much or how little to reveal on the blog ... I wondered if this post was too much, but the kindness of everyone's comments has reassured me.

Kate: Hugs and more hugs back to you!

Sonia: Thank you, so nice to see you here. To write is to heal. Beautiful.

8:42 pm  
Anonymous Jess said...

Gorgeous pictures, Mary, both the pond pix and the ginger kitty. So glad to see you're back!

I'm putting your list from paragraph 8 on an index card to hang by my desk. It's awesome!

7:56 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Oh Jess, thanks for that. It means a lot - more than you know - to realise something I've written has helped just a bit ....

10:05 pm  

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