Monday, February 24, 2014

A walk with Emily

Chloe here . . . there's a story I'd love to share with you . . .  but, before I do, may I ask you a favour?
Please, don't tell my Mum . . . you won't will you?
It's just that she mightn't understand . . . and I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings.
I love my Mum

But, as I'll explain, if she hadn't caught a cold . . . well, it wouldn't have happened . . . and look what I'd have missed!

It was last week when my Mum started sneezing.  She really did it properly.  Sneezing all day . . . and disturbing my sleep by sneezing at night.  Believe you me, it wasn't funny.

True, I did my best to look after her . . . lot of sympathetic kisses and bringing my favourite mouse to cheer her up . . . but it meant that she couldn't do the really important things, like taking me out for my walks.
I was trapped inside . . . things were getting serious.

Mind you, my Mum did come up with one idea.  She put on my harness and lead, took me down to the hall, opened the front door, and let me walk out onto the pavement.  She then closed the door behind me so that she could stay sneezing in the hall.

It's a long lead, so I had a good view of all that was happening up and down our road . . . the cars, the people, and those pompous pigeons . . . but it was nothing like as satisfying as a proper walk.

But then my Mum came up with an even better idea.

We have a good friend called Emily.  Emily uses a big hoover and pushes Mum's letters through our letter-box.  I like Emily.
She has an important seat near to the front door and, when we went down to the hall the next morning, my Mum asked her if she had a  moment to spare, and whether she'd be very kind and take me for a walk.

You can imagine how I pricked up my ears!
It was a purrfect idea!

I don't want to criticise my Mum,  but she can be . . . how shall I put it . . . a little inflexible when I come up with the mildest of suggestions about our walks.
Emily, on the other hand, is a lovely, trusting person . . . just the sort of person who, when asked to take a cat for a walk, will accept the guidance of the cat . . . I couldn't wait to get started!

Kind Emily fully believed me when I  told her that my Mum always lets me do exactly what I like in the garden . . . well, it was only a whisker away from the truth.

Emily also fully believed me when I told her that my Mum encourages me to climb to the very top branches of my favourite tree . . . well, there was no point in mentioning that sometimes my paws slide and I get stuck, and that my Mum has to climb up and rescue me . . . and that, for some reason, my Mum doesn't like climbing down trees backwards, carrying a wriggling cat . . . I was sure that Emily wouldn't want to be bothered with such trivialities.

I had a wonderful walk . . . I think Emily enjoyed it, too . . . and I definitely didn't want to go back indoors.
In fact, I'm afraid my Mum was a little disappointed that I didn't go rushing in to join her when we finally made it back to the front door.

Perhaps it wasn't very tactful of me to linger wistfully in the doorway . . . particularly as she did have such a nasty cold.

Whatever you do, don't tell my Mum I said this, but, in a funny way, I was almost sorry when she told me the next morning that her cold was getting better.   I'd been secretly hoping for another exciting walk with Emily . . . perhaps a sight-seeing visit to the school next door.  I'd stuck my head through the railings last week, just to show my Mum where I wanted to go, but she's awfully slow at picking up hints . . . Emily, I'm certain, could easily have been encouraged to explore.

Ah well . . . life is now back to normal . . . and I have to admit that, even without  Emily, life in the garden is far from dull.

 There's nothing to stop me keeping a keen eye on those pesky squirrels . . . and I'm truly glad that my poor Mum has stopped sneezing.
I do love my Mum!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Controllable climate change?

It's hard, isn't it, not to dwell on the subject of water at the moment.  Water descending . . . water flooding . . . water pushing up through bore-holes.  Water is everywhere.

Not that the overall quantity has increased, this is the same water that's been circling our planet since time began.

It is ageless and timeless . . . the water currently resisting control on the Somerset Levels could well be the same water that defied Canute in the tenth century.

But, although there may not be more of it than there was, it does seem to be more active . . . far more active.
And what the recent downpours have brought home to me is that it's not a 'water-versus-us' situation.  On the contrary, what we need to accept is that 'water-is-us'.

We are water . . . water is an essential component in our lives.  It isn't good or bad . . . it's vital.  After all, the flood water that Noah was escaping was the same flood water that carried his ark to safety.

Bearing in mind that each one of is is ninety per cent water, it would be foolish to claim that we are in any way separate and distinct from those waters swirling down the country's waterways.  What's more, just think about it for a moment and you'll see that we share many of water's qualities.  We, too, can be refreshing, sustaining, revitalising and infiltrating.  We can also be overwhelming, destructive, penetrating and damagingly persistent.

What's caused the recent upsurge in water activity?
We can ascribe it to a shift in the Jet Stream, to rising sea levels caused by melting in the Arctic, and to climate change.  But, if it doesn't sound too fanciful, could the climate in question be emotional as well as physical?

We may not be able to hold back the rain, shift the Jet Stream, or cool the warming oceans.  But water is also strongly associated with emotion . . . you only need to look at our language to realise that.

Have you noticed how, when it comes to describing our emotions, water flows through the vocabulary? We speak of an upsurge of love, a flood of compassion, a stream of consciousness.

Our contemporary world is full of emotional turbulence . . . turbulence which spills out over national boundaries and drenches the media.
Surely we should start turning our attention to the muddied pools of revolution and political discord?  These are the waters which need to be purified and channelled . . . what's more, in this instance, the responsibility is ours.

We could also try to change the climate of opinion . . .  just look at the tide of generosity and kindness that followed in the wake of the recent flooding.  We can't hold the rain at bay, but when it comes to our own emotional water, surely the ball is in our court?

Talking of rain, did you know that the sign of Aquarius, the water-bearer, is dominant in the zodiac from January 20th to the 18th February?
Just thought I'd mention it!

Nor are we the only ones to be experiencing extreme weather, it's encircling the globe . . .  from excess heat in Melbourne, to a drought in California, and unexpected snow in Alabama.  We're in this together.

May I make a suggestion?
To help purify the waters and raise our spirits, how about clicking here  . . . ?

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Lamplighter Lamp

When I came in through the front door the other morning, something seemed wrong . . . my flat didn't feel as welcoming as it usually does.  True, it was a refuge from the wind and rain, but there was something lacking . . . it didn't feel like home.

At first, I wasn't sure why . . . then I realised.
The familiar glow of light was missing . . . my Lamplighter lamp needed a new bulb.  Without its infusion of soft, amber light my flat lacked a vital quality.  Once a new bulb had been fitted and switched on, it was home again.

Many years ago,  someone gave me a leaflet.  It proved to be a leaflet which enhanced my life.  I wish I could remember who gave it to me as I'd love to express my gratitude.  All I do know is that I still have the leaflet . . . a little faded, a little dog-eared, but much-treasured.

Let me quote from what it says:

"The Lamplighter Movement, which Wellesley Tudor Pole initiated some time ago, is well known.  Since its instigation, thousands of tiny lamps burn constantly, acting to facilitate world and personal peace, harmony and healing.  To simply affix and dedicate a small continuous burning light in our homes is all we need to do."

Ever since reading that leaflet, my home has hosted a Lamplighter Lamp.  Not that the lamp is important . . . my first lamp was an ancient, bed-side lamp with a faded shade.  The one I've enjoyed for many years is the beautiful gift you can see in these photos.  What matters is not the lamp, but the light itself.  As suggested, I use amber Pygmy bulbs and, each time a bulb comes to the end of its life, as it did the other morning, I've dedicated the new one using the dedication provided in the leaflet.

Four or five times each year I ignite a new bulb and recite the following Prayer:

"I kindle this little light on the earth plane," 
I dedicate it to the service of the Spirit.  
I guard and cherish this flame as a living symbol, and 
an act of faith in the reality of the Powers of Light.  

May the Beings from Higher worlds see this flame 
and kindle its counterpart on the ethereal plane.  
May this ethereal light be a channel for the inflow 
of the healing powers of the Spirit.  
May the love of Christ permeate this building and 
protect it, warming the hearts and enlightening the 
understanding of all who live in it or enter it.  

May the Being whom we know as Michael,  
Standard Bearer of the Christ, Wielder of the Sword 
of Light, use this offering, linking it with all those 
who lit the light.  
May the peace and healing spread through the world 
and the regions of the Borderland."

Curious as to whether these leaflets were still available, I put 'Wellesley Tudor Pole' into Google.

Much to my delight, I discovered that 'The Lamplighter Movement', born in the depths of the Second World War, is still  flourishing.  Not only that, it appears that you can now buy beautiful, small ash-lamps.  Lamps that come with 'dancing flame' bulbs, and carry their uplifting message at the insignificant cost of as little as a pound a year.

As one who has shared the larger portion of her life with a Lamplighter lamp, may I strongly recommend its many benefits.  Most of all, it has the ability to transform what we're encouraged to think of as a 'property' into a welcoming and enriching 'home'.

Why don't you join me . . . ?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The rain it raineth . . .

'Nature abhors a straight line', so declared the 18th century landscape designer, William Kent.  In his view,  paths needed to curve and wander, streams to gurgle and meander, whilst a final destination had to be round a corner and well out of sight.

I thought of this the other day, whilst listening to a discussion on the environmental aspects of the current severe flooding.

Yes, it has rained . . . and rained . . . and rained.  But that's only part of the reason for the flooding.   It appears that we, too, are at fault for having forgotten that nature abhors a straight line.

Instead of allowing the streams and rivers to follow their natural inclination to meander,  and thus seep into the surrounding fields and ditches, we have straightened the banks and encouraged the water to rush headlong to its destination.  Not surprisingly, it has flooded the low-level ground at journey's end, ground incapable of coping with the unexpected deluge.

What's more, it seems that there are other man-made reasons for the increase in surface water.  In pursuit of grazing opportunities we've stripped the trees from the hillsides, trees that would naturally absorb surplus moisture. In order to park our cars we've paved over our gardens, thereby encouraging any water to flow into the drains, rather than to seep beneficially into the earth.

Then there's the question of water quality.  Allowed to take its time, water moves gently over its pebble bed, discarding impurities as it does so.  In this way it maintains a clean, congenial home for water-loving wildlife.  Fast-flowing water,  has no time to discard sediment, which it carries indiscriminately to its destination.

By preventing the channels of clear water from following their natural path, our misguided policy has turned them into rushing, dirt-laden torrents.

Reflecting on this discussion afterwards, I found myself pondering on a wider question.
Could it be that,  albeit in different ways,  I follow a similar misguided policy?

Do I share the need to hurry to my destination, rather than enjoy the journey?
Do I take short cuts, when time would add to the pleasure of the experience?  Do I fail to appreciate the benefits of a leisurely process . . . which could help me to scrap my unwanted 'sediment'!

So . . . what if I were to make a resolution to follow nature's pattern?
You may notice that these letters follow a more circuitous route, that my thoughts meander and my destination appears uncertain . . .  but, take heart, at least you won't be deluged in a flood of unfiltered chatter!

 And, who knows . . .   I might even start singing in the rain!