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Category — Diary

Time, loss and change

Oh hello! Did you think I had been eaten by gnomes? or my pets? or that Scotty had finally beamed me up and beyond to the blue yonder? Disturbing thought.

No, here I am, all is well, sort of. But this New Year time through January and February has been more intense than I ever remember it being. I’ve had to resort to tidying the odd cuboard to calm my nerves on occasion. This is what I found in the latest poke around a dark drawer – last year’s intention list – ha, ha, let’s see how I did….

Hmmmmm, not bad on balance, but slightly disconcerting that I marked myself on my own list…at least it wasn’t in red pen.

The hardest part about January was losing someone I loved.

I have always considered myself to have come from a world of women, to have been surrounded by women – mothers, godmothers, girlfriends and daughters. They nurture me, hold me, inspire me, they are my life.

And yet I have been blessed to have had the most wonderful men in my life too – father, uncle, godfather, partners and sons, who, now I look closely, have been interesting, thoughtful, and funny and who have also gently shaped who I have become.

To have lost one of these men suddenly seven years ago was heartbreaking. To be losing another, in slow motion, even more so. But to have been given this time with them, in the first place is surely the best treasure that I have been gifted.

Saying goodbye to someone has made me take a long, hard look at this thing we call time. It is so hard to measure, and yet that is what I am trying to do. Suddenly, it is more precious almost than the breath in my body, and I really don’t know how much of it I have, for my own life, or for any of the other precious people in my world, and there are many. How can it be that life is so very long, and hard sometimes, and then it is over, in the smallest moment, with that final breath?

In the middle of the saddest time of this last 6 weeks, I was able to get away for a few days. I sat in a roundhouse with my sisters, and passed on my blessing for strong endings and brave new beginnings. It went into a cauldron tended by a beautiful woman land guardian, along with the spells, prayers and wishes of nineteen other women. It was stirred in, mixed together with ocean totems and we have each taken a jar of it home. Mine is sitting here expectantly, waiting. In a way, I guess that is what I am doing. Sitting, waiting, for what, I do not know. But there is a space growing, so we will see.

In the meantime, there is plenty of work and organising to be done with Wool Against Weapons – 25 weeks left! And I am counting all the small blessings that are keeping me going in this winter time of change……

the best rice pudding in the world – you clever girl, for nailing the ultimate recipe and sharing it with me –

……a funny beast to share it with, he makes me smile (when I am not wanting to kill him for his bad deeds)

….sharing the best and maddest time with gorgeous women, preparing food together and laughing A LOT…

….the gentle smell of Suzi’s beeswax melting slowly in my kitchen, to make balm and honey…

…..finally seeing two years worth of ocean treasure collected up and ready to make into totems by my ocean sister…

….and because Imbolc’s light has quietly crept in to this winter grey, the making of Brigids crosses and the wonderfulness and pale green of spring bulbs – the sweetest blessing. May we all slowly unfurl ourselves, mend and stretch in to this new time….

February 10, 2014   5 Comments


Someone asked me recently what it was that I did. Pause. Oh you know, eat cake, herd cats, mess around a bit. All the usual nonsense that a middle aged self esteem can spit out in an unguarded moment. No really, she said. Oh, this one’s persistent then. O.K., I said. I am sort of an artist, and sort of a writer, and a wanna be activist, and I help make diaries, and oh….I trailed off. It all sounded, you know, so woolly and not the kind of meteoric career that my 19 year old self had planned at all.

This has got me thinking. What is it that I do, what is it that I am? The clue is in compulsion. I am compelled to record. I am a recorder. Of life. Of moments. Of the jetsam and flotsam of everydayness, of the spectacular kodac moments that come once in a blue moon. I have them all, preserved, written about, photographed, filed away. My. I am a true Virgo.

It started innocently enough. My grandmother bought me a five year diary and an ink pen. By 1980 I had moved on to more secretive subject matter.

Like who sat next to who in class, what we would wear to the roller disco that Saturday, and dear god, my exam results. Which were not especially inspiring in the mathematics department. Who cares, I am an artist, don’t you know…

Pink ink was the height of cool by the time I was 14, which also saw me put an ‘i’ in my name, and veer wildly between stickers and Siouxie, affairs of the heart, and yes, more exam results.

And as much as those teenage diaries make me cringe, there they all are – absolute truths about how it felt at the time, not some misty memory, but the hard evidence and facts of my world as I saw it then. It makes Holly squeal and snort with laughter, but I love that too.

Years later and several gazillion notebooks, diaries, albums, scrapbooks and boxes later, here I still am. Painting, writing, photographing, recording. Lest it be lost.

I have written everything; from the weather that day, to what I ate, what I dreamt, what funny thing my 4 year old yelled. From the banalities of washing to the biggies of love and the meaning (possibly) of life. Not in a Tuesday 4th, this is what happened way. It has been more random than that, even if the regimented labels on the covers belie this fact.

I write what I feel, when I feel it. I keep notes, tickets, feathers, sketches, postcards, post it notes…..and yes, it can be exhausting.

You want to know why I do it? What compels me, late at night, to record just one more thing, before I lose it to the mists of time? O.K, I will tell you my fantasy. I may or may not ever read these books again, and leaf through boxes of collected treasure. But what I would love is for my great great great granddaughter, or grandson, who might just happen to be interested, to come across cobwebby old boxes, open them, and unfold one small story of someone they will never know. It is her or him that I write to, leaving clues. Not that my story is really that different to anyone else’s. But oh! I soooooo wish that my grandmother of several generations ago had done that for me.

I have the odd black and white, grainy photograph of these distant people, and I pour over them, willing their stories to reveal themselves. Which of course they never do, so frustratingly. So I am leaving snippets (O.K, whole volumes) of clues about what it has been like for me at the turn of this century. Small details, which may or may not be relevant or interesting. But there they will be. Waiting.

I guess it was no surprise that I would eventually create a job out of diary making – hence the Earth Pathways Diary – another extension of my ongoing obsession with recording. It started in a field, it lives and grows and will soon travel on without me, being a thing of collective beauty and creativity.

Not content with helping create it, and painstakingly writing in dates, moonrise and sunrise times, I then fill it to bursting with my own thoughts and feelings.

Maybe the truth is that I spend so much time recording, I miss out somehow on the living it bit. Sort of like seeing the sunrise through the viewfinder of a camera, rather than with your own glorious eyes. Nature to nature. I hope this isn’t totally the case. But sometimes I wonder. No matter, I am incapable of stopping. I twitch if something fantastical has happened and I am yet to record it. Literally twitch. That’s compulsion.

So there you have it. This is what I do. For someone in the future. My future.

Jaine Rose, time defying, time dallying. Recorder, keeping it wonky.

November 28, 2012   6 Comments