Despite the warm weather we have been having lately, the early signs of autumn are sneaking up on us. Little by little, my bonsai are getting ready for their winter sleep and their leaves are gradually beginning to change colour as they start to close down. Imperceptibly at first, then some of them will turn a fiery red before shedding their tiny leaves like so much confetti.
A wonderful sight, but a little sad at the same time, and I always miss seeing them in leaf.
It reminds me more poignantly that I am approaching my own autumn (and hopefully I won’t turn scarlet!) emphasised mainly by the fact that I am not at my best this week. Probably doing too much…for at my age you are supposed to be taking it a little easier, but that’s easier said than done when you have a mountain of jobs piling up in front of you!
Despite the workload, I have been doing a fair bit of gazing out my window this week (searching for inspiration, or at least that’s my excuse!) and just love the way Mother Nature goes about her business, come hell or high water. Maybe we could all learn from her example, especially me.
But I’m afraid it is all too easy for me to find excuses for not doing what I ought. I find myself constantly using my age as the perfect excuse and I really must stop doing that, it’s really pathetic and doesn’t match how I have lived my life up until now.
The only thing I have always known for sure, is that you can do anything, provided you want to enough. So as long as I am still breathing, I should be able to just get on with it!
It is easy to think of autumn as the end of things, when in fact it is just part of the sequence. A resting time to reflect on how much better and brighter next spring will be. And we need that slowing down, as working flat out all the time is unsustainable. We need to look back at the past year and really see what worked and what didn’t.
You know what I mean, all those things you thought were important at the time, but turned out not to be. I have learnt such a lot this year, but the fact that I am still making colossal mistakes only proves to me that there is so much more to learn and to do.
It would be easy to mimic the seasons, shut down and hibernate until spring arrives; and I must admit that sounds incredibly tempting…
But I have PayBack to finish, Anita’s busily scribbling away, so lots of editing there. I also have a pile of notes to wade through. Some to digest, others to discard; time to clear the decks and really get organised. So many possibilities just waiting to be discovered…
In addition, a huge thank you to all those of you who have helped us this year, you know who you are…
This morning was a typical autumn morning, misty and damp. And usually the way with weather like this, every fence, plant and bush was covered in lacy, fairy-like spider webs.
Each one soaked with dew and very visible.
Despite what other people say about the tensile strength of spider silk, all of these magical webs always seem to vanish the minute the sun appears.
Time was of the essence, so I grabbed my camera and rushed outside. I have long wanted to capture a web in all of its intricate beauty, so there I was, running around the garden in bare feet and a nightgown, trying to capture the best of these webs.
We marvelled at the patience and intelligence, even the ingenuity of all these spiders. Such complicated ways of anchoring their masterpieces.
All that work, and in the space of half an hour, nothing left to show for it.
Now, where have I heard that before?
Then I remembered.
I had just finished uploading several chapters of the current WIP when the computer crashed. I prayed that it had automatically saved my work, as Word does have this capability, but once the dust settled, I couldn’t find these new chapters anywhere.
Then there was the time a while ago now when floppy discs were being replaced by far better ways of saving data. As if ours had heard the word, they suddenly became corrupt, taking several manuscripts with them. Despite expert help to retrieve these files, we never saw them again.
I can understand losing something as delicate and fragile as a spider’s web, but technology should be more robust, in my opinion…
This got me thinking about my own footprint. Would I vanish without a trace when it’s my turn to shuffle off? Would anything I have ever done, remain? Live on somehow, without me?
Today’s world doesn’t seem to support longevity. Technology moves on, leaving things outmoded and obsolete, so fat chance anyone remembering me unless I manage to do something totally memorable, or achieve greatness in the next few years!
Not sure what I was looking for, but during my browsing the other day, I came across an article about a clockwork lion. The picture intrigued me, being a lifelong visitor of the lions in Trafalgar Square in London.
When I was a small child, I remember visiting Trafalgar Square a lot. It seemed like a magical place to me, what with the water fountains, thousands of pigeons and those enormous black lion statues.
So when I saw this article, I knew I had to know more about it.
“The four bronze lions of London’s central Trafalgar Square got a temporary addition on 28 January, with a clockwork sculpture of the animal unveiled to highlight the plight of big cats. The statue, made of clockwork mechanics, will stand in the square for just a day before being auctioned off to raise money for National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative, which says it aims to halt the decline of big cats in the wild.”
Time is beginning to run out for all of the big cats, and to put it into perspective, there are apparently more statues of lions in London than still roaming in the wild.
The clockwork lion was designed by Sculptor Iain Prendergast, to deliver a poignant message about the plight of the big cats. “On the body, mainly as if it was the inner workings of a clock, so it was cogs, levers and coils and all sorts of things like that,” he said at his workshop. “And then up to, obviously the eyes, we’ve got clocks in them, clock faces but yeah, it’s just looking at each little part of the clock, obviously the hands for the mane, just seeing whatever sort of links in with the actual physical resemblance of the cat.”
I was upset when I heard about the killing of Cecil, the famous African lion, but maybe something good could come out of it after all, for it sparked a global controversy and set off a backlash against the African hunting industry. Inspiring the creation of this incredible piece of art at the same time.
I think the gaunt frame, torn hide, and wide, harrowed eyes of the Clockwork Lion give a drastically different impression than the steady, powerful look of the famous Landseer Lions around him, dramatically illustrating the decline wild lions have experienced since the original statues were installed in 1867. The sculptor has made the lion seem very real, the agony on its face almost too painful to see. If I look at it for too long, it makes me cry.
I have tried to discover what has happened to the lion, as it was only in Trafalgar Square for the one day. It was auctioned off to raise money for the Big Cats Initiative but I could find no coverage of that. It would be a shame if it vanishes into obscurity, as I think it is an emotional piece of art…
(photographs the propert of National Geographic Big Cats Initiative)
Reflections, the suns magic finger
Painting across my living room walls
And far beyond where I cannot see
A glass bowl becomes a magic pool
Of blue-green water.
I imagine a fairy swimming there
Her morning bath to start the day.
When the sun dips down
She is gone for another day.
On steel grey walls
Suns reflective finger weaves its spell
Of dancing lights where shadows form
To paint the black away…
My daughter and granddaughters gave him to us and he has been a great blessing. Each day he greets you when you rise, very vocally.
He talks a lot and sits on the arm of my chair, his face too close to mine. I have the feeling he wants to get inside my head. I cannot reach for my coffee, so I shoo him away.
My son says he doesn’t know why he loves me so much. I am told that whenever I leave the house, he howls, for he doesn’t like me to go away.
I call him dog because he acts like one. There are times he follows me so closely that I trip over him.
But he is a shadow I cannot do without…