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On ivy and being a little bit idle

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I did this painting for Camberwell Arts Week last year. It is an old plank of wood I found in the street, I placed ancient scraps of wallpaper and collaged sparrows against its gnarly scraped up paint work. I hammered in rusty nails to be branches, curling some words of Bob Marley alongside them and threw in a Bible verse in scrabble letters (obvs). We hung it half-heartedly it in the garden inbetween our bird feeders and slowly over the last couple of months it has been over run with our ivy. And it looks as if it was always meant to be this way.

Sometimes it is good to let things flow, uninterrupted, unmanipulated.

I have spent much of my life getting stuck in, negotiating, choosing, chasing. Grabbing life by the horns is a fun way to live (but beating up a bull takes a lot of energy.) I would insist and strive and work things out to be the very way I thought they should be.

It was only when I got married to Tim I began taking day time naps (C’mon people. Not afternoon delight styles, just snoozing.) I had never slept in the day before because I always felt I was missing out on life. Marrying Tim gave me a quiet happiness that meant I could rest a bit if I felt like it, thanks very much.

Since being mother to Ramona my contentedness has bloomed even more. I remember when she was about 5 months old waiting for a train that never came and having to change all my plans, and instead of being wall-climbing ragey, exhausting myself trying to hitch/bus/ skate to the destination I had planned on being at, I just settled for something else and felt wonderful. It was a significant moment, realising that I now hold onto my plans and strivings with such a looser grip.

I still have a long way to go in this practice of idleness. To yodle “Que, sera, sera” a bit more. To allow things to take their natural course without interrupting. (Ahem, ah, excuse me? Ivy? Where do you think your growing, eh?) To just see. And to just be.

I have gotten all the way to the end of this post without even the theme of the painting being in my mind, and now I have remembered, and it is ridiculously serendipitous.  If you look closely at my scrawls on the painting they say “Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God” or Bob’s take on it, “Don’t worry about a thing. Cos every little thing is gonna be alright.” 

PS  Of course, I want to stay ambitious for a better world, want to grab at hope and fight for fairness. There are some things in life where idle will not do, don’t you reckon?


14 responses »

  1. its a lovely peice of work – I can;t imagine it looked quite this good befor ethe ivy though…. There is a poem by WIlliam Henry Davies my father always told me, you might like it ……
    What is this life if, full of care,

    We have no time to stand and stare.

    No time to stand beneath the boughs

    And stare as long as sheep or cows.

    No time to see, when woods we pass,

    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

    No time to see, in broad daylight,

    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

    No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

    And watch her feet, how they can dance.

    No time to wait till her mouth can

    Enrich that smile her eyes began.

    A poor life this if, full of care,

    We have no time to stand and stare.

  2. Oh my…I think I’ve fallen in love, with you and your sign. Completely agree!

  3. it’s a difficult balance, I don’t always get it right lol : ) but afternoon naps are ‘quite’ nice!
    what a lovely poem x

  4. Beautiful, beautiful xx

  5. I love it when things blend like they’ve been there for years. That’s one of the reasons why i’m put off buying new things.

    I too am just learning to let go a little. I always feel the need to cram so much into my days and then I just get stressed when I don’t achieve it all. Charlie has mellowed me a bit………

    Once again, another lovely blog post. (I wait for yout posts like I wait for the next edition on a mag coming out……..totally addictive!)

  6. It’s gorgeous, love the birds. I’m pretty lazy but also excellent at getting stressed out by things. Worst of both worlds, damn it!

  7. butwhymummywhy

    I love everything about this post. Everything. Thank you for reminding me just to ‘be’ x


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