Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Remember what peace there may be in silence...

Today, I planned to provoke any (invisible) readers out there by writing about marital sex, or politics, or credit-crunch-money-saving tips...just to test the waters, poking a stick to encourage a bite. I find it hard to believe anyone's actually reading anything I write...most probably, the 1,000 and counting 'hits' on my little gadget are simply robotic search engines humming: "Exterminate... Exterminate" as they tootle on by my virtual door, simply checking out the facade. Planning all the while to mount attacks on my defenceless computer and knock my hard drive for six. Which would be a family tragedy, as I first begot a child and a digi camera at about the same time. "Take lovely mental pictures and LIVE the moment, instead of viewing the world through a camera lens" had muttered my husband many a time. But when I became too swamped with memory sticks and piles of CD storage marked with indelible pen, I stopped arguing and began to take heed.

And, I admit, my husband was right. Living the moment, or Seize the Day, or Time flies (tempus fu**it, as grumpy Grandpa is wont to say: you work it out...) or taking time out to smell the roses...do we do enough of it? Awareness, perception, seeing through the eyes of a child... call it what you will, when the senses take over and the brain's chatter and clatter and clutter subdues. We sat in the garden at dinner, little curly cheeky girl, sweetly serious boy, and me. I was full on: "Eat your peas! Don't drop that...Stop arguing..." Directed, as usual, at my three-year-old daughter. She looked at me, liquid caramel eyes unfazed and innocent, and replied: "I love the fresh air, Mummy. I love the sky and the earth 'gether and the trees. And the flowers." She was zoning out my nagging, but not the beauty around her. My son said: "Look, Mummy. A bumblebee! It's an endangered species. That means there are not many of them." "Look, Mummy! A bee! A 'dangered speeshees!" echoed his sister. The evening's breath flickered apple petals down onto our hair. "Like Snowflakes!" piped one. "Mummy, the sun's going down!" noted the other.
I sat and let my mind flow and expand, for a moment. The evening held a stillness.

So that's today. Tommorow I might well write about marital sex and about credit-crunch-inspired- creativity. Pursuits for which immersing oneself in the moment are surely useful (if not essential!). I'll sleep on it. Remembering to be more 'aware'.
And defer to two great voices on the subject:

"In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you." Leo Tolstoy
(1828 - 1910).

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence" (Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, 1952).

Put like that, no wonder the 'bots pass me by...


  1. Just wanted to let you know, I'm reading what you write. :)

  2. (Wow. Just realized that sounded kind of creepy.)

  3. Helen, I found you via Penelope Trunk. I so completely identify with you! I work from home part-time, have 2 young children, and have always wished for the innate talent to write the way you do. Keep at it - you will be found.

  4. Hiya. I followed you here from a comment you left on TimesOnline. (That's called "pimping your blog" by the way. Never fear, we all do it at the beginning!)

    As a late 30's programmer and soon to be first time mum I have moments of panic about "giving up my career". But really, who wants to whack their kids in day care to go back to work if they don't have to? I'm having a family on purpose, to be a mum, not as a hobby on the side.

    I hope it doesn't drive me insane....

  5. Katie - thanks a million!
    (no, not creepy!)
    Laura - do visit again!
    Saffa Chick - you are right on! thing is, motherhood is way too short anyway. If I didn't mind missing the full whack I'd have sought out some full-time job. But no, best to enjoy the ride (which is wonderful) and find something on the side to fulfil any creativity/ambition/etc (I'm less frustrated now I'm writing this blog, having said that, it does lack professional recognition and cash!) There will be totally insane moments in parenting, I can guarantee you, but also (many more) moments of unadulterated joy: promise!I'm sure as a programmer you can eventually do stuff from home, too. Good luck with the pregnancy etc and hang on in this blog, be nice to hear how you get on too! (PS love the 'pimp yr blog'expression!)