The gift of time

Today, I was due back up at the Sill to facilitate a storytelling session for all around the themes of Hadrian’s Wall and the new Lost Words exhibition. Unfortunately, due to adverse weather conditions, the event has been cancelled.

Even though, I’d spent the last few days in preparation for the storytelling, which I view as time well spent not wasted, I’m grateful for the free time I’ve been gifted today. I felt as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulder and now I can relax into Sunday. And I’m not going to rush and fill this empty time with all the jobs I have piling up with the house or family or work related stuff.

What I intend to do and what I’ve been doing is to remain curious and allow myself to be intuitively guided towards what I feel I want or need to do. Okay I might have to do some dishes or we’ll be eating off our hands all day. But at the same time, I’ve been visiting my visual journal and experimenting with my resources; journalling, moving paint around, doodling, dreaming. Being creative but just enjoying the process and not really thinking about the end product.

Sometimes, I need to take the time and space to remember the benefits of my visual journalling practice, what it’s seen me through, supporting my healing and grieving, and how it supports me to remain curious about my creativity but also life, my life in general.

Recipe: Oven Roasted Potatoes

Today I thought I’d share something that I cooked. As I mentioned before, I’m a vegan and I receive emails from Vegan Bowls by Coconut Bowls weekly. This little beauty, Oven Roasted Breakfast Potatoes was in my inbox today and I just had to try it. Delicious comfort food is always a hit wirh me especially when it’s cold outside.

Recipe by @eatwithclarity

Ingredients
5 cups chopped red or yukon gold potatoes (about 4–5 medium potatoes)
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp old bay seasoning
Black pepper to taste
Chopped parsley, for garnishing

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chop the potatoes, onion, and pepper into small pieces and add to a large bowl.
Toss with the olive oil and minced garlic until everything is well coated.
Add in the spices, salt, and black pepper and mix until well incorporated.
Add to a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. You shouldn’t need to grease the baking dish since the potatoes are all oiled up!
After 25 minutes, turn up the heat to 425 and bake an additional 10-15 minutes to help brown the potatoes. You’ll know they’re done when they can be easily pierced with a fork.
Serve with ketchup, additional salt and pepper, salad, or any other brunch eats!

Toad Bible

Our teak sideboard housed the Bible. A small leather thing like a black toad. I think it travelled across miles of ocean lodged in my father’s chest. It didn’t actually croak but shook and I swear I heard it breathing when I ran passed the sideboard into the glass cabinet shattering the patterned glass into tiny pieces. I spent my entire childhood picking up those pieces of glass and adding them to a jigsaw box. In all the hundreds of years we were trapped in that maisonette, with the shaking sideboard with the breathing bible, we never could afford to replace that glass. 

The Mountain

I started 2020 off by starting an online course with Creative Non-Fiction called Writing the Lyric Essay: When Poetry & Nonfiction Play. It’s five weeks of writing time on my personal essays and I’m enjoying reading a range of new writers as well as reacquainting myself with ones of old.

Last week was looking at the lyric essay in relation to e prose poem. I was introduced to the weird and wonderful work of Charles Simic and the early work of Toi Derricotte. It was a lovely week of red and writing and the words just seemed to flow. Here I share a piece with you called The Mountain.

We climb in the rising heat
and I feel heavy.
Rucksack clinging around
my waist like a troll,
I’m at the end of the line, always, as if I need the others, fitter and whiter than me, to pull me up the steep pass.
I tell myself, I’m taking my time to savour the moment, enjoy the view as my breath escapes like a monoprint; white lake
surrounded by shades of grey; flint, slate, gun-metal to charcoal.
The majestic mountain.
Because I’m afraid to love,
I keep my wetsuit on
and enter on foal legs
the clearest blue lake
known locally as bottomless
as well as home to a water dragon. The dragon does not scare me.

However, letting go does.

The Weekend

It’s been a busy weekend. I’m not sure if it was planned that way or if it just creeped up on us. But it was definitely a family kind of time. And as I start getting ready for turning in with a good book ( more to say here as I share my reading for the month soon), I do so with a contented smile on my face.

For the last few months, the weekend has come and gone with nothing to show for it. Yes this is prime time to rest and recover from the week. But it is also important time to reconnect with those closest to me. My peeps. And this can be done inside or outside the house. The important thing is to make the time. And to be honest, we haven’t been making the time.

I feel the difference, now at Sunday night, of enjoying a weekend where we have made time for each other. We’ve been to a basketball match as a family. Met up with friends for rollerblading. Went on an evening excursion to look at the dark skies. It was cloudy though but still a learning experience. And then today, having granddad round for dinner, was the best way to round it all off.

We’re not made of money and probably couldn’t do all these activities every weekend. But it wasn’t so much about what we did or where we went. It was all about spending time with each other.

I’m grateful for what we did this weekend as well as how we were. Doing and being together has set me up for the week ahead with a smile in my heart.