To the edge of the forest

A few weeks ago, a nasty, shocking thing happened: my adored dog, Bella, set upon another dog outside our front door. A young lady had come to collect an item I had offered on the local Freecycle group and brought her dog with her. Having told her that I would leave the item outside behind the green bin, I wasn’t expecting her to knock. But knock she did, and my son innocently opened the door, accompanied by Bella… Normally, Bella is impeccably behaved when the front door is open. She may sidle to the doorway, wag her tail, shuffle forward for a head scratch if a hand is proffered. She may stand in the open doorway, observing me as I upend tins and cardboard into the recycling bin by the shed, her nose twitching as she sniffs the air. Always, she appears serene and mildly inquisitive. This lulled us into a false sense of security. We know she isn’t a ‘dogs dog’. I adopted her from a rescue centre; she had been picked up as a stray, so we can [...]

By |2023-02-28T21:01:04+00:00February 28, 2023|Musings|6 Comments

January

Oh January, I hate to sound clichéd, but I am relieved to see the back of you. You’re a much-maligned month and I have been your staunch defender. Your arrival is like plunging into a cold, clear pool. Your lengthening days are free of the chaos of purchasing and planning that lays siege to December. You are such a beautifully bare month. My son’s birthday is also approaching. He was born on February 2nd, and announced his impending arrival on the 1st, the pagan festival of Imbolc that welcomes the return of the light. What auspicious timing, along with tentative signs of spring – although I am indulging in a fat slab of poetic licence here. The day of his birth was savagely cold, and spring’s heartbeat was sluggish beneath a skin of ice. Snow fell as I lay with my labour pains, and the weeks that followed, if I had to draw them in crayon, would be scribbles of black, grey, and red. For me, new motherhood was the most astonishing and terrible of things all at once. The [...]

By |2022-12-02T15:33:07+00:00February 1, 2022|Musings|14 Comments

On Padstow Beach

The piece below is from a few years ago. Upon re-reading, it feels vaguely as if someone other than me wrote it. I became a single parent almost a decade ago. For several years after my divorce, I scratched and fretted at my defunct marriage. So aware was I of this phantom limb that, in moments of panic, I fancied I could hear the flesh tearing. As time went on, the pain faded to a dull ache, constant but anaesthetized by the routines of daily life. Yet whenever I found myself surrounded by families, my lone parenthood would make me wince. At such times, I was shamefully aware of the loneliness trailing along behind me, tugging at me, a slightly petulant and very embarrassing child. That understanding of the root of my unease – shame – has only just come to me. I felt shame. Illogical, unwarranted, yes: but that is what I felt. I was in the habit of feeling like a misfit. After the birth of my son, being part of the 'traditional' family unit banished that [...]

By |2022-12-02T15:33:52+00:00October 29, 2021|Musings|4 Comments
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