I nipped up the road this afternoon to buy a jellybag, as my friend Marcus has given me a whole basket of crab apples and so tomorrow has to be jelly day. I came back with the jellybag plus a copy of Chesil Beach signed by the author(£2), a fabulous designer cardigan(£6) and a bunch of asters in rich ruby. I felt so rich and grateful for my life as I walked down the street in the sunshine.
It was hard to choose which jelly bag to buy. They ranged from simple nylon at £3.50 to a complicated contraption like a deckchair at £30 with all sorts between. I went for the simple nylon and can turn a stool upside down and hang it from the legs.- I hope. I seem to remember making crab apple jelly a few years ago and it was cloudy and unappetising looking. I think I threw it out in the end. I must be patient and let it drip. Only the juice must be used. If I squeeze the last drop of flesh through the holes I can expect it to be cloudy. A bit like life.
I am glad that I have acquired some wisdom with the years. And little tricks to make life easier. Like the Golden Ratio Rule for white sauce. (2 tablespoons fat, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 cup of milk). Or the fact that if you break mushrooms with your fingers they will keep their colour.
I visit Marcus every Wednesday because he has terminal cancer and we neither of us knows how many Wednesdays he has left. That knowledge hangs in the air between us. He has a terminal date, sooner rather than later and I don’t, even if we are heading in the same direction. Coming back from visiting him I find I am intensely involved with the open sky and the clouds that seem so there somehow. I am keen to make jelly and laugh and dance and cry.
The words ‘We are One’ keep going through my head. My life has been one long trail towards the understanding of what these words mean. I cannot tell you; you have to follow your own trail. Understanding is experiential. For 20 years I’ve followed all possible leads and they have led me to here. Beyond my understanding of books and asters and jellybags, there is a simplicity so profound that in its realisation, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. We are one and in that word one is contained the Mystery. It’s as simple as that.