from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

a diversion, and the dusky coastpath

To divert my attention from the fact that I might just have wiped – what, 15 years' worth of emails and email addresses in relation to my work? as well as my whole email programme – while Microsoft for Mac is having a wee exploration of cyberspace on my behalf, I'm determinedly going to think about something else. (But if you haven't heard from me when you were expecting to, right now I have no answer as to what to do instead.)


One of the things about having been ill is that I've had to learn how to challenge almost all of my lifelong habits. Specifically, the one that in the end brought me down was my addiction to intensity of experience, both 'out there' and 'in here', coupled with my need to be forever engaged, one way or another – whether with ideas or people or communication or work or campaigns and worthy causes – and simply just doing stuff.

What this led to was an inability to recognise my limits – that I had any, even – and, more, acting and living like an extravert when actually I'm an introvert, and an extremely sensitive and easily-over-stimulated one at that. I burnt out, and my heart has been telling me that in firm terms – times when the simplest exertion would make my whole body shake from the pressure on my heart (and I mean eg just getting out of bed).

Thankfully, due to acupuncture, rest, taking notice of my dreams (I mean nocturnal messages from the psyche kind of dreams, though the other ones count too!) and medicinal herbs, that hasn't happened for 3 weeks now.

It is, of course, a continuing process to undo these habits. And I'm making progress.

Rest is a new habit. I who fear boredom find I love it. An hour in my hammock in the sun on occasion takes some beating. My heart is now slow and steady.

I've kept exercising; after all She Who Wears Her Grey Matter On The Outside still needs her twice-daily walks, but a mile or two has mostly been all I can manage the last little while.

The best thing is that the other night I did a not-inconsequential walk of around 11 up-and-down miles, very fast (I'm naturally a kind of shortarse Sunday-stroller, enjoying looking and smelling and listening, while TM and his very tall son who's with us at the moment do the Roman-soldier route-march thing), on the Southwest Coastpath. OK, it's true that 3 or 4 years ago TM and I walked a 'severe' section of the coastpath from Sidmouth to Lyme Regis in a day, carrying packs; that must be about 22 or 23 miles; but since last autumn that's been inconceivable to me; I've just felt too weak.

But it was a beautiful evening, just past the solstice, and we stopped at the pub in Hope Cove partway (there's a diversion on the Bantham to Hope Cove section due to landslips; it adds a mile or three to the there-and-return journey).

Microsoft for Mac is whirring away still behind this window. For light relief for us all, here are some pics. Keep your fingers crossed for me that technology won't scribble me out so that I have to Get A Proper Job.*

 Near Thurlestone

 Stonechat - photographed at a great distance!

 One of them thar umbellifer-family thingy-things...

 Viper's bugloss, one of the echium family, related to borage – all great for bees. I associate them with the wonderful ecosystem that is Braunton Burrows behind Saunton Beach, my childhood wilderness, a(n) SSSI. Got a poem about it (really about the invasion of Iraq) but I'll spare you that this time.

 Rushes in the nature reserve at South Milton

 The lovely candystripe convolvulus – so prolific in the Devon lanes of my childhood

There were eight of these little things cheeping and flipping and diving on their own, unparented. I'm guessing they're baby shelducks

 Mmm. Oh to be here with a fire and a tent...

...and towards Burgh Island, the Yealm estuary and Rame Head

* Hooray! I can at least access my email programme now, two hours later.


  1. Great photos - and names, I mean, who thinks up things like Stonechat and Viper's Bulgoss anyway? :) Wishing the best of health to your big and kind heart.

  2. Miriam:
    I love it, Roselle; pictures, 'them that umbellifer thingy things', grey matter outside and all! And how I sympathise with all the other stuff having become a little closer (maybe, hopefully?) to finding out what is so competently sapping my energy and has been for the last 18 months. Shall send you our email address just in case you've lost it.
    Hope to respond to last blogs as soon as I find stamina! We're off on a long, needfully slow, walking holiday on Sunday to Yorks.

  3. David - as always a bow and a big thank you across the ocean :-). I know, I love the name 'viper's bugloss'! So poetic! - and speaking of poetic, I like the waterfall poem.

    Miriam, I hope you're finding your way through your own health issues? - Tell you what: acupuncture, as I said, has made a big difference; but so has magnesium (as a body spray - if you don't know about it google it - am seeing results); and of course rest. Some of the herbs I'm using have brought my blood pressure down, and are also anti-anxiety (for those of us who are agitating too much at the state of the world, and who tend to feel over-responsible) - they're allowing me to catch a little more sleep. I say this in case any of it is useful to you. Hope the novel's progressing, and hope also to see you maybe later in the year? Am thinking about a novel day/weekend workshop this autumn in case you're interested! Enjoy the walk. Rx

    1. Thanks so much, Roselle. I also found acupuncture helpful last year for low stamina and mean to have another shot. Shall explore the other things you suggest too.
      Yes – most certainly I'd be interested in an autumn workshop. No progress as yet with the novel but come autumn/winter I hope to renew courage.
      So good to hear your strong voice!


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