Whales in Waikiki ~

I am having somewhat of a Writer’s block just now. The words are just not there or rather they have gone quiet on me. Does that resonate with anyone?  I am sure they will return when they are good and ready but for now I shall share some of what I have seen.  The picture here is the tail of a Humpback Whale swimming off the coast of Waikiki, Hawaii. I have been lucky enough to visit the Hawaiian Islands a few times over the years, and have to say going out to see the Humpbacks is a wonderful experience! These mammoth creatures of the oceans swim to these warmer waters to mate, and to give birth to the next generation. I read today that Whales are associated with solitude and compassion, and also to unbridled creativity. It is said that the exhalation from the blowhole symbolises the release or freeing of one’s own creative energies. I thought therefore that looking at my image, and remembering my encounters with these beautiful beings, my creativity may somehow be awakened once more so that my thoughts may flow freely once more. Just for the record it was not easy for me to capture the image, as I have no sea legs as it were and was therefore pleased with the capture. Hope you like the image as much as I do.

(Image captured by Liola Photographic 2016)

© Liola Lee 2019

 

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Imbolc

Last night I had the strangest of dreams! There was a pregnant man. Yes, I said a pregnant man. How can that be you may well ask. From what I understand, to dream of pregnancy within a dream is about giving birth to new ideas/projects and the like and not babies as in the real world. That said, I told my husband of my dream as I always do. He always listens, never really comments, and just accepts that I often have weird abstract dreams which I tell him about upon waking. He is used to it, and has listened to me telling him what I dreamed of for the best part of thirty five years. So nothing new there then!

Today is Imbolc in the Celtic Calendar, Candlemas in the Christian Calendar, also known as St Bridget’s Day. I knew this and knew a little about this. In the Celtic tradition, Imbolc marks the beginning of Spring , though with all this snow and freezing conditions, it does not feel much like Spring. It is, it seems the beginning of the lambing season, and there is the hint of new life in the making. Strangely, the original word Imbolc means ‘in the belly’ and that all is expectant and pregnant. There is the promise of renewal, potential that is hidden, and the life force is awakening.  As I read about Imbolc, and thought about my dream it seemed that maybe I am being given a message of some sort, maybe?

Imbolc is a time for letting go of the past, looking to the future, getting rid of what no longer serves us; clearing out the old and making room for the new. A time of new beginnings.  Brigid/Bridget is a Goddess of healing, poetry and smith craft. I have recently re-embarked on my journey in Pranic Healing, been revisiting my love of poetry, and my mum’s maiden name is Smyth (my mum is Irish and therefore I have Celtic roots). I come from a farming family on my Mum’s side, and my great grandfather was a Farrier/Blacksmith.  As I do not believe in coincidences, I am sure my dreams were sending me messages that the time is right for bringing in a new way of being. I believe in dreams, I believe in magic!

I wish you all a wonderful Imbolc/Candlemas and hope that what you dream for comes true, and that you may find magic in all that you do!

Nameless Souls on Sepia

This was a piece I wrote a few years back. I was lucky enough to have its included in a lovely Anthology titled ‘More Voices on the Verandah’ which was the final in a series of works by Anglo-Indians and those of Anglo-Indian descent. The Anthology is available still and is edited by Lionel Lumb

They were just nameless souls on sepia, staring out seemingly into space:  a peer into a time long since past and now, not often remembered with any degree of regularity. With its jagged edges, it was evident that part of the photograph had been torn away, why is a mystery. Someone in the family, though I cannot recall who, had once mentioned that there had been a rift within the family back in the days when they used to gather at the beautiful hill station of Mussoorie, when escaping the harrowing heat of the city. That was as much as was known. There was no accompanying documentation and nothing written down to suggest who the people in the picture may have been. That they were ancestors seemed a little more than likely. The photograph depicted a wedding scene. Three people remained in the frame. Two seated and one standing or rather two standing but as one had been unceremoniously decapitated he could not be counted. He could have been anyone. The bride wore a lavish wedding gown of lace with what appeared to be a full layered veil laid lightly and carefully, so as not to interfere with her elegant upswept hair which was so fashionable in the early 1900s. Seated beside her was an older man with a head of thick snow white wavy hair, and sporting a long white beard: a little like Santa Claus in a suit. Beneath the hairy façade was a man not unlike my father. In fact, but for the beard it could have been my father sitting beside the bride.  It was the eyes that gave it away. They were the same eyes that had watched over me all my life. Only my father’s eyes had seen different things to those of the apparently stoic figure of the man pictured here. Their worlds were far apart but their narrative of origin was one and the same.

Aunty Paddy had been a gifted and animated storyteller who had a penchant for making colourless characters come to life. She would captivate us with stories of heroes, heroines and travellers tales. “Children….are you listening carefully?” would be our queue to gather round to hear how our ancestors had sailed across oceans in search of fame and fortune. The story told so eloquently and consistently by Aunty Paddy, revealed that long ago when great vessels with billowing sails ruled the waves, travelling the trade routes carrying spices, silks and other luxury commodities, and when George III was King; two or possibly three brothers had set sail from bonny Scotland for the far off and exotic land of India. One of them or maybe all of them had been seduced by what the East had to offer, fallen madly in love with and married an Indian princess, and lived out his days happily ever after in India. This was perhaps a rather romanticised account but this was how the story had been told and retold. One brother had perhaps been a doctor, one a sea captain and the third, if indeed there was a third could have been anything Paddy decided him to be. Such is the power of the narrator. The stories were most likely a mixture of myth and reality but to us as children they were fact rather than fiction, impressing upon our imagination that we were indelibly connected to this mysterious and mystical other world, where gods were more than one, and princes were one and many; a world that had captured the hearts and souls of our forefathers and that was forever in our blood.

Shared experiences, cultures, customs and habits all go some way to forging our identities. What we are told as children often stays with us as adults. However, there are other commonalities that can engender an inherent sense of identity and belonging, such as the idea of shared stories and myths. There is no hard definition of myth. Myth is sometimes seen as being synonymous with fantasy and fairy stories, and little to do with fact. The notion of myth often conjures up images of superheroes and superhuman beings that create an idealised view of where we come from, therefore adding to our sense of worth. To us, these pioneers were real life superheroes; they represented the true to life fodder of fairy tales and fiction, that filled our minds with the machinations of an ‘Other’ world. 

Linking myth to the narrative form is relevant, especially when considering Anglo-Indian narratives of origin because their change in circumstances, and the transitions they underwent in adapting to a colonial and a post colonial era both in Indian and in British society is shrouded with princesses both real and imagined. Of particular interest is what has become known as the princess myth which seems to circulate in many Anglo-Indian families. The myth suggests the presence of a noble ancestral connection and more specifically an Indian princess. What is of importance is why this myth has been created and the reason why some families lay claim to a princess in their midst.

Aunty Paddy’s version of events is echoed in a letter dated 19th December 2004 written by Marjorie Williams to her niece;

     …thank you so much for sending me a copy of the family tree…It’s very interesting that so many Howatsons lived in India. Where does the Scottish side come in? I suppose Thomas Howatson who was originally married to (an Indian Princess)? So I heard. My story was that two brothers, Thomas and George set sail from Scotland – one a doctor and the other a sailor or captain of a ship. I can’t tell you where I got this story from – maybe Paddy…

The letter demonstrates firstly, that we find our narratives of origin appealing at any age. Marjorie Williams was 81 when she wrote the letter. She is unable to remember where she got the story from, ‘…maybe Paddy’ she asserts. Paddy was her elder sister who had died some years earlier and who it is purported knew more about the history of the family than anyone else. When Paddy past away, so too did much of the family narrative.

In addition the letter typifies the element of the ‘Indian princess’ myth that circulates in many Anglo-Indian families. Marjorie Williams is Anglo-Indian. Her father was Hugh William Howatson born in Calcutta, India, in 1886, habitually resident in India until about 1900 when he was sent to Britain to finish his education and later to follow a successful career in medicine. It was in Scotland that he met, fell in love with and married his own princess. His princess was Annie. It was close to one hundred years earlier, when Hugh William’s great grandfather Thomas Howatson had set sail for India. What Thomas would have thought of the Britain that his great grandson Hugh returned to can only be guessed at. It is known that following an irregular marriage in Glasgow, Hugh and Annie journeyed to India and travelled about with their young family for a few years, only to return permanently to Britain later. The reasons for their movements between these two great lands, is unknown. The Diaspora to other lands following partition and independence is well documented but what of those who returned to the fatherland beforehand. What are their stories? Our sense of ‘self’ is governed by what is going on the world and is in a constant state of flux. 

It is only by telling our stories and passing them on to our children that we can preserve the memories and myths of past lives. Many stories are passed down between one generation and another, while other stories remain untold and are lost forever. So next time, when you are gathered cosily around the dining table after a sumptuous Sunday lunch as is quite common among families, laughing at the crazy antics of dad’s schooldays,  finding out about grandma’s culinary gifts or hearing of an aunt’s penchant for telling tales, take note and listen very carefully to the snippets and anecdotes of your elders for these are your stories, your narratives of origin: savour every word and share!

Time

Time

‘Time is what prevents everything happening at once’ ~ Albert Einstein

First of all may I just wish everyone here in the Blogosphere a very belated Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year in 2019! As they say in the film The Hunger Games ‘May the  odds be ever in your favour’. Could not resist saying that! ! I have not done much on here for a while, as my beautiful horse River had an acute bout of Sand Colic on Christmas Eve, undergoing emergency surgery that same day as this was his only chance of survival. It was truly a do or die moment. The very word ‘Colic’ instills fear in those of us with horses, as colic in horses can be fatal. The Christmas break consisted of daily trips to the Equine Hospital some thirty five miles away. Sometimes twice a day. That said, Christmas is a time of miracles, and my equine friend made it through surgery. He is back home now and all is going well, and the prognosis is good. So explanations and best wishes aside, it is time to set pen to paper or rather fingers to the keyboard click, click clacking once more.

Is there such a thing as real time or is time just an illusion?

Time is the one thing that once given can never be gotten back, so waste your time wisely seems to be good advice, that is of course if wasting your time can ever be wise. Whether we follow that advice or not is of course up to us but in my experience more often than not we do not waste it wisely but rather just waste it without due care and attention. We then later realise that we have been procrastinating over this, that and the other and time has somehow managed to escape us.  We ask ourselves, ‘Where did the time go?’ or ‘I lost track of time’. Even in these short few words written here, there are numerous references to that which we often refer  fondly to as Old Father Time. Old Father Time perhaps being a more favourable image of the Grim Reaper reminding us maybe that our time is limited. I am beginning to think that we are obsessed with the ticking of the clock; tick tock, tick tock.

We are often told that there is no time like the present, and yet we constantly dwell on the past, and wonder about the future, and therefore often miss the moment that is here and now. Time can be quite the conundrum, in that we have too much time on our hands, yet not enough hours in the day to get things done. Time is said to be a great Healer and yet Time waits for no man. Time is of the essence and yet often time eludes us and is scarce. We have too much time or not enough. We are short of time and time is short. There is no time to get things done and yet we are often told we have all the time in the World. So which is is?

Every second counts, and there is one born every minute, which could refer to any number of things. Time can be our friend or our foe depending on where you stand on the subject. We are often rushed for time, and that time in the day when we go to work and when we return home during peak hours is aptly named rush hour. There is that time before sunrise and sunset which is dubbed Golden hour. Sometimes we feel robbed of time. Our time is precious, so why oh why do we waste so much of it?

There is so much more that I could write on the subject of time as time is everlasting but just now for me, in this instant,  time is short and I must rush off in order to spend some time doing something that I love. Off to the stables it is then, to spend quality time with my much loved horse River who has been given extra time, so I look forward to some more happy times ahead. I thank you for your time, and hope that you will pop by in the future to spend a little time with me. Au revoir! 

Today is the day ~ Glad

Today is the day’ …was a collection of musings I wrote during the Peri menopause years. It’s spoken in the first person, and was based largely on my journal entries written around that time. Journalling is a wonderful way to express this, that and whatever else needs to be said whether aloud or silently…

Today is the day when I shall focus on being glad. This is easier said than done as I am sitting here in my dining room, organising the wage run for our subcontractors, which if I am to be honest does not make me glad. The recent recession has meant that each Friday I have to practice my circus skills as a juggler, and rob Peter to pay Paul so for that reason I am not glad but if I am to practice being glad about other things I am sure I can manage that.

I am glad I have a roof over my head, and I am glad that I am in good health which is always something that one should be glad about. I am trying to think what else I can be glad about today. Well, the sun is shining and I have managed to pay everyone, and so far nobody has annoyed me. Mind you it is still early, and my daughter has yet to arise from her bed, and as on most mornings she is likely to get up on the wrong side of the bed and be grumpy. It is 8.30 on a beautifully sunny morning on the 21st May 2010, and by now you will most likely have come to the conclusion that my daughter is not an early bird who catches the worm, although on the subject of worms, the wriggly ones which can be found in the garden, and not the type that you catch from animals where you need to be wormed, I can recall a time when my daughter was four, and used to subject me to worm patrol on the way to nursery. You may by now be wondering what exactly is worm patrol? Let me explain. 

In order for worm patrol to take place, there had to be wet conditions. It had to have been raining overnight so that next morning worms would be out and about, worming along on their daily business which tended to be winding along the pathway through the park. The walk to nursery was always an eventful time as four year olds tend to be curious little things, and for most of the time rather sweet. Back then my daughter was a morning person, still in awe of the world around her and saving worms from hungry birds was the order of the day. At that time I was temping for Lewisham Council as a cashier. I would drop my daughter off at nursery, and then run to catch the number 75 bus. I was late most days, only by minutes but nevertheless late, and the head cashier would let me know it by looking up at the clock as I walked in, and then at his watch. He never said a word but the look on his face said it all. I always just said that the bus was late again. After all how could I explain that I was assisting on worm patrol. The things we do for our children, and the trouble we get in to for them!  Back then there was not even the slightest inkling that my darling daughter, saviour of worms would evolve into a tempestuous teenager as most children eventually do. That said, I am glad that we shared such times, so yes today I shall focus on being glad for the times I shared with my daughter when we were on worm patrol and be proud that I too was instrumental in the saving of worms. 

What else shall I be glad about today? 

 

© Liola Lee 2010