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The Giant and I

On Wednesday 11th, I will be 50 years old.

I'm going to be celebrating it in Spain with my mother, so I won't be able to take time out for introspection. I will do that now, before my beau comes home and we take off to enjoy a weekend with friends.

50 years, half a century on this planet. I was born in a small town full of history and nothing else. I was taken away to sunshine in Singapore, and came back to a land of greys and browns, a lonely dull place where no-one liked you if you were different. Here, everything turned sour, and the family issues of alcoholism and mental illness met a culture in which the first was accepted, the second despised, and everything, absolutely everything was muffled or shrieked. Our family collapsed, and either they all fell down the rabbit hole never to return, or I did, and I was the lucky one.

But here I was, in the land of a giant, a stone king who cared nothing for me. And yet, the kingdom would not let me be either. My first love, the language of the country, was where it kept all its magic, and the stories enchanted me from the very start. It was where I belonged.

I would wander away and I would see the promise of Pook Hill or the Hundred Acre Wood, or the Forest in Max's bedroom, or the Shire, or Narnia, or Elidor, or Earthsea. I could just make them out when I walked down the canal towpath. I could feel them more than see them. And when I saw the old stone circles and the barrows, I knew that some part of me had a claim on this place, though my hair fell out and my freckles covered my face in huge blotches, and I wrestled with the strange food and the loneliness. I knew that I was somehow kin to the giant, whether he liked me or not.

And as I grew older, that solar sense of something greater alongside me, a massive drum, the beating of a huge heart, was with me. Wherever I have gone and whatever I have done, it is as though some greater consciousness has pointed me at a beauty so rich, so extraordinary that I cannot help but look at it. I don't seek it out. The giant is not just Albion, but everywhere. It does not hate me. It wants to show me things.

Sometimes I have felt as though I am in the hands of a great teacher. That sense only went quiet last November, in a terrifying true moment of being alone and without help. The echo of that is still with me, but I know now that if no-one helps, I can help myself, if no-one is there, I am there. If I focus, I can be shrewd, cunning, wise, brave. I can fight, I can do things alone. I am not useless. There is some integral core to me that I can trust, something real. And of others...some modicum of mercy and understanding, perhaps. About time really.

These are great gifts for one's 50th birthday.

And one of the things I knew how to do before I could speak, was laugh. There's been some tragedy but by god there's been a lot of comedy! So many jokes, such excellent friends, I can't imagine where they came from or how I kept and still keep such marvellous company. I am overjoyed to know them, to know you. To those of you who have chosen to be part of my life, thank you with all my heart.

To larians suffice it to say that 13 years on, I actually love you more than when we first met and I didn't think that was possible. Thank you for everything xxx

Now, there is just a small possibility that I may not make it to my whole century. If that's the case, don't fret at the time; a powerful priestess off her head on Ayahuasca told me all about how it would end for me, and if she's right, that's OK. Even if she isn't, it'll be OK.

So here's to being 50, almost an adult. Plus, a poem;

The Man Who Dreamed of Faeryland by W.B. Yeats

He stood among a crowd at Drumahair;
His heart hung all upon a silken dress,
And he had known at last some tenderness,
Before earth took him to her stony care;
But when a man poured fish into a pile,
It seemed they raised their little silver heads,
And sang what gold morning or evening sheds
Upon a woven world-forgotten isle
Where people love beside the ravelled seas;
That Time can never mar a lover's vows
Under that woven changeless roof of boughs:
The singing shook him out of his new ease.

He wandered by the sands of Lissadell;
His mind ran all on money cares and fears,
And he had known at last some prudent years
Before they heaped his grave under the hill;
But while he passed before a plashy place,
A lug-worm with its grey and muddy mouth
Sang that somewhere to north or west or south
There dwelt a gay, exulting, gentle race
Under the golden or the silver skies;
That if a dancer stayed his hungry foot
It seemed the sun and moon were in the fruit:
And at that singing he was no more wise.

He mused beside the well of Scanavin,
He mused upon his mockers: without fail
His sudden vengeance were a country tale,
When earthy night had drunk his body in;
But one small knot-grass growing by the pool
Sang where - unnecessary cruel voice -
Old silence bids its chosen race rejoice,
Whatever ravelled waters rise and fall
Or stormy silver fret the gold of day,
And midnight there enfold them like a fleece
And lover there by lover be at peace.
The tale drove his fine angry mood away.

He slept under the hill of Lugnagall;
And might have known at last unhaunted sleep
Under that cold and vapour-turbaned steep,
Now that the earth had taken man and all:
Did not the worms that spired about his bones
Proclaim with that unwearied, reedy cry
That God has laid His fingers on the sky,
That from those fingers glittering summer runs
Upon the dancer by the dreamless wave.
Why should those lovers that no lovers miss
Dream, until God burn Nature with a kiss?
The man has found no comfort in the grave.

Now let's dance! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mgwz1JBon2E&NR=1&feature=endscreen


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 6th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
Wishing you a very happy birthday. You're certainly on an interesting journey, long may it continue.

Just realised on the 11th another friend of mine is 50 too! Coinkydink! She's a talented artist too.
Jul. 15th, 2012 09:22 am (UTC)
It's a fascinating road, improved much by your presence in it:-) So thank you!
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 15th, 2012 09:16 am (UTC)
Thanks! And thank you for being in my life, John x
Jul. 7th, 2012 09:06 am (UTC)
The world is a much brighter place with you in it love. I only hope I'm being as awesome by the time I hit the half century. :)

Every happy return for the 11th.
Jul. 15th, 2012 09:18 am (UTC)
Thank you!
The half century can wait...many would consider you pretty awesome now:-)
Jul. 8th, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
Happy 50th lovely one. I thought you were way younger than that!

I like being over 50. You can be visible or invisible, as you choose, you're old enough to knwo better and young enough not to care.

Some of the terrible urgency goes out of life, and is replaced by a relaxed calm that might be wisdom.
Jul. 15th, 2012 09:20 am (UTC)
Hello lovely, and thanks for your wishes!

I like being 50 so far - I don't know if I'm wise as such, but I'm wiser, and that's got to be a start:-)

I also find myself with much more clarity about what matters to me and what doesn't. More of that is needed!
Jul. 9th, 2012 07:48 am (UTC)
Happy biirthday!
Jul. 15th, 2012 09:20 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Yay! Here's to us!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )



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