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The images of dysfunction flicker past, our mirror neurones learning how to copy without conscious effort. For once I'd like to see a reality tv show of happy and functional families, no drama, just smiles and love. I want to see how it's done because God knows after the war, after generations of trauma even the kids are in the psychological trenches.
The mittens lay on the radiator, warm and dry. It was where Clara always put them, there with her woollen hat and scarf. They had the look of knitwear that had aged a bit, the once neat rows adorned with lumps and bumps, much like the look of a lamb in spring fields. I don't think I ever saw her in winter without them, and she wore them into spring too, until the weather warmed our skin and called the flowers from the earth. I think she must have liked the feeling of those mittens, something cosy, as if her hand was held and warmed by another. Or maybe it was a hark back to a childhood passed, to the days making snowmen in the backyard. Either way, it was her, beautiful Clara, always looking cosy inside and out.
Snow rests upon the park bench as if it were a feather cushion, soft and warm. It covers the rich, deep wood in perfect white. The snow is a gift-wrap only spring will open, revealing the engrained beauty that lives safely below, protected these long winter months. As the sun rises each morning, bestowing brilliance, igniting colours to vibrant hues - man dreams below of planting seeds, of the bounty of the gardens to come.
Every emotion is okay, helpful in the right situation. The dark emotions are like salt, just a pinch adds flavour, yet too much ruins the entire dish. Envy can be motivation to better the self, when combined with being a good sport and wanting what is best for others, it can bring positive results. A pinch of hate toward an abuser can lead to freedom and a positive life with one who truly loves in the protective and nurturing way. A pinch of greed can help you to hang on to things you need for yourself or loved ones in your care. The trick of it all is to remember what is salt and what is food; the food is love, empathy, kindness, joy, compassion, nurture, protection, integrity... the salt is envy, hate, greed, anger, sloth... If you have vastly more food than salt, everything will be alright.
Above all else, the king was a man. I saw him in good times and bad, always weighed with the responsibility he accepted for others. He was brave on the inside, willing to see his flaws and work to be a better human being, kinder, more empathic. He was brave on the outside, leading from the front regardless of personal cost. Everyone else had to see him flawless, the polished version to inspire such confidence, but not me. Everyone needs somebody to be a child with, to cry on, to tell their fears to. He was afraid of not being enough, of failing in sacred duty, of his purpose unfulfilled, weighty as it was. I can tell you that he was always enough for me, as a man, as a king. He never needed a crown, or fine things, or the hedonistic wants men can develop with greedy hearts. He never needed to ask for my love, it was his. One who nurtures needs love. One who leads needs solace. One with a brave heart needs a champion of their own, a protector to have faith in them when darkness is at their door. It takes a queen to stand by a king, and a king to stand by a queen - equally loving, equally brave, equally duty bound as protectors in all ways.
Kyanne drags her worn pumps over the sidewalk cracks between the bakery and the drug store. Between them she has three-quarter hours but with the travelling and delays between shifts she's out longer than a junior doctor. Low pay and no benefits, casual all the way - great for the employer. Kyanne is a true bargain. The cheque is cut by her university debts, the tuition for a degree that never got her foot in any doors. As she walks she hears her mother telling her not to take an Arts subject, to be a nurse or a dental hygienist. But Kyanne loved colour and shape and form. She dreamed in oils and thought in imagery. She could conjure fantastical ideas no number cruncher ever could, open doors to new ways of thinking. She pushes open the drug store door, painting a smile on her face that almost brought a spasm to her cheek muscles. "Hello."
"Kyanne, mop the floor before you reorganize the back shelf. There's vomit in aisle three."
Tomorrow the promise of spring will blossom as flowers do, yet today the wind blows cold, the last serenade winter's song. Upon the grass there is snow, much like sprinkled sugar over cake. The frigid air has a way of keeping us in the moment, wicking away body heat faster than it is replaced. It's one of those days when normal clothes aren't enough, when they feel thinner than they are. Breaths rise in puffs, arms hug each body tightly and there is a briskness to movements that will melt with the snow. Come tomorrow faces will reflect the warmth of the sun in their smiles; today they show resilience and a will to prevail.
"We didn't fight Nazi ideology just to let it in the back door. Fail to fight racism and Churchill will be spinning in his grave. Patriotic is looking after everyone right, loving everyone, pulling together in our communities as Brits do. I'm tired of this BS; it's not just mentally lazy clap-trap, messed up excuses to hate and take cheap superiority and entitlement rides, it's the first tip toe into evil and we've all seen where that leads."
Upon the English grass sits a robin, his red plumage so bright amid verdant strands. I see him as a rain-drop of life, a miracle in feathers, hopping on black legs. He has a joy that comes through the early spring air, a happiness that flies in every direction, all at once, as he searches for worms and beetles upon the soil.
They say what I do doesn't matter; they're wrong. I could do an experiment of water dripping onto hard stone and declare in a week, a month or year that the water has no effect on the stone. Yet what of hundreds of years, or millennia? What then? Would the stone not be a halo of rock, the water passing cleanly through? When work is of the heart and not the ego, I move with confidence and pride. There is a kind of humbleness that stands in plain sight, a quiet heart who has found a way to be joyful in positive purpose.
Grandpa would remind me how little I can see with my eyes, how much I can see with my heart. He would say that all the eyes call tell you is a result of what happened, never the reason, the intention, the deep emotions that swim below. "It is only with the heart," he said, "that we can see pain, see the sadness that dwells beneath anger." Perhaps when the heart is our eyes, our eyes show love, and we feel connected within, healed, able to walk with compassion.
Somewhere above this sky, born of the colour of summer Iris, swirl galaxies of brilliant stars. On fine days such as this I feel their energy the same way the smile of one I love infuses my soul, raises me higher. So I pause, let my feet join the serenity of quietness, and breathe. That's when I feel it all the more, sense energy from the trees, the birdsong and the very soil upon which I stand. They say the universe is all connected, as are we all, and in this moment it's so tangible, real.