Monthly Archives: April 2010

Dancing Backwards Barefoot

Yesterday I took the bus to town to check out the flagship Primark store that opened over a year ago. Everything I touched was flimsy and seemed lacking in substance. Without shape; struggling to hold up with too few threads to the inch.

One has to hold together somehow, I thought, returning on the bus without a single purchase. Kabbalah teaches that service to others is good for one’s development. But one has to observe oneself carefully enough to hold on to a shape. Mack talks to me about her loss of shape which causes her a lot of distress. I listen a lot these days and take random notes on bits of paper. I’m always looking for clues, as you know, about how it all holds together. I think consciousness is the glue and the clue. One of my random notes says that Lord Rees reckons there are aspects of reality beyond the capacity of our brain.Tell that to the guys fiddling with genetic modification, m’lord.

I continue with my everyday observing and listening. It’s a bit like being in an empty house and hearing footsteps on the landing. I need people to clutch in times of high drama. I call and they come. Yes indeed, the universe is, as always, on the button. Yet I get the feeling that I don’t get to do the picking. Free will? I don’t think so. I am but a vehicle for the evolutionary thrust, that will one day make individualisation redundant and be merged in that ‘great sea of being’ that Dante told us about.

It’s not easy being a human at this stage of development, trying  too hard perhaps to hold onto a shape, while relating to others doing ditto. It’s like a dance and I’m doing it like Ginger, backwards but I guess I choose whether to do it in heels or not. That’s the free will bit maybe.

A couple of times recently a bloke has asked me questions about myself. It’s an unusual feeling and I quite like it. Sometimes the spotlight gets too bright and I resort to comedy. My suitors, if that’s what they are, use comedy too. It covers a multitude of inadequacies. Comics are strange people on the whole because whole they are not.

But back to choice and the question is there any? What guides and directs my decision- making if not the past? My father was an angry,self obsessed, neurotic man, whose shape was reconstituted by the second world war. Like the Ancient Mariner he was ever after collaring a wedding guest, usually me. I learned, while listening to him, that in order to feel whole I needed to pay attention to a man. His light seemed to beam on me but I can see now that it was in fact a torch shining the way for him. Hence his emotional unavailability and my subsequent ambivalence around men.

Since then I have found myself over and over listening to men telling their stories to give themselves shape and me in there with them, losing my own. I see that now and still I wonder about this free will thing. I have recently tried to choose but a door has closed somewhere in the distance and there is no handle on it for me to turn.

So instead I move into fantasy. Tilda Swinton, an actor I rate highly, has by all accounts, a husband and a lover at home. Clever girl. She is one of those blank canvas women I admire so much but fail to emulate. Silent power has never been my strong suit. How does the dance work with three of you moving around the floor? The speaker, the listener and Tilda dancing alone in the shadows? Perhaps.

1 2 3, 1 2 3, I mouth the numbers conscientiously, trying to get the steps right but in truth it would be better to let go, cut free and dance barefoot, even if it is backwards. Maybe that’s what we’re all doing these days, escaping intimacy is any way possible.

So it’s all about making connections, elliptically at best like my notes or the Frank Gehry Fred and Ginger building in Prague, which I came across long before I’d heard of it and found jaw-dropping.  Yesterday’s notes told me that there is no going back: that Orson Welles’ voodoo Macbeth was filmed in Harlem when he was 21: that I must listen to Schubert’s Zum Sanctus from MesseD872: to google auteur: that the two things America has never understood are sex and the South: and that a blog post is like a movie in that it will never again mean as much as on the day that it is posted. And then the message to myself that ‘I will never again be the kind of woman men make idiots of themelves over. This is both a sadness and a joy, for it gives me a kind of freedom I’ve never had before.’ Does any of that add up to much?  Not until the words are processed.

 The clues are in the words but they must be stripped like chicken from the bone and reassempled in a terrine of new perception. I am a collage of all that has gone before me, remembered and unremembered. As is everyone else. It’s a wonder we ever connect at all, let alone dance. But we are humans and this is what we struggle to do, over and over and over. It’s enough to make the gods laugh-or weep.


Modern Mystery

If you still think that crop circles are made with ropes, sticks and boards, take a look at this one. It is the mysterious Crooked Soley circle that appeared in 2002 in a lonely field, way off the beaten track outside Hungerford. We are very lucky we even have a shot of it, as the combine harvester was heading in its direction even as the photo was being taken. Look at it carefully. There is no marking in the central circle, which means that no one stood there while drawing the circumference. But the mystery doesn’t end there. The complex geometry of the circle takes place over 300 feet, with just one tiny flaw-one of the squares that lies over a tramline is only partially flattened. And the design, which would be stunning, even if drawn on paper, let alone carved out of corn, is  that of a twisting DNA strand, with perfect six fold symmetry and made from 792 squares laid down and 504 left standing. According to  John Michell the numbers 5040 and7920 are central to the sacred canon of number, found within all ancient cultures. It portrays a design known in esoteric lore as the’ Keys to Creation’. These keys are from time to time revealed when human spirit is in need of renewal and earth itself is in need of replenishment. This circle is one of the wonders of the modern world and yet few people know anything about it. If your interest has been aroused, check out the book Crooked Soley A Crop Circle Revelation and become a part of the revelation.

The Gaia/Cern Hypothesis

In an outhouse in Devon a remarkable man has spent much of his adult life working on science that is slowly changing the thinking of the world.  He even makes his own beautifully honed equipment. He is not funded in what he does by anything but his own writing. He is an independent scholar. His name is James Lovelock and in spite of the great changes that his work has brought to the world, there is no Nobel Prize in sight, because Lovelock does not work within the resident weltanchauung.

Outside Geneva a 27 mile fast track has been built underground, in order to create the complex conditions present a few seconds after what became known as the Big Bang. It has cost a sum that would  eradicate poverty in a large African state and the purpose of the enterprise is to photograph collisions that might reveal the identity of the Higgs’ Boson, a mysterious particle that has started to be called ‘the God Particle’. The public face, in Britain at least, is a scientist called Professor Brian Cox, a man so youthful and trendy that he would not look amiss as the lead singer in a rock band. When Cern was activated over a year ago, he was incandescent with excitement because he seemed to think that the collider could just put to rest for ever all the nonsense about there being a mysterious hand directing events. It would not surprise me one bit to discover that Cox wins a Nobel prize, though he’s so busy tarting about on TV that I don’t expect he actually has time to do science.

I wonder how history will view these two men and their science. Will Cern, like Dubai, rise and rise and topple with the weight of its hubris? Will the world eventually come to see the link between Cern science and the rise of obeisity in the West? We cannot have anything we want when we want it. Because we see does not give us the right to bring it into being. Someone has to stand up and say enough before we run out of resources.

There  are mythological implications in the rise of the power of science. Not only has it taken on the mantle of religion, it has more of a whiff of Inquisition to it. Or Prometheus,  the creator of mankind who stole a glowing charcoal from the fiery sun and escaped  with it in the pithy hollow of a giant fennel stalk. Thus giving mankind the wherewithall to destoy itself.

No, give me quiet ,gentle 90 year old James Lovelock any day, who learned his love of science in the basement of Brixton Library, where he said the science books allowed him to ‘mine magic’ and where he laid the foundation for becoming a polymath-a rare enough gift in these days and yet the only one that allows us to see the whole, unless one of course takes it all on faith or trust.

Earth Day

I can’t let the 40th Earth Day go by without a comment but I’m tired as I went to the opera last night. Tosca. What drama! I was so caught up in the second act that I grabbed the knee of the man sitting next to me. He didn’t come back after the second interval. When at the very end Tosca threw herself off the parapet to her death, I remembered a performance in the 60’s when Joan Sutherland did the same and the mattress provided for her soft landing did the job so well she reappeared in full view of the audience. I giggled all the way home thinking of it. Now that’s catharsis!

But the state of the earth is no laughing matter. It’s not global warming we need to worry about but global breakdown. The politicians of all parties are here in Bristol tonight, debating. I can hear the helecopters overhead. Not one of them is talking about rationing or banning or anything radical, yet it’s only the radical that can save us now. So I have headed this post  with an image which will perhaps draw your attention to the fact that our ancestors understood a lot more about the earth than we know today. I don’t know about you but it makes me feel humble.

The Crop Circle Enigma

Last year the first circle appeared in rapeseed on the Ridgeway near Avebury Wiltshire, on 14th April, followed on the 19th by one at West Kennett longbarrow. So I tap into The Crop Circle Connector every morning  in anticipation of the first of the 2010 circles, but so far nothing. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if this year no crop circles appeared at all. A lot of people would be out of business for sure.

What fascinates me most about the phenomena is the dishonest practices that abound and the number of blatant scams that weave themselves around the subject. It’s easy to get lost in this maze. I keep my relationship with the subject simple. I go on my own experience of what it feels like to stand in a fresh crop circle and I keep my mind wide open.

Last year I asked someone who had spent the whole summer checking out circles as they arrived, how many he thought were mysterious and how many were man-made and he said without hesitation 30:70%

There are some very talented circlemakers (small case =man: big case=other, OK?) out there. Team Satan for example, who have changed their name to The circlemakers, in order no doubt to confuse matters further. Team members are Rod Dickinson, John Lundberg and Will Russell. Rob Irving is their circle making friend. The trouble is that it is hard to work out who made what. As the name of their game is mystique, I’m surprised we know their names at all. Ego is a powerful force.

Crop circles are a highly complex phenomena, whoever makes them and they are important because of the emotions they evoke. Life is so short on epiphanies these days that any interaction with the unknown is welcome. It’s all a matter of wavelength, literally and metaphorically. There is a deep and special connection between the unseen and the seen, the invisible and the visible. Whoever is working in the fields of Wiltshire is working towards the integration of the brain of the viewer and the resultant rise in their frequency, whether that is their aim or not.

Gerald Hawkins, Emeritus Professor of Astronomy, has discovered Euclidean geometry and diatonic ratios present in corn circles, requiring the sort of familiarity in higher maths that you would not expect from the sort of disaffected and rebellious youth drawn to hoaxing, however addicted to his art he might be. Euclid had hinted that a fifth theorem could be derived from the other four. Prof Hawkins set a challenge in Science News and Mathematics Teacher to come up with it. No one offered an answer. But a field did in Litchfield did (appropriately enough) in 1995.

Several thousand square feet of crop is regularly laid down suddenly, in designs of immense complexity and hypnotising beauty. The most famous one of these, known as the Stonehenge Fractal, appeared right alongside the A303  in 1996, with witnesses galore to verify that it appeared in a 45 minute window of time. It was a huge glyph 915 feet long comprising 151 circles. Now isn’t that amazing? Yet the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic make programmes debunking corn circles using shameful practices. Why?

The photograph above is a shot of the real thing. A fabulous design encoding ratios previously unknown. It is known as the Spiderweb and appeared in 1994 and was described as one of the most striking formations of all time. The design involves a twentyfold division of a circle. Sometimes a mirror reflection of our DNA turns up. This is something to reflect on in itself, because of the importance of molecular handedness. Did you know for example that the difference between the smell of an orange and a lemon is due to the same molecule but in left and right handed forms?

Crop circles , whoever puts them in the fields, are awesome and help me to fall in love with the whole of existence all over again. This is the greatest secret of all, as when this happens I am moved from the body into the spirit, where all the really important things take place.

Holding/Red Nails and Parasol

Walking Tottie in the park yesterday, I was struck by the number of couples lying in the grass just holding. It looked nice in the sunshine. I wouldn’t mind doing it myself but now isn’t the time. Now is soultime, so today I took myself off for a picnic by a lake, about an hour’s walk from the Warren. First I painted my toenails red, then I opened the cedarwood box where I keep my out of season clothes and found my hiking shorts. Then I packed Tottie’s lunch and put together a box for myself; carrots and tiny tomatoes, crisps and a small pie, some new season radishes. A bottle of water, a rug, a book and the aforementioned parasol and I was off.

On the way I met a man who I fancy but mindful that it was my soulday I said hello,tightened the straps on my daypack, chatted to him about this and that, then was off again. I could so easily have invited him to come with me but didn’t. Spirit likes that and the effect that this particular cause will generate will be worth waiting for. You mark my words.

The lake was blissful, just me, the trees and a flock of copulating ducks. The sun shone and Tottie cooled off every so often in the shallows. Occasionally hikers went by and a man came and joined me for a little while. He’d been foraging for wild garlic and he gave me some to use in my cooking. He told me that he had bought his Council flat for 9K ten years ago and that now it was worth 130K. Good on you I said. He was having as much fun in the sunshine as I was and soon went on his way.

After three hours I was running out of water and as I had an hour to walk back I thought I’d better get started. The wood was cool and the lace parasol kept catching on branches. Once or twice I thought Tottie was running out of steam, so I let her rampage in a mud pool. When we got home I had to run the hose on her because the mud was beginning to stink.

By bedtime I was starting to feel funny-spaced out and a bit floaty. I don’t like the feeling and knew it as a touch of the sun. I read my sun screen only to find it was self tanning cream with no factor in sight. All night I tossed and had mescalin dreams, but today I feel fine. A bit pink and streaky in places mind you but back in my body.

I know women who feel that they would like a day by the side of a lake but ‘don’t have anyone to go with.’ I know that one of the gifts of ageing is my ability to take care of myself in this way. No midges, no ants, no rapists in the bushes, mother dear. Just me and the universe in total harmony.

My book, which didn’t get opened by the way, was Arnold Toynbee’s history of civilisation, not perhaps the wisest choice for a backpack. He says that human history is all based on the fact that we are social animals. It was the larynx and the head/hand connection that gave us the edge over the primates we left behind. That’s as maybe but just for that day I’m glad I resisted the urge to be social and took the time out for a special silence and the chance to connect with a place that holds me firmer than any splendour in the grass, however seductive the thought.

The Joys of Ageing

I’m off to supper with Bertram where we intend to wallow in conversations about late life sex and the waning power of attraction. We will bemoan the fact that we get on brilliantly, find the conversation of the other scintillating and yet there is zilch sexual chemistry passing between us. It’s a mystery.

One thing’s for sure. I have not resigned myself to a life without ‘it’. The search for it, the management of it and ultimately the pain of it. I am also still in the business of projecting glamour. Not all the time of course. Sometimes now I rush to put on my pyjamas with indecent haste and sit on the sofa with Tottie, reading or watching a DVD or listening to music. Beethoven mainly or Strauss’ Last Songs or Mahler ditto. Music with weight and a recognition of the sorrow of the passage of time. Or darling Leonard Cohen’s recent stuff , which looks back at sixty as the peak of his power. How reassuring that is. Sometimes I work on a poem that has risen ragged during the day.

At other times I raid the dressing up box and put together outfits for my own pleasure. Mad woman in the attic clothes, Lala would call them, that will not cross the threshold and see the light of day- I couldn’t do that to my daughters. Bizarre outfits like the cowboy hat and fringed jacket I brought back from Arizona or the bowler hat and long leather gloves and whip I bought in Lidl for 2.99(the whip that is; the gloves cost a week’s pension but that’s another story.)

I still care what I look like when I go out. I hope I always do. I don’t ever want to be one of those women who goes out with a long hair hanging from the chin or clumps of grey ones gathering at the corner of the mouth like mould. I hope my pension will always accommodate a pedicure and that I never reach the stage when my red toenails no longer give me pleasure.

I am not recognisable as the girl or young woman in the photo collage on my bedroom wall , even if inside I feel like her. The important thing as one gets older is to keep the system active. Keep feeling sexy, keep turning on one’s heels, turning up the collar and putting on the large sunglasses. Loving the day.

Tottie is showing me the way. Grey muzzled, she still is up for a romp. I sometimes think about when she has gone. Then I will be free to wander the city without feeling I have to get home to her. Perhaps I will stop in churchyards and eat ice cream or chips out of a bag. Perhaps I will sit there weeping quietly, missing my Tottie, at the same time as embracing my freedom. Life’s like that-full of ambiguities.

But that’s all ahead. Today I will wear a red jacket with lips to match and high heels. I will enjoy the male company and flirt a little. Then I will enjoy getting home and removing the trimmings, while rejoicing that I feel so good in my skin at last, even if that skin is losing its elasticity. Then I’ll climb into bed, voice my gratitude for another healthy, vibrant day and sleep like a baby.