Janice Salmon

Connections


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“What you are seeking is already looking”

 

Last month I took up a FaceBook challenge, a Quest. The idea was to create a journey with a bag of tools and set off to embrace a sacred space. I found myself under the large spruce tree in my garden, on the bench, in the shade. A favourite summer spot, this time with my bag of tools. The idea of this Quest was to carve some self-care time and to re-evaluate how time is spent in everyday existence. What we do, what we love, what we have forgotten. What is joy? What is self-love? And fun when we put it into alone time.

I found myself sat in front with a sketch pad and pencils. As I sat each day I just allowed, I fell into this silent space and surrendered to the pencil and paper. I was completely immersed in a dimension of calm. I was captivated by the subtle hues, the absence of thought and the silence.

What I set out to do was find a direction, a journey, a quest. What I found was the pause button, to still life in chaos and hit mute. A state of polarities appeared. The chaos of challenges in life and a sense of stillness. The state of polarities attracting for the higher perspective. I didn’t find this great journey or adventure in the planning but what I did find was an inner state …. the eye within the storm….

Or the profound words “what you are seeking is already looking” (St. Francis) now I understand…..seeking calm amid the storm ….. A state of being. The eye within the eye……

(CFFC- Eyes)


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The Forest ……chapter 6… Storytelling for anxiety and all those feelings…..

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This morning I heard voices. I clung to the table in front of the window and eyed out into the daylight as I saw two people walking briskly by, I remember that, they walked side by side. I froze, they laughed, as they snaked the path into the greenness and were gone. It seems so long since I fixed my sights on other people. They were dressed for hiking with sturdy foot wear, like mine, I remember them stuck in the mud.

You know I wasn’t even sure at this moment that my voice actually still worked, I hadn’t spoke for so long. I hadn’t even talked out loud to myself, not a word, not a hum, a song, a phrase, nothing. I’m now aware that I need to be ready, I need to rehearse my vocal cords.

I have been following a set routine to last the day, finding comfort in the conformity. The cabin now seems familiar and I feel I have come to know every floor board, the ones that creak, where the drafts come in, where the sun rises, the sound of the birds, the stream running at the back of the cabin and the wind and the sound it makes brushing the leaves.

Something is not right within me. I see the world outside, people walking, talking and laughing, I stay quiet within, I hold my breath within, I keep myself within. There is fear within these walls and fear outside of these walls. I no longer have the presence of comfort. I feel I can not rest. So why do I stay hidden when I want so much to be found, to be rescued?

So what is it that I fear the most?


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The Forest… Part 5…Night..

 

The fire is a necessity for warm but it plays on the walls and disturbs me. I keep the back of the chair against the wall and my feet up. My breathing is that of a creature in the forest running from a predator. Every rib over extending, aching from back bone circling to breast with a final stab at the sternum. My stomach tightens pulling inwards bringing a secondary duller pain in the core of me. All muscles from feet to throat pulled to contraction even my neck gripped so tight it was painful to swallow.

The wind, the leaves, the rocking of the branches above the cabin all as if just behind me. I turn sharply. “Nothing, think, think outside not near, it’s all outside not in here. Wind, whistling behind me, not in hear, outside.  I wake an hour or so later. “What happened”? I am tightly wrapped in my blanket, I listen again. Chest tightens, round two begins.

 

 


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The Forest…Part 4…Gifted…

I think this is day four. I found treasure today, I feel that this cabin is giving me favours. I was sure I checked everything everywhere when I first arrived but granted I must have been so tired. Anyway… this gift appeared on the floor under the window. Dusty and brown matching the wooden floor boards, no wonder I had missed it, especially as no light enters under the window at any point day or night.

Back to the point… I found a notebook and pencil like a shopping list notebook, small and thin but what a find.  I thought how great I can log my days, like a captain’s log. This will give me so much to tell them when I am found, all the questions, I will be all over the place trying to remember. I’ll start to track back put down the first day, the second, till now.

The strangest thing happened today. I sat outside after first collecting the water and berries. I just looked at my place, like really looked, I don’t think I have ever been so visual before. I now only have time on my hands, only the days pass so I just seem to notice the green. It’s amazing I know you will think I am going mad, but everything is so green. I won’t write more now, wasting paper.


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The Forest…Part 3…stuck in the mud…

I hear the birds at sunset as they gather themselves high in the trees. In the cabin the light fades from hues of orange, to blues to black, mesmerising me, enticing me to close my eyes. In the last light I push the table in front of the door, position the chair ninety degrees, my arm on the table top, I rest my head, my eyelids too heavy to lift…all is dark anyway. The cabin is now my shelter, a square shack, old and tired, draughty too. I have not heard the door handle rattling at night so I now sleep some hours in the dark. The wall opposite the door is made of stone and after pulling boards away from the centre to reveal a fire grate, I can light a small fire. In the grate was a tin pan, a cup and a spoon and camping flint. My feet are still so cold and I use the blanket I found here to wrap them at night. But they are so terribly cold. The fire produces some heat but it loses to the draughts eventually. The floor is made of wooden boards and the spaces between the slats means only the chair can be slept on, but dawn breaks with sun, always the sun.

My days have been spent venturing outside of the cabin. I wake to the sound of the birds, such a noise…and hunger pains.  Only a few feet away is a stream, just across the path, a safe distance to collect water I heat in the pan and drink. I found berry bushes at the side of the shack too, probably planted by the previous owner. I can survive on this for a few nights as I am sure people will be looking for me by now so if I just stay… they will come. Occasionally at midday I think I hear voices, like on that first day. I am unable to climb that embankment it seems too steep and wet  from the rain. People are close… I know it, so it will only be a day maybe and I will be found. I feel I need to remain here near the shack, to wander into the woods again would be so foolish. I would only enter the muddy paths again and the rain would purge down… like that first day. I am resolved…resolved to being found. I have no map, no compass to find my way back …I can’t be stranded again like that frozen day. No, staying here is the only option now, soon they will come…I know it.


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The Forest….Part 2 The story continues…..

I hear voices and look skyward. The light through the leaves streams yellow into my vision. I squint, the hiss of the rain has stopped. I hear birds and movement from a subtle breeze waffling the greenery. The path I came along is adjacent to a banking of terraced trees. In the darkness it looked dense and dark. In the skimming light I can now see the boarder of the trees at a high level.

“Maybe there is a wall under the foliage? I definitely hear sounds, speech or breeze? I don’t know.”

I am unable to move without pain. My feet feel as if all circulating blood had been replaced by ice. I wriggle my toes stabbing axon to axon. Cold wet and fragile, I move, yes… I move one foot with a pained gasp, my lips splutters the wetness out into the air from my soaked face. A deep inhale and the other foot is free. I flip sideways to a more solid area of grown grass. My thighs ache into my knees and this sudden movement races into my pelvis shooting metal rods into my hips. I stop, stand and bend the knees and then straighten completely to free the cramped joints.

“Do they know I’m down here are they coming to rescue me?”

I stand for what seems like an hour. I have no way of knowing how long I have been ridged into this mud. Now more alert, I have kick started a powerful force of adrenaline which now arrows through my veins. My mouth wet, now dry, tongue engorged, lips pitted and crack, I taste blood.

I’m alert, my senses have gone from exhaustion to hypersensitivity, now a different trembling is upon my muscles. There is a loud drumming in my ears, percussion on my chest wall. My eyes now are failing to see through light and give false double images, I try to blinking rapidly to regain my sight. My wet skin now pins as pores heat up the more I move. I feel my bare feet change to full dexterity but I stumble. The forest floor feels like pine needles that stab into the soles of my waking feet. The smell is becoming overpowering as if someone has thrown a damp pine branch onto a fire and the scent is carried into my brain and my nose is aching all the way through into my sinuses with the pungent poison.

I hurry, bent over, scurrying, up ahead I see a shed,

“I know this forest” and without hesitation I heavily fist the latch and shove the door open.

One room, one single room inside, one table one chair. There is a blanket on the chair as if left just for me. Someone… knew…. I was coming.


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The Forest…..storytelling in a modern world

 

This is a repost of a blog from a while back….now the story continues. I have finished  the journey, a metaphor and metaphysical story……so far. Please check back next week for part two….

Thank you for stopping by..

jungleLoneliness is an interesting feeling. Out here I never felt so alone. I followed the river and the water mesmerised my vision as if it was being siphoned into a spiralling hole underneath my gaze. My feet sunk into the dark wet mud. The cold covered the skin like small cuts of a knife into the flesh and the colour of my skin was no more than of bone. The iced feeling chilled every part of me. Legs to torso, to jaw to scalp, all rattling like an old escalator, but going nowhere.

The rain bulleted from the darkest of skies. It filtered through branches, leaves exponentially poured onto my shoulder then stopped, wittingly collecting again awaiting to restart. My hair was heavy, eyes cloudy, as my forehead drained upon my face and my chin streamed a river of water onto my chest. I posed with knees together, fists together but no warmth exulted from this angle of arms into breast. Here in the mud, the moment, I was frozen.

My clothes tightly wrapped around legs and arms as the cold cloth stained into my body unmoveable. The fall sustained further back had splattered earth to my hands and face that bit into flesh. The shoes lay somewhere cemented into the ground on the path, so bare feet chilled into bone, to marrow.

I couldn’t hear birds call, or traffic nearby nor human – animal movements due to hissing of the rain. Foolish to venture these muddy paths of riveted blackness, stoops and drains like treacle. No saviour will come this way, I and only I can make my way out of this dissented climate. I have been here too long. A lift of foot, a step, a bleeding pained first step is required just one, just rise and step away.


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WordPress Weekly Discover Challenge: Snapshots – Nightmare Nightclub

Nightmare….stranded. This is just great. The surge of anger at herself fuzzed the situation and the previous few hour’s alcohol wasn’t helping. She still had her house key so the only thing bothering her now was getting from A to B. There was only one thing for it just start walking. It was 1am. The nightclub had started emptying and she couldn’t see any of her friends even now as the lights started to flicker on for chucking out.

Outside was a chaotic gathering of party goers and taxis, she had to leave. She walked in the direction of her clumsy compass. She got to the end of the road and recognised some buildings, great right turn. She was consoled by the well-lit direct route ahead. She looked up for a moment, this is familiar, then fear hit her feet. This was the area of the city where she had worked in a medical centre as a student, the red light district with all the stories she had been told during her placement. Including this renowned location as one of the most dangerous streets in the country. Over the road out of the corner of her eye were a huddle of figures, she dared not turn her head, she walk faster. She now hoped to God she was invisible. She saw the medical centre in the distance that meant the end of the road. Now just a short walk up hill through the well-known street gang area. Great. She hadn’t thought this through, but what other choice did she have.

Footsteps now pattered behind her, louder, thundering. She turned sharply, stumbling due to the pace her feet had been panicking. Approaching was the man she had spoken to for part of the night at the bar. Nice bloke, no cheesy wanker but a boy from the same small town background, finding himself in an edgy club that seemed too much like a movie set and borderline illegal.

“I shouted you, but hell you can walk. I saw you leave and thought what is she doing? Mad cow.”

“I lost my purse in there” she explained.

“Pocketed I bet. I was gonna offer you a lift in our taxi then you strutted off.”

“Can we walk?”

As they walked, they talked and realised they were both talking ten to the dozen. Adrenaline no doubt. They seemed to have reached to her front door without realising how far they had come.

“I’m here”

They stopped. Silent for a time, just breathing. The alcohol fueled confidence had dispersed and they hesitated as to what to do next.

“That must have been one of the craziest things I’ve ever done” he said.

“What you? You’re in the Army! In the Gulf! Walking home is crazy?”

“We’re well kitted out”

They laughed.

Hell he wasn’t wrong. That must have been one of the most dangerous,  idiotic things, to risk your life getting home from a nightclub. Another awkward moment, then they were distracted by a bus passing at the top of the street. Night buses that stopped round the corner at the hospital gates, he pointed and ran in that direction waving as he went. No number, no call me, nothing exchanged. She half expected a knock at the door some weeks later and they would have laughed at the crazy girl that walks so fast her feet don’t touch the floor!

Years later she tells this story to a friend. The friend asks,”was he in white, no name given, and vanished faster than you blink?” She looks puzzled. The friend explains that she believes we are sent earth angels in dangerous times to keep us safe. You know, the guy was dressed completely in white.

(For the WP Weekly Discover Challenge: Snapshots)


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Snowdrops – Winter’s Delicate Flower

Snowdrops1

Snowdrops are a delightful sight in February. They give a bright feel to mossy grounds which sparks a little joy on a grey day. These flowers are known to have approximately 20 variations of species and can grow up to 30cm tall. The botanical name is Galanthus, gala in Greek means “milk” and anthos, meaning “flower”(Wikipedia.org).

Although they are cultivated far and wide it is thought that they are native to eastern Europe. It is believed that many soldiers of the Crimean War brought small bundles of these bulbs back to Britain, but were first documented in Botanical text in the 16th century (www.nhm.ac.uk). Today they are cherished and there are dedicated Snowdrop Gardens open throughout the UK.

The snowdrops delicate nature has attracted the attention of many poets. Emily Dickinson, the garden lover, often uses metaphors to describe elements of nature. In the poem “I taste a liquor never brewed” she is giving praise to her garden, “drunk” on the intoxication of scent, beauty and botanical skills in cultivation. She uses metaphor to convey feelings, in my opinion, of her joy in the garden. I love the last stanza as she refers to the “seraphs” (a variety of snowdrop) as they “swing their snowy hats”.

I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not all the Vats upon the Rhinesnowdrops3
Yield such an Alcohol!
 
Inebriate of air – am I –
And Debauchee of Dew –
Reeling – thro’ endless summer days –
From inns of Molten Blue –
 
When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door –
When Butterflies – renounce their “drams” –
I shall but drink the more!
 
Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –
And Saints – to windows run –
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the – Sun!

By Emily Dickinson.
 
William Wordsworth also thought of these little white flowers as angelic. In his poem “On seeing a tuft of snowdrops in a storm”, he uses words such as “faithful and immortal”.

snowdrops2When haughty expectations prostrate lie,
And grandeur crouches like a guilty thing,
Oft shall the lowly weak, till nature bring
Mature release, in fair society
Survive, and Fortune’s utmost anger try;
Like these frail snow-drops that together cling,
And nod their helmets smitten by the wing
Of many a furious whirlblast sweeping by.
Observe the faithful flowers! if small to great
May lead the thoughts, thus struggling used to stand
The Emathian phalanx, nobly obstinate;
And so the bright immortal Theban band,
Whom onset, fiercely urged at Jove’s  command,
Might overwhelm, but could not separate!
By William Wordsworth.
 

Dailypost – Winter’s Delicate Flower

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/blogs/wildlife-garden/2014/01/27/snowdrop-history?fromGateway=true

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galanthus

Photographs by Medicinalmeadows.com

 


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Memoirs – Beauty of Youth

Dear Michelle

I first met you in 1997, I was 24 and you were 20 and our friendship just took flight, I’d never met anyone like you before. It’s true you had a zest for life that people either loved or hated, and you knew it. I believe others just wanted to be like you, you had the ability to trust yourself completely. Lessons I got from you were to think for myself, not of what others think. Have no regrets. I hear others thinking how selfish! Is this so untrue? Do we all not wish we weren’t dancing to someone else’s fancy.

Michelle, you got me to be more frivolous than I ever had the nerve to be and in my twenties this was a liberating feeling. And my god did we treat ourselves and think we deserved it! I was overly sensible and for this period of time with you, I discovered so much about myself, this small, shy person got some confidence. Without you Michelle I would not have known the twenties to be my roaring twenties. You showed me I could have it all if I wanted. We bought expensive lavish items I had previously only stared at. I owned a little of the celebrity thanks to you. I experimented, my hair went from auburn brown to blonde and you said “go blonder”. Make up, now this is where you pulled me away from the Boots range I had been wearing since I was a teenager. You dragged me over to the high-end counters and we spent a fortune. My pale lipstick went to red, my eyes got a sweep of liquid liner and you cut my hair! As for perfume, we discovered the updated ranges and within a few weeks I had my own shelf packed with XS Pour Elle, ditched the old Opium for the Chanel Allure, as for the White Musk, swapped for a light CK One. Each time I catch a whiff of these scents now I am reminded of the great fun we had.

You may think all this is a little materialistic but to me it’s called growing up, developing into a woman and experimenting, what you like, how you feel, having fun, just for fun and doing it while you can. It is all in the name of building those beautiful memories of your twenties and looking back with a chuckle and a cheeky smile. I honestly believe that these flights of experience are mouldings for our existence. To ponder an alternative, you may not appreciate the fit, but a little of it you may steal away for your own virtues.

I am so grateful for the time we had and our fun days, fun nights and the best bits of getting ready in between. We went out most weekends, sometimes we didn’t drink but just wanted to go out, have fun, stay sober and be a little tired the next day, but so what. We worked hard too, worked six day weeks and long shifts. We had an amazing time, and laughed so much and looked out for each other.

I just want to say, Michelle, you showed me that dreaming was necessary, confidence can be made. To aim for the stars is the only way and not to settle for anything less. So, thank you for the great memories, here’s to our twenties.

From Janice x

(For the Daily Post: absolute beauty)