Friday 30 April 2021


Today is the last day of April 2021. Onwards to May, although the wisteria is already scenting our doorstep, framing our view of the outside world.

When this month began, I began an online meditation retreat with the nuns of Lower Hamlet, Plum Village. For a few days, although my body was in Cambridge, my spirit was one with six hundred retreatants from across the globe. Time sculpts itself differently when you follow the bell of engaged Buddhism in the practise of Thich Nhat Hanh.

After the retreat, my sangha nun, Sister Tea Cake, as she is affectionately known, asked if I would offer my teaching services to help the younger Vietnamese nuns with their spoken and written English. Of course, I said. Yes, I said. And from the very first session with my two lovely students, we have dived soul first into poetry. My own, and the poetry of so many others, whose words are birds, like Siegfried Sassoon and Teresa Wilder and Mary Oliver and... well, I’ve only just begun. 

In my last post, I wrote about what freedom from lockdown could look like for me, once I was no longer tethered to weekly sub cutaneous injections into my body. I never imagined this for myself. Even though this is exactly what I wanted for myself when lockdown first began. I wanted to teach. It took a year. And now, I am here. 

Inside of my breathing freedoms, I have been cooking every week, trying new recipes, making mistakes and making delicacies ... and still, with every evening’s end and night fall, a collective sigh of relief escapes the three of us. Because although the beginnings of imagination unfurl in some parts of the world, in other parts, not so far away, just my own country of birth, the oxygen is running out and every day is the end of imagination, just as Arundhati Roy predicted all those years ago. But even Roy plants new hope with new words, and so must we. Hope for those who cannot, so they, in turn, will one day hold the hope for us. 


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh the smell of wisteria is heavenly. I would love to havwe it growing somewhere near one of my lovely time spent with the Plum Village folks. And how wonderful you now have two such lovely students to enjoy a feast of words with you. I LOVE the raindrop visiting a very cool that is........are those your lines? It is interesting how the universe brought you your students...isnt that just exactly how the universe works? We have to remember to trust it when we feel there are delays.......our dreams are on the way, just going a tad more slowly. The situation in India is horrifying and heart-rending and like a scene from the middle ages. How it must hurt your hearts to watch the news. Who ever would have dreamed we would live such times? (I love Arundhati Roy, ever since The God of Small Things and especially since she wrote her response to 9/11. She said what I was feeling and couldnt put into words.) I feel the same way at the close of each day - such relief and gratitude to finally be prone, another day done and nothing more I need do but read and sleep and dream until the morrow. Stay safe, you three.

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