Monday, July 28, 2014

Dolce far niente

Not quite there yet, even though I did spend half an hour just lying on the grass in the garden of my family home looking at the clouds, like the man on the GEO cover. Doing nothing isn't easy for me. Hence my struggles with meditation, but I am getting better at it, though the phrase 'getting better at' surely must not be used in relation to meditation.

Relaxing with a book is different, second nature.

With a big part of my work being freelance, I always carry work with me and it is always on my mind, but luckily it doesn't feel like work most of the time, unless there is a deadline approaching fast or I feel stuck. I now have three weeks with no teaching, tour guiding, storytelling-assisting or arts admin, just the projects I am working on that are location-independent.

Being here makes me want to have a proper garden, something I could do where I live, to some extent, but so far it is limited to a few pots. I have been drinking lemon balm tea and water with lemon balm, and it may have shortened the lifespan of the cold sore I brought with me. All our meals feature something from my mom's garden, and we feed the outer leaves of lettuces to our neighbours' chickens.

I have done so much living the past three months, and my last few hours before catching the night bus to the airport were no different: I used to go to bed and set my alarm for midnight, but this time I was invited along to a concert, so despite my swollen painful lip I went, and I am so glad I did. It was We Banjo 3, and the gig was part of the Galway International Arts Festival. They were brilliant and so much fun. I bought their new album and drank brandy times three, perhaps my new favourite drink and cure-all. The ensuing journey was pleasantly tranquil and filled with memories and music from the night.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Drink the wild air

 Wool-dress-bikini-and-bare-legs weather (slippers made by my sister)

 A new book to look forward to

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've been following Ralph's advice. Some of the best swims of my life have happened in the last month or so. A couple of times I came into the office to find a printout with the tides on my desk; we have been timing our swims perfectly. Sometimes the evening light would add a golden-pink glow, and one afternoon the sea was wild and throwing us around, shaking out all the tension and mental clutter.

And I did get back to the easel (and the kitchen table for illustrations. I rarely use my desk. For illustrations I like to have everything piled on the kitchen table. I think I like looking at the vase of flowers and working in an environment of domesticity.). How I had missed painting. Life has been so full lately, in all the best ways, but I need to remind myself to feed every area, to maintain the equilibrium.

It has been warmer outside than in the house. I move back and forth between my blanket in the garden and indoors, where I am in the process of doing a summer clean before heading off for a visit home next week. Today my house seems even more dollhouse-like as usual as I have gained height (it really does happen) from an Alexander Technique session (thank you, Shane!). AT worked wonders for George Bernard Shaw, possibly adding years to his life, or so I am told. The best thing is you don't have to actively do anything, yet you notice a difference in how your body is aligned after imagining it lengthening and expanding. Whether I'll have the discipline to practise this regularly remains to be seen, as always...