28 Aug star gazing.
“`Cheshire Puss,’ she began, rather timidly (…) `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
`I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.
`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
`–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
`Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.’ “
I don’t live as an independent being, I am in a partnership, a team. This year marks our fifteenth wedding anniversary.
Being married is complicated and precious.
While I have been wading through my own mess, making discoveries and unearthing new truths along the way, Matt has been holding my hand, steadying me if I falter and putting up with a load of disturbance. He has ended up with mud on his boots too.
But all this time he has also been on his own journey. He has been conquering new ground and a lot of it has been hard won. Griefs of many kinds have assailed him, and of course if he encounters them, so do I. There have been moments of joy, a sense of profound change, and a real desire for it to be over, and soon – this period of up-earthing.
This summer seemed in some ways to mark the end of many parts of this journey. Some conclusions were reached.
We have been asking ourselves, ‘What matters now?’ and ‘Where do we head next?’
Matt remarked at the beginning of the summer, about six weeks ago, that it seemed as though there was nowhere solid to put our feet. As though we were walking on shifting sands, with no firm foundations.
I know what he means.
Learning to live on the ground of new discoveries is not straight forward. We are no longer the same. The structures around us on which we have relied, from which we have gained our status and sense of self, are not the same – or maybe I should say- we no longer see them in the same way. When success and achievement are not your benchmarks anymore it can be hard to recognise the finish line. When productivity and certainty are not the destination, it becomes difficult to know what is the right way forward.
Apparently when you learnt to fly a plane (not something I am ever planning on doing) the first time you encounter low cloud you lose sense of perspective really quickly. As the new pilot flies into the cloud she checks her instruments, she watches the gauges that tell her she is flying horizontally, that puts the horizon ahead and the ground beneath. However, soon the new pilot loses her trust in those dials and readings, she makes minute adjustment after minute adjustment, altering the path of her plane.
I’ve heard that the amount of new pilots who emerge from low cloud flying completely upside down is astonishing.
When you have lost your bearings and the cloud comes down it is difficult to know which way is up, and how to move forward.
We want a new map to follow. But we haven’t got one yet, and there are few reliable road signs. We meet others who have, or are at the moment, treading this new ground too. We encourage each other along the way, but so far no one has laid a path. The ground is very uneven and often the track disappears altogether. We are trying to write it down, this new guide, but we often double back on ourselves, or find ourselves at a dead end. It is not an exact science.
We have been forced to abandon our modern ways of navigating and have started trying to chart our course by the stars.
It is an ancient art, star gazing, and I am a beginner.
I haven’t done adequate astronomical study and it looks like it may take some time to learn.
So we have made a make-shift camp, in this no-mans’ desert land.
And we wait, like the magi, for the clouds to part, in search of the hope we have been promised