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Colder than Christmas

June 15, 2012

Well, this is just ridiculous. A week to midsummer, and it’s colder than Christmas! Last Christmas it was an exceptionally mild 13 degrees here: today it is grey, wet and eight degrees. (That’s about 55 and 46 in Fahrenheit.) The world seems topsy-turvy at the moment; time seems to have lost track of itself.

June wild flowers in December weather. I exaggerate, but only a little.

To be honest, this only reflects how we feel here at the moment anyway. Is it really the middle of June? We have barely noticed where the weeks have gone since the middle of May. It’s hard to make sense of time after the death of someone you love, isn’t it. Memory loops back on itself, bringing the person vividly to mind in random moments of their life even as you struggle to accept that you won’t see them again. A lifetime is linear: memories are not. It’s been a month since my father-in-law died, yet I’m not sure that the finality has sunk in for us yet.

To jump from the profoundly serious to the frivolous, all of this perhaps explains why I have abandoned regular posts here recently, or why they have abandoned me. The writing of a blog has suddenly seemed a rather anaemic pastime, irrelevant to real life. In bereavement, peripheral concerns fade out of focus. It is obvious what really matters: immediate family and their immediate needs. Everything else feels unimportant. This sharpening of focus is probably a survival tactic. One is drained of  the emotional or physical energy to manage anything except the essentials.

Returning here from time to time, though, I notice that readers have still been checking in at Dancing Beastie during my absences, which is very encouraging. When I’ve thought about blogging at all in the past few weeks, I’ve been having one of those periodic bouts of uncertainty about the whole thing: why, what, who for… you know the scene, I’m sure. However, my new camera has arrived, so I can take pictures again, and I have hopes that the desire to write is creeping back too. Certainly this corner of the world is as beautiful as ever, rain or no. To anyone who has checked in here over the past month, thank you. Realising that somebody, somewhere, is waiting patiently for Dancing Beastie makes this cold midsummer feel just a little warmer.

Through rowan leaves, a patch of blue sky.

For a cheerful and positive post about blogging, you might like Birthday Beastie, which also has some enjoyable comments from readers.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Julia, Gainesville, GA permalink
    June 16, 2012 4:43 am

    I haven’t had much time to check your site, but always read when you post a blog. This seems as great of time as any to tell you how much I love your blogs. My 12 yr old son took me hiking at our nature center this past week. It was a physical struggle for me. Even with the painful joints and difficulty breathing I took the time to notice the nature. I found a couple of trees that were very fascinating. I did take pictures to remind myself what a beautiful day I spent with my son. I thank you for opening my eyes to look in my backyard. Thank you for sharing your life and observations. Write when you can.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 20, 2012 10:48 pm

      I am so touched that my writing should have helped to inspire you. Thank you for reading and for your kind comments, Julia. It’s great that you managed to get out with your son, and you are so right: you don’t need to go far, you just need to open your eyes to your own backyard. As Calvin and Hobbes said, ‘there’s treasure everywhere!’

  2. June 16, 2012 9:55 am

    Do keep blogging, but you need time to turn inwards for a while. Bereavement strips everything bare. I have no memory at all of about six months after my mother died, which unfortunately means that I don’t remember my son’s childhood from the age of 18 months to 2 years. But then life resumes and memory becomes a source of joy rather than pain or absence.

    And oh! our weather today! I’m struck by how sappy your bunch of wildflowers is. The growth is getting too lush. Vividly green, yes, but not with much backbone.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 20, 2012 10:53 pm

      Losing six months is pretty extreme: how doubly sad for you. Grief takes people in strange ways, doesn’t it. After my father died, I remember having a sort of mini breakdown standing in the middle of Boots on Princes Street, furious with the world, unable to remember how to function (or shop for toiletries), frightened that I was going mad. Yes, it strips everything bare.
      And yet, as you say, now I remember my dad with joy and laughter, which is as it should be. That consolation will come for my husband too, eventually.

  3. June 16, 2012 10:53 am

    I have you on Google Reader so I never miss a post, no matter how few or far between they may be because – quite rightly – you have other concerns or commitments.
    Please do keep blogging when you’re in the mood to do so as your posts are always a welcome sight.
    (And yes, the weather is atrocious just now!).

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 20, 2012 10:54 pm

      Thank you: I’m honoured that you should keep track of my posts. I look forward to getting back into the swing of it sooner or later.

  4. June 16, 2012 5:35 pm

    This expressed exactly what it is like ” One is drained of the emotional or physical energy to manage anything except the essentials.”
    Your weather certainly is odd – maybe the nature and woods are mourning, too.
    Your sky photo is wonderful – a little patch of blue – the sky is still there – like everything else once you are ready.
    (Wish we could send you some of this overly warm weather…beginning to bake here…dog is beginning to not want to go out – but we drag her out twice a day – or she would get fat as a pig…well, we wouldn’t let that happen, but she does need a bit of exercise)
    Take care

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 20, 2012 10:56 pm

      ‘The sky is still there’: what a lovely thought, simple but profound. Silver linings and patches of blue are always worth noticing.

      I don’t envy you your too-warm weather. Give me snow over humidity any day!

  5. June 16, 2012 6:52 pm

    sending you a little of our South African winter sunshine. Out in the garden in a T-shirt again today collecting flowers for the next blog post.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 20, 2012 10:57 pm

      Flowers and African winter sunshine sound pretty heavenly, Diana. Thank you for the ‘virtual’ share!

  6. Erika W. permalink
    June 17, 2012 2:59 pm

    I get a very special pleasure from your blog, my dear. It puts me back in tune with the natural world as well as reminding me of many good times spent in Scotland with my first husband, a Highland Scotsman who died many years ago.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 20, 2012 10:59 pm

      Oh, you are kind, Erika. Your gentle encouragement has often helped me through the low patches. I am glad to be able to bring you the good times too.

  7. June 20, 2012 4:00 am

    Blog when the words are within you; we’ll wait around when the words are missing. You know those EKG printouts of heart rates? Those high points and low points? That has always seemed to me to be a visual of the grief process. And oh the weather. Here we are calling it Junuary. Rain, rain, and more rain, and believe it or not, today a brief flurry of snow mixed in. Hope the sunshine returns to you in more ways than one.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 20, 2012 11:01 pm

      Thank you, Lisa. What a striking image, grief as an EKG printout. Having been through it before, I see exactly what you mean. It’s just the natural process.
      Snow at midsummer – well I do believe you, as the last patches of snow on our hills melted only a fortnight ago! Here’s hoping for some sunshine for you too.

  8. hmunro permalink
    June 20, 2012 5:58 pm

    It is both wise and understandable to conserve one’s energy while grieving, DB, because grieving is hard work. Your loyal readers understand. And we’ll stick by you. It’s always a joy to read your posts … and they’re always worth the wait. A big hug to you from Minnesota.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 20, 2012 11:04 pm

      Thank you so much, my loyal friend! Yes, it is damn hard work, isn’t it. We just take it a step at a time, and cherish moments of kindness and beauty and all the other things that make this a beautiful world.

      • hmunro permalink
        June 21, 2012 1:37 am

        Grief is damned hard work indeed, dear DB. And this is something we all instinctively know, yet we also all forget — until we find ourselves struggling against the quicksand of sadness and nostalgia and regret. But if we can still find beauty in the world and be touched by small acts of kindness, we will not be swallowed by that dark place. I know it’s of small comfort, but I am right beside you in spirit, taking one step at a time. xo

  9. June 20, 2012 8:22 pm

    I too use Google Reader, so never miss a post. We’ll be here to read when you feel like writing a post or posting a photo. Take your time and batten down the hatches when you feel like it. Today has been glorious, comparatively speaking!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 20, 2012 11:05 pm

      Oh, thank you, Jo, that’s lovely to know. And yes, hasn’t it been wonderful to have a day or two of relative warmth. I’ve been sneaking out of doors at every opportunity, drinking it in.

      • June 21, 2012 9:35 pm

        Sneak in and out when you can – we are in Scotland, so we
        have to take advantage when the nice days come 🙂

  10. June 24, 2012 5:48 pm

    Reading the comments from other readers – and your replies – is almost as enjoyable as reading your posts. I hope that drained feeling is replaced by renewed energy and joie de vivre that you can feel free to write about and share in that poetic way you have.

  11. June 24, 2012 5:50 pm

    oh, and by the way, last Thursday while in Spain, the temperature reached an exhaustive 47C. I am glad to be back home where it is a more respectable 25C!!

  12. June 26, 2012 1:26 pm

    Dear DB, given how recently your father-in-law died, I would have been surprised to read anything else from you. You are in my Reader too and I will welcome your posts when you feel ready to write them, but for the moment your own needs and those of your family come before everything else. I so identify with the way grief makes previous enjoyments and activities at least temporarily irrelevant.

    As ever I much enjoyed following the link you gave and the link from that post too. 🙂 I’v only been reading you for just over a year and there were so many lovely posts before then.

  13. July 1, 2012 3:10 pm

    I too am unsurprised you don’t feel like blogging at the moment. As you say, sometimes it seems a frivolous and inappropriate thing to do. And at times it’s hard to write or even WANT to write. So take your time. Please don’t abandon us completely though! As you know I tend not to write much in my posts but I love illustrating life with a few photos and a bit of text. I do hope that your new camera may be the way to bring you back to bloggingin the future. But for now, you are right, family and their needs and yours must come first.


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