I have been in the house all week. The combination of a dislocated shoulder and days of snow and ice have kept me on the inside, looking out, behind the glass. For once I am not missing it, the outside. The fear of falling has made me glad to be indoors, and I have plenty to keep me occupied between Gaelic still to learn (since a language is something you can never reach the end of learning) and the internet to entertain and a stack of real, hard-copy books that’s part of my collection and intention to resume a reading habit.

Yet still something keeps on gnawing at me, some missing connection, some missing link, some meaningful sustained creative practice, some way to reach beyond the glass.

~~~

Friday morning, five past nine, I watch the birds through the living room window. The waters of the loch beyond are cold, a steely grey. Clouds drift above the water. As I watch, the clouds shift in colour, the edges tinged with the first hints of sunrise, as the morning starts to break behind the hill. The moment fills with hints of goldlight, edge of sunlight, the heart is full for just one moment with nothing but the rising of the morning.

Watching through the living room window, the headlights of my neighbour’s car creep slowly down the hill.

~~~

Fragment by fragment, I remind myself. Although for more than a long time I have wished that I could shape and mould these fragments of mine into form, into poems, into essays, into three lines even or the rhythm of 17 syllables they are resolute in their defiance and slip away if I chase them too hard. Perhaps that is all that there is for me, and perhaps that too is enough.

~~~

I take a photograph from the inside out. Picking up letters from the porch the light pulls me, demands I find my phone and take a photo, through the glass. I still don’t know why or what it is, this need to take photographs, even today stuck inside, taking pictures through the glass-glare, once again this magnetic desire: to click, to notice, to say thank you.

looking out

~~~

I have been feeding the birds by the door for fear of setting foot on the ice. I notice the pattern of their feeding on the ice, marking their time this week, and mine.

bird tracks

~~~

Reading this made me think about how we make connections online. Although the article’s about love, it reminded me, wistfully, of how much I used to believe in blogging as a human, democratic form, and the possibilities it offered us to forge connections, to stretch out our hands, to offer some small glimpse of our selves to others. Has that possibility really gone, or is still ours to claim?

~~~

More snow has fallen, soft and crunchy. The ice-fear reduces and I walk into the garden. The sun is falling through the shadows of the trees, I mean its branches, I mean here for a moment there is nothing but this meld of shadow tree and sunlight snow and a roll of winter’s memory.

Snowlight

~~

Perhaps this is my practice. Perhaps this place and space, this knowledge I have of how to link and mix together pictures and words, to piece together fragments, perhaps this act of blogging is of itself, for me, creative practice, no need for more.

~~~

Saturday morning, sunlit snow. Feeling stronger, fitter, brighter, braver and with someone else in the house during daytime hours in case I’m needing rescued I venture out at last, five minutes down the road. A snow path by the harbour. Sunlight glinting on snow. The sun is strong and the air delicious. The starlings are shouting with the love of it, their squawks like a serenade. I wish I could lie down on the snow path and take photo after photo of the way the light falls. It feels like Christmas morning, like New Year’s morning, like the first morning.

snow and shadow

3 Replies to “Behind the Glass

  1. I love that you still blog, that you still love changing blog themes, taglines and titles. I love your constant search for the essence of who you are and what you create. That’s the beauty of the medium, the power it gives us to transform our lives into layers of living, breathing poetry through captured moments and the space and silences that surround them.

    I hope that you will always feel a deep longing to craft your life into art and share it with us. Nearly ten years now I’ve been enjoying the glimpses you give us of your creative life and you’ve become one of my favourite poets.

    And take care of that shoulder. I hope we can catch up soon. I really must stop doing this Rip Van Winkle cyberhibernation thing. You live by a loch now!?

    • Hello Janice, you’re right about blogging and its potential. I came very close to stopping, in fact I’d start to take old posts down so I could have cleaned everything up by the end of this year and then say goodbye to it, but then thought better of it – for all the (many) faults of the online world, this medium is still both canvas and conversation, the opportunity to say things the way that we see them in the hope of what – some small, heart-felt connection.

      Erm yes, re the loch, we might just have moved house again in the autumn – I can see a sea loch from the window, Loch Erisort, east coast of Lewis. (We decided just to go for it big style.) Let me know when you’re next up here and we can catch up!

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