Ice and the invasion of the snowmen
Women have felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience. Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other.
Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets and Silence, Selected Prose 1966-1978, Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying ( 1975) page 190
Head sludgy hangover. Three half ciders at the local and I am rolling around drunk. I fell off the loo when I got home ! I feel so happy just to get out once a month. Hysterical with happiness. There was a time when I never went out, never had the energy. Those times of total wipe out exhaustion are long gone. Sitting supping extra strong mugs of coffee in the park playgroup to stay awake and snatched conversations between watching small children filled days and weeks and years. A walk out down the length of the canal to the playgroup was the routine. Each day I set out. I cannot stand being inside the house for too long, a baby or a young child’s company is not enough to sustain me.
Days where one seeped into the next. Get the children up, get out the house, drop Syd at school, walk to the playgroup, walk home via supermarket, make lunch, spend afternoon tidying a little, watch an Abney and Teal, collect Syd, make tea, baths, bedtime routine.
Naoise will soon be six.
How time’s flown, and hasn’t he grown.
Julia Donaldson, The Snail and the Whale, 2004
I feel a bit of a con writing this. You know the kids are really manageable now. Syd is settling into his teens and Naoise grows more and more independent. There aren’t any nappies to change or hungry mouths to feed on the breast or a pram to push.
I can walk out without the incumbrance of a pram. I don’t need to pack a bag with wipes and changes of clothes. I can read. I have more energy. I am grateful for my time away from the children, for adult time.
When I walked out, out on the tops in the morning, I spoke to Syd on the phone, I took his orders for food from the shop, I made sure he had taken some pain relief for his head. I began to describe in detail where I was walking, what is it I can see, that I am tracing the steps of another boot as the snow is so so deep. I tell him everything. I tell him about the fog hanging, the closeness of the trees, the blinding whiteness , and how cold it is , how cold it is, and the small bits of bog grass poking up through the deep. I describe the sound of the children playing at Dobroyd Castle. I tell him exactly where I am, the path that leads down near the broken stone wall, where the ladder is strapped against it to prevent the sheep from jumping through, just near where his friend lives. He knows where I am. He knows.
Its hard growing up, I remember it a little. The whole worlds against you when you are a teenager the adult world is immediately in front of you but the adults that are near just seem silly and embarrassing and trivial and disappointing. I disappointed Syd when I didn’t pick up the phone to placate an argument that he was having with Patrick whilst I was out. I just have to carve out some space for me. I have to. I had to apologise for ignoring his thirteen calls to my mobile, but what is a woman suppose to do when they just need to laugh a little and let their hair down. It was G’s birthday too, I want to make her night fun, I don’t want the focus to be on me. G looks so cool in her new dress. The dress that she has made. Such a great pattern all swirling blues retro 1960’s. So clever, so stylish, so neat.
I wish I had picked up the phone on his first call. I was a little cruel not to answer. Is it best to ignore or communicate ? I tucked him in when I got home from the pub, I wrapped the blanket up against his body and I kissed his cheek. I so adore my eldest son. He is so beautiful and sensitive and creative and edgy. “FUCK OFF, FUCK OFF’ I can sympathise when the insults aren’t being directed at me, I wish the world to fuck off too. Its frustrating when people don’t understand, all that energy and all that passion. It is great to swear. It is a great release. Its ok to be angry. It is. Especially when all you want to do is watch TV when your mum is down the pub.
The snow had turned to ice.
Footprints captured in foggy ice. Heavy air, little distance. All close and all a drawing. Why do we make snow men ? Is it that we make figures out of the drama of nature to try and control its threat ? Why do we make snow men and not snow women ? Why do we ? It is fun of cause it is, but it must be about order and control and reducing the threat and the danger of nature, making something silly and funny. Mocking nature with our sculptures. Making it cute and cuddly. Sticking a carrot in it. All this temporary public artwork is so cool, so wonderful. Everyone making sculptures. Sculptures to the god of snow.
Naoise snowman had been kicked in. He was so forlorn to see it in its tumble down state. You can always make another. You can always build one again. Snow comes and goes. The sea washes in and out. The moon a never ending full and dimming light of love shinning.
Maybe Syd will feel better today, maybe he will get to leave the house. He must be feeling strange having been trapped in for two weeks now. It is time to go out, time to mend. Maybe the rain hasn’t washed away all the snow, maybe we can find a place to slide and I will watch his face smile.
I love snow. I love snow.
A wren jumped on top of the fence in the yard. I watched it as I was washing the dishes. A wren. Hunger. It must be hunger as the cats prowl large at the backs of the terrace. It bobbed and bobbed saw me watching turned and scarpered. All these encounters with wild life, are so brief and fleeting and never enough time to catch them on camera. Humans always a threat, best to flee, best to get away, always danger. I caught the end of a squirrels tale, a tiny blur in a dreadful photograph.
The buzzer sounds half an hour gone. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP…..BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP…….