Surrey Adult Community Smile Inside Stories
The long nine months had passed. When would this wriggling baby arrive?
An extra week we waited.
Wow a gorgeous bouncing baby boy arrived! Tears of joy and broad beaming smiles all round.
Now freedom to move those limbs everywhere, even in his sleep.
Those fluttering eyes gradually opening to see the amazing light for the first time.
A surprise sneeze, such a shock! A huge yawning stretch of mouth and limbs.
The world is full of exciting adventures but sometimes lovely to be wrapped in
a cosy tight blanket for a lilting sleep to remind him of his earlier confined days and
dream of experiences to come.
The event that made Michael and I smile involves 3 grandchildren. We went to visit them after the first lockdown when it was okay to meet up in the garden.
Seemingly they were very worried that we would not be able to play. So they got their father to scrub and disinfect all the garden toys. This resulted in Michael and I spending the whole afternoon playing on the swing, the seesaw, kicking the football, playing badminton and hoolahoops.......
Willow pulls; I 'hobble' after her. Soon we are in a routine; investigating for her; stop/start for me. The journey continues along several roads, across traffic lights and down to the Rec. Freedom for Willow; a gentle stroll for me. The Rec leads into the woods and as Willow explores I become one with the surroundings. An unusual fungus, attached to a tree, catches my eye; its shape is the Isle of Wight. Thoughts wander back in time as my feet follow a well worn route. Pictures of days gone by appear as the mind camera clicks: children playing on the beach; castle adventures; enchanted walks; fossil hunting and THE wedding. We reach the edge of the woods and the visions fade. We wander home - Willow still investigating; me aglow with memories
A Set of Five Haiku, November 2020
Autumn to winter.
Days shorten, darken – and night
fills with dead desires.
One fine morning I’ll
wear my summer kimono,
smile in the mirror
and spread my wide sleeves
like wings to display the scene
in all its beauty.
Clouds, waves, flowers, fans, bamboo
on heavenly blue.
My ocean of pain?
From the deep I ride a wave
to see land again.
I step out barefoot into the garden to another day of brilliant sunshine. The cloudless sky is once again Covid Blue – the new colour I have invented to describe the beauty of the sky no longer marred by vapour trails from aircraft.
I am greeted by warm sun on my face and the wonderful sound of birdsong; the silence of the traffic-free road outside making this even more noticeable. Suddenly I heard the unmistakable sound of a blackbird, not just any blackbird but one with a distinctive song which has returned again for the third year running.
The blue of the sky is echoed in the haze of blue from the bluebells, bursting out amongst the trees at the bottom of the garden. Dotted around in the grass I see daisies, primrose, violets, forget-me-nots and even lady’s smock, taking me back to my childhood in rural Yorkshire where picking bunches of wild flowers was an everyday part of Spring.
Using my newly-acquired smart phone I attempt to photograph a robin, taking up classic poses on the handle of the fork and the runner bean wigwam. But he seems to be playing “catch me if you can” and always flies off at the last minute.
I have more success with a butterfly clinging to the warm fence, its wings folded against the wind. My patience is rewarded when these move, tentatively at first, but eventually open wide to display the beautiful colours of the peacock.
But now I must venture from the safety of the garden to get some exercise. I walk tentatively down the footpath, scuttling off onto the grass whenever someone approaches less than two metres away. I feel on edge in this seemingly dystopian landscape, the anticipated pleasure of being part of the outside world marred by a feeling of anxiety in the pit of my stomach from fear of picking up the virus.
My steps quicken as I get nearer home. I open the gate and breathe a sigh of relief, my body relaxing to be back once more in the peace and safety of my garden.
When we were on a planned 3 month 23,000 mile round trip from from Toronto across the South and back up the West coast and across Rockies to include a trip down to Mexico City and to Acapulco. After recovering lost paperwork we crossed the border, spent a brilliant few days in Mexico City and on the way down to Acapulco, which involves a severe drop in altitude. This affected our dear old big white Ford Comet with red leather upholstery and full seat across front and rear ideal for sleeping in an emergency! We suddenly came to a grinding halt in the middle of nowhere! Patrick had the bonnet up and could do nothing - but wait and pray
We had not seen a car on the road. My husband lifted the bonnet and threw his arms up in despair, he really was pretty upset as he realised pretty quickly the alternator had gone and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere, there wasn’t a town for miles and we had no idea how we were going to repair the car. The part that still gives me a warm feeling and makes me smile Inside was when it seemed out of nowhere as it was a very deserted flat area, we saw this beautiful gold Rolls Royce appear and to our amazement stop.
This gorgeous man got out, he was tall, handsome and we found charming. He said get in the car, I’ll drive you to the local town and I’ve got some mechanics down there. He gave us his card, he lived in Mexico City and his name was Solomon King which seemed surreal to us. We did visit him when we went back. He sent his mechanic whilst ordering us coffee and the most amazing American breakfast and saved us from an impossible situation. We were positively overwhelmed and felt like jumping for joy when he said he would help us.
We were amazed then at our good fortune , that someone could be so kind and helpful, we were so very grateful - that was 1970 – they were very different times.
Having left Brazil more than 20 years ago, I was very surprised when I heard my name being called out on an airplane last February.
After some minutes, I recognized that the man with now grey hair was an old Brazilian friend of mine, Kleber, who I worked with for many years in a radio show in my hometown.
My husband was more surprised than I was and a little puzzled to say the least. Shortly after our chat, Kleber invited me to write and record some audios to be played live on air at the same radio station in Brazil.
So, during lock down and until now I've been very focused on finding interesting topics to talk about. My pieces are featured 3 times a week on the show and Kleber sends the audios back to me. It always puts a smile on my face as it brings unforgettable memories of a time in my life in Brazil. It also fascinates me that even after all these years and having moved to a new country there are still some listeners that remember me and my old radio program.
I love my small garden, especially on a day when the sun is out.
Looking all around, makes me want to dance, sing and shout.
It keeps me busy, the weeding and planting, it can take hours
plus pruning and watering, caring for all those tender pretty flowers.
When it is all completed, I sit back and enjoy with pleasure
the beauty that surrounds me, my haven, my treasure.
Now the plants have finished flowering, their job is done.
It's time to tidy up, now Autumn has come.
A Smile in the Darkness
As I head towards another lockdown in these precarious days, and in the winter too, I decide I must find what made me smile during the first lockdown.
Well, then it was the Spring and life was starting in the garden, buds on the trees, small flowers beginning to show in the herb garden, signs of life in the patio pots. Then it was summer and the garden was filled with life, butterflies and the buzzing of bees, fruit replacing the spring blossom, flowers as big as dinner plates. I saw that life in nature is irrepressible and everyday something new made me smile.
My daily exercise took me through fields where there was something amazing to be seen on every trip, new calves standing on wobbly legs, a red kite flying overhead, blossom in the hedgerows. Each and every day showed me something to smile about. And to feel good about.
Days of rain fall into every life and on those days indoor smiles must be found. Cooking a good meal, watching a good film, maybe even some housework and decorating. Read the paper, do a crossword, watch funny videos on YouTube.
So now I must find similar joys in this second wave of pandemic and restrictions. It’s winter and will be cold and dark, evenings draw in, curtains drawn early. Walks around the fields are now limited and life in the garden is settling into hibernation. But still the birds visit the feeders for seeds and peanuts and soon the robin will become a familiar sight, not only to be seen on festive cards. A sunny morning is a pleasure, a hot cup of tea whilst curled up on the sofa is no bad thing. Dig out all the books you always meant to read, find those old board games and remember how to play them.
I will, and hope everyone can, find a smile in the darkness.