Sunday, 13 February 2011

'... a little egg lay on a leaf ... '

Feeling adrift, aimless. I have to watch that I don't drift and cruise too much through these days, and waste time. And yet, I must also allow it to happen, as it is a natural part of the process and phase I am in at the moment.

Eric Carle's children's book, 'The Hungry Caterpillar', opens with the words (I hope I remember  correctly) ... 'In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf' … That's me. Again. I'll explain.

Not so long ago I worked out a theory. My theory was that in my life a pattern could be worked out that reflected / imitated the life-cycle of a butterfly. 

When I look back on my life up until the present time, I can see how it fits. So far, I have passed through two butterfly cycles. I am now back at the 'egg phase', characterised by reflecting, collating, dreaming. (It was the stage when I was a baby through to seven years old, receiving impressions - quietly on the surface, busily in my brain – and exploring and discovering new things).

The second time I entered the egg phase, I was 28 years old and a young mother to (eventually) three boys. This was a time of focussing on what was around me, ordering the environment so that I wasn't too overwhelmed in my role as mother, seeking the friendship and company of other mothers of young,… receiving impressions, quietly, freely exploring and discovering life through the eyes of my children.

Now, at the age of 57, I am in the egg phase once again; this time a grandmother and entering another reflecting, gathering, gleaning and thinking stage.

Of course this is a personal theory only, but for interest sake, this is how I would describe the stages:

EGG: Patient years: dreaming, reflective, gleaning, gathering, exploring, thinking, experiencing, conjecturing.
CATERPILLAR: Hungry years: busy, energetic, working, motivated, confident, achieving, planning, involved, enforcing, moving on.
CHRYSALIS: Formative years: protecting, buffering, withdrawing, guarding, retracting, analysing, establishing, consolidating.
BUTTERFLY: Celebratory years: enjoying, celebrating, expanding, delighting, daring, experimenting, rebelling, strengthening.

Now you are going to have to believe me when I say that up to this point I believed that I was the only one that thought of my life as reflecting the stages of a butterfly's life cycle. After writing this piece, I Google-d seven year cycles, and found two links which seem to echo what I am saying ... very freaky. One even has butterfly images in the header!

I also found out that Eric Carle, who wrote 'Hungry Caterpillar', has a blog!

I also have a theory about how we shed 'skins' through our life, like snakes do. But (I can hear audible sighs of relief) I will leave that for another time.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

On Hold

The medical staff of the hospital my aunty is in at present do what they can (very often over and above). In New Zealand the hospital op. and recovery treatment is free. Their expertise in the intensive care unit and other wards, has been amazing. I feel I shouldn't complain. But it's a shame the nursing staff haven't the time to spend with each patient explaining things and getting alongside. Obviously that is a luxury our public hospital system doesn't have the funding to allow. 

My aunty is not herself, is not being treated as herself and will not be back to herself until she is able to leave the beige walls of the institution, with its smell of old cabbage (or is that smell just an association of mine, a hang-over from earlier days in such places? The meals my aunt is presented with certainly seem appealing enough; I've yet to see a shred of boiled cabbage. I just wish she had her usual appetite and could enjoy them, rather than just pick at a corner). She is getting there slowly. It was a huge operation.

Meanwhile, because I am the one who will take her back home, and then spend some time there with both her and my mother who will fly down from Palmerston North; I have put my normal life on hold. I can't really concentrate on any serious writing – despite setting myself up a new office space.

So, I was thankful the other morning to wake with a poem on my mind. It snuck in. It seems to be about how I feel about the three aspects of time – past, present and future: time's trinity.


The future, that constant
thing untried. The past
a nest of feathers and thorns,
one I will settle for

again and again. Again
and again the future looms
large, becoming
smaller the closer I approach.

Kay McKenzie Cooke

Another aspect to all this 'life' that is happening at the moment is that it ties in perfectly with where my wiriting has been taking me; into the past and my ancestry. Spending a fortnight with my mother and aunty; an octogenarian and a seventy-eight year old; will shore up my knowledge of family history no end.
My aunty has been self-appointed family archivist for sixty years or more, her famous 'cupboard' is stocked to the gunnels with scrapbooks, photograph albums and other family tree info. I can't wait to delve and glean.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Watch Out

At least the garden is loving the rainy weather we've been having lately. From the kitchen window, these lilies look a bit like friendly faces saying, "Hello there!"

The weather today was really freaky - in our southernmost city we awoke to a heat wave of Singaporian proportions. Walking outside was like walking into an oven. But we didn't have to suffer for long; at around two o'clock in the afternoon the weirdness vanished, replaced by a more familiar cool southerly breeze and a misty drizzle rolling in.

I am going to have to up the advocacy for an aunty in hospital. She is nearly eighty years old and a 'Miss'. I suspect some of the staff at the hospital have labelled her as 'just a little old lady on her own' - certainly going by how two young medics were talking to her the other day when I was there. They looked about 18 years old and were more or less shouting at her, talking slowly to her as if she was a child. I have never heard my aunt being talked to like that. She is a funny, lively character, full of personality, talkative, intelligent - as sharp as a tack. If they presume her to be a bit shaky and dim, they have presumed wrongly.
She said that some of the doctors talk about her at the foot of her bed as if she's not there, then turn away without offering updates or info.
I feel like telling them that if they think they can dismiss this Miss, they've got another think coming. What they have on their hands is a woman who is an aunty to millions! an ex-teacher to thousands, who has two sisters and eight cousins and a mighty Southland tribe of staunch followers and friends prepared to drop tools and march up to Otago on her behalf at any given second. Oh yes. Believe me, they wouldn't know what hit them!

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...