We are all a heartbeat away from doing something good


Tuesday June 25th

We are all only a heartbeat away from doing something good…

woken up by pale fingers of early sunlight curling around the bedroom curtains… 5.45am hmmm…

lay quietly and watched it travelling lazily across the wardrobe mirror hoping that Pan would not perceive my wakefulness with that annoying talent for sending their minds through closed doors that cats have.

No luck… I was rumbled, maybe I breathe differently when I’m awake.

Plaintive yowling and wanton carpet destruction dragged me from my duvet and I stumbled upstairs to wrestle with cat food pouches whilst he casually pulled at my hair. Cally cat still fast asleep, being deaf she operates on her own timetable of eating, sleeping and tree gymnastics.

Made a coffee and went back to bed to check the duvet wasn’t getting lonely… at some point I turned on radio 4 which burbled on soothingly (yes, I do find the today programme soothing, I’m weird like that..) until I heard this line during thought for the day…

We are all only a heartbeat away from doing something good…

I have so often heard that anyone could be capable of evil given the right circumstances but it’s odd that this is the first time I have heard the same about goodness. And it’s true that we spend a great deal of time imagining the worst that can happen and framing our view of our fellow human beings in terms of suspicion that we can easily forget, that like you and me, most people are instinctively humane and helpful, even to those they don’t yet know…

I try to hold on to that thought, hold it as I listen to horrors on the news, hold it when something happens that shakes my confidence in the truth of it and hold it as I see pictures posted on facebook of animals having altruistic relationships with strangers of another species with comments suggesting we have much to learn from them and why aren’t people like this…

I have no doubt that we have an enormous amount to learn from every single being who lives on the earth with us but we already know how to be selflessly compassionate and caring. It is in every single one of us to walk around a snail in our path, to smile at people in the street, to offer help to someone struggling with a pushchair onto a bus and to rescue a child separated from his mother by a rogue tube train door as happened to me in London once… even to risk our lives for a total stranger.

We are all only a heartbeat away from doing something good...

it’s a good thought that one and I’m holding it. 🙂


The long long weekend


Friday 21st June

The worst part of today was being ever so gently ejected from the ward as they prepared to take Bill to theatre… It felt as though I was leaving my heart behind.

Can’t sleep alone in our bed, elsewhere beds yes, where my sleepy searching hands find other,smaller boundaries and return resigned to each other…but in the bed we have shared for so long they search hopefully throughout the night, unable to comprehend the space that has opened up were you should be.

Saturday 22nd June

Saturday morning after the frightening Friday… the rain arrives and I walk Salsa through the misty light along the edge of the woods, they smell very lovely this morning, like warm water dropped onto spices. Frothy cow parsley trembles delicately above the buttercups and speedwell and the last few forget me knots, lonely blue buttons at the end of curling bare stems. The post Solstice quietness of the birds only broken by the hoarse soft crooning of wood pigeons and the alarm calls of Blackbirds as Salsa bustles through the undergrowth.

Lost and late in June, Mayflies whirr erratically up from the river in the still damp air…

a solitary yellow leaf lies on the purple path, like a tiny golden heart.

I need this green haven more each year that passes, with my own seasons starting to be more keenly understood I feel more connected with it’s slow inhalation and exhalation as the year turns and the cycle completes as always, despite delays, despite vagaries of weather and light, the primroses and wood anemones will appear. The river will run brown and furious and then clear and damselfly calm.

The wild garlic will rise boldly in a festival of green and white and heady fragrance and disappear almost as quickly, lying prone and pale in swathes under the trees

As I waver between the frenzied activity and total inertia brought on by anxiety, the lodestone of my psyche spun this way and that by dreams and fears I hold the continuity and change of my environment behind my eyelids and picture the future knowing change is inevitable and eternal.

My Dad tells me that he found me sitting on the back doorstep very still once when I was about 6 years old ‘what are you doing Katherine? He asked. ‘Oh, just being’ I replied.

Pleasure in really small things… motes of dust in the sunlight on a quiet afternoon, stirring a large pan of soup, raindrops on alchemilla like tiny worlds of light.

Over to see Bill later,  he relieved that he still had his memory intact (I did point out that unless he was keeping it in his foot it was probably fairly safe…) me so happy the fearful anticipatory look had gone and the pain seemed to be minimal, for now at least.


Sunday 23rd June

any resemblance between me and a three toed sloth this morning was coincidental, no, really… stop giggling at the back there…

after the stretch, stretch stretch of the band of tension and fear comes the boing as it releases… in my case I boinged straight back into bed and fluffing the duvet furiously around me experimented with extremely slow coffee consumption.. (I had promised myself I would get up again when I had finished the cup)

Then the text from Tesco arrived cheerfully informing me that my groceries would arrive between 11 and 12.00 today and the string of swearwords that followed when I remembered I was supposed to be on the Ironbridge at 11.45 for the debut performance of my new Tribe, the Severn Sisters… the inevitable happened and he arrived dead on 12.00. as he unloaded the van he uttered a few choice words that led me to believe his morning had been more Mad Max than Postman Pat so teasing him about his last minuteness did not seem like a good plan. He did not seem at all surprised that someone would answer the door on a Sunday morning covered in makeup and Bhindi though…

Arriving in Ironbridge at 12.30pm we dashed across the Bridge to find my lovely Sisters had just finished their first dance! So proud of them getting on with it without me but wish I could have arrived when they were still dancing to cheer them on!

We danced two more times, in the rain and the not rain and it was utterly lovely to get up and just dance, with no wondering what was supposed to happen next but a sense that something would, even if it was a bit of ¾ shimmy thinking time 😉 I also had the chance to follow during performance at last which I really loved, it feels so connected and gives such a sense of shared consciousness…. yummy…. xx

you know that running on the spot with the jazz hands thingy that 5 year olds do? Every fibre of my being wanted to do that… still does now I’m thinking about it again.