My Garden of Eden, Mount Congreve, is closing on Sunday for the Winter. As regulars here on Social Bridge will know, the world famous garden, which is just a few miles out the road from Tramore, is a precious haven of mine.
I’m very fortunate to have been able to visit Mount Congreve every week throughout the season and savour its ever-changing colour and light.
Today was bliss but tinged with a sense of melancholy as I wandered through the walled garden and then the glorious woodlands. Much has happened in the period since the Gardens opened back in March and I’ve done a lot of contemplating, celebrating and pure ‘being’ in this place that never, ever fails to bring colour, calm and awe to my mind and heart.
Here’s a glimpse of what drew my eyes out there this morning on one of those ‘pet’ days that you always hope for as September draws to a close in Ireland:
I banjaxed my back on Friday and am way out of my comfort zone, to say the very least. There was a time when my back was bad, bad, bad for years on end and I became quite an expert on every conceivable kind of therapy from the very orthodox to the wildly alternative.
In the middle of that period my mother quipped that the pain was such a constant companion that I’d miss it when it was gone. Of course, she knew that once it had gone that I would very quickly forget those nerve jangling efforts of trying to turn in bed and the wobbly walks measured in half paces with breath held braced for the next muscle spasm.
Of course, what I miss in the throes of this latest ‘episode’ is having Father arriving up to the house with ‘meals on wheels,’ carefully wrapped in Mother’s love and emphasis on eye appeal.
‘Eye appeal’ generally meant a sprig of fresh parsely or maybe an edible nasturtium.
One of the most important things that I learned back then about pain was the importance of leaning into it rather than fighting against it and one way that I tried to make friends with it was through colour.
I think I must have had a premonition about the back caving in on Thursday last when I was out in Mount Congreve because I got to wondering about ‘blues’ and low mood.
Anyway, here’s the colour of my soft-tissued pain as I’m perceiving it now:
I revel in colour and allowed myself to think about black when I was walking along this path in Mount Congreve the other day.
I have an intense fear of the pitch blackness since I was about five. It happened in an episode of boldness when my brother and I were messing around in the bank office where our father was manager. We had been warned that we were never, ever to go into the office but, of course, that made it all the more tempting. It was a Sunday and Dad had been doing a bit of extra work. He had slipped upstairs for a few minutes so we sneaked in and were playing hide and seek in all the little nooks and crannies that were part of bank offices back then.
The safe where books, not money, were kept was slightly open and I thought it would be a great idea to hide in there. Big bro spotted me going in and thought it would be even better fun to turn the wheel that locked the big steel door of the the safe. I heard the click and found myself in the blackest place you could ever imagine. There wasn’t any light whatsoever and I started to pound on the door and scream at big bro to let me out. The door was so thick I couldn’t even hear him outside.
After what seemed like a lifetime, Dad came to the rescue. Normally he would have been absolutely furious with us for being in the office but when he saw the state I was in he took me in his arms and knew in his heart that I had learned a lesson that I wasn’t likely to ever forget.
Over the years, I’ve given black a lot of thought. It’s a colour I quite like to wear; I love black and white photographs; I adore the blackness of Puppy Stan but I still can’t bear complete blackness and have realised that it is something that is seldom found, a bit like complete silence.
Believe it or not, I even got the heebie-jeebies one day when I tried using a black page for this blog. I had thought it would be exciting to write on black but just froze. One of these days I’m going to give it another try because I want to see where it would bring me.
How are you about black or is there some other colour that messes your head up?
I got to spend most of today out along the coast and it was bliss. There was a definite touch of Winter setting in but there was great colour, clarity and a sense of Co. Waterford being at one with itself.
Copper turned to blue, blue as I stood on the Bonmahon Beach, looking back towards the old mining works up on the cliffs at Tankardstown.
And I couldn’t resist plunging into the waves at Garrarus Beach just before sunset. The sea is holding her heat well and the waves were all playful and fluffy:
As the sun set, I was catapulted away by W.B. Yeats:
Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
I never in my wildest dreams thought that I’d ever get involved in hubby’s carpet business as carpets seemed a million miles away from Sociology and Social Research.
However, I jumped in at the deep end back in January with a mumbled offer to do some online marketing for him.
It’s proving to be one of those unexpectedly enjoyable activities ~ often the best kind ~ and now I’ve reached a point where I’m seeing the world through both the eyes of bridges and tufts of wool.
I love the colours, patterns and textures of carpets as well as their deep connection to nature through woolly sheep.
Mercifully, hubby is happy to let me run loose and be as quirky and creative as I want to be in this endeavour. It’s pure fun and I adore heading off with a car load of samples, rugs, rolls of carpet and just seeing what will catch my eye.
I’m sure regular readers of my normal blog won’t be too surprised with the results!
I’d love to hear what carpets mean to you and if there have been really special ones in your life?
Oh I know The Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection ended on November 30th BUT how could I reject this gem of a photograph, especially as it had to travel all the way from India:
Asha is a dear friend, from India, who I met through my poetry thread on Linkedin. She is one of those people that you feel you have known forever, such is her ability to lend colour, poetry, warmth and light to life.
When I saw her email arriving today, I immediately felt the need to respond in poetry and this one has been playing on my mind all day:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
It is hard to believe that November is drawing to a close and I would like to thank everyone who participated in The Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection here on Social Bridge. Your contributions transformed my view of November as being dark, dank and dreary and it has been really exciting to be able to share all the colour and creativity that so many people sent on to me.
So, as the curtain closes on the Festival for this year, let me bring you a blast of colour from Val Robus, who blogs brilliantly at http://magnumlady.com/
I have been following a blog for some time now that combines Colour, Creativity and Connection most beautifully through the words and art of its inspirational creator, Benjamin Prewitt.
I just love Benjamin’s Artist’s Statement – Evolution:
My current series of acrylics and oil is a study in movement, texture, color and light, designed to evoke thought, feeling and conversation.The subjects of my compositions are found in the space between our challenges and rewards, that process that brings both endings and rebirth to our lives. Deep human emotional connection, nature and my perspective on the society in which we all live are the constant inspiration for my life and body of work.
For me, painting exists as a spark of recognition of the magical moments that remain outside of time and just beyond our fingertips. The framed brush strokes are not the half forgotten memories or long remembered dreams themselves; they are an invitation and the means to remember. My goal isn’t abstraction, but true and definitive expression. These compositions are the experiences that we have the hardest time finding the words to describe but to which we most easily relate.
I draw my inspiration from the greats: Miro, with his use of the space in between; Pollock, with his untamed yet calculated passion; Dali with a gift and vision only his mind could truly create and Picasso a master who’s brilliance needs no explanation. As a poet I draw additional inspiration from Bukowski, Emerson, Cummings, Shakespeare, Platt and countless more.
The human condition allows us all to love and lose, prosper and suffer. It’s my hope that art reminds us of our similarities, of our shared existence, and our collective memory. I believe that art can evoke long-lost passion or draw tears of memorable joy. It was only since I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease that I truly have been able to see the gift I have been given, not the ability to do art or be a painter but the ability to live my life with clarity and purpose, hope and strength.It is through this process of art that I hope to share these gifts with all whom I come in contact with.
I guarantee that your Novembers and, indeed every month, will be brightened by following Benjamin’s brilliant and heart-warming work http://benjaminprewitt.com/