It’s autumn, so time to shut the shutters, which cast a golden glow over The Warren. Time to reflect on just how much I love my home. It’s full to the brim of course with stuff, mainly books and vintage china. I am very strict these days about the turnover. I don’t want to become a hoarder and as I have the gene, this needs careful monitoring. My uncle, the recluse, died on his kitchen floor under cascades of cobwebs. It looked like the stage set for Bluebeard’s Castle. After the funeral, when we cleared his place, we filled seventeen dustbin liners with his home made carpeting of cornflake packets and coal dust. There were also eight sets of dentures, two dustbin liners of sweet papers and 286 empty milk bottles. All the antique furniture had been dismantled for fuel; all except a rustic Georgian bookcase that is now in my sitting room filled with my favourite books, I Ching paraphernalia and Tarot decks. So you see I have to be careful. But I love the cosiness of my stuff and as each object tells a story, I am never bored. Although I like being surrounded by my stuff, I am very aware that the real treasure lies elsewhere.
What I have learned is that at the end of the rainbow is the self. And behind the self is the Self.This is a spiritual relationship. Spirit is what underwrites our time on earth and Spirit is an experience hard to define. One is connected to Spirit as one might be to spring water, bubbling without ceasing from deep in the earth. It nourishes, consoles and fills one with peace and love. It can change like the clouds in the sky and has different tones. It can be mischievous or bossy, calm or tempestuous. It is the plug that connects one to unity, completeness and fulfilment. Spirit rocks!
But Spirit lives in a sort of Shangrila, at the top of a mountain, the pass to which is blocked by many landslides. This is my experience anyway. A great deal of one’s adult life is spent digging away, with and without help, until the light streams through the blockage and the path takes on a more amber hue. Golden even. This very often coincides with the children leaving home and work moving on to younger folk. At this time many people decide to keep up the hellbent speed, thinking that this will somehow keep the inevitable at bay. How often do you hear the words,” I thought I’d be bored but I’ve never been so busy,”? As usual I do it differently. I have slowed down so much that for the first time in my life I have to watch my weight. But my days have a shape and a purpose and I love the fact that I have time to mull over things, to put my cup down and look at the leaves turning colour, to carefully prune the bushes in my city garden one branch at a time and put the rubbish out on the right day.
I know this part of my life is winding down time and I love it. My friend Maisie has dyed her hair blonde and is, even as I write, cruising the Greek Island with her new boyfriend, who she found on the Internet. Good for her, I say, if that’s what she wants. Maybe I’ll change my mind and have a go myself. Maybe I’ll become a late blossoming dominatrix. Maybe. Yesterday in the hairdresser’s the woman sitting in the chair next to me leaned across and said,”I love your hair”. I think what she meant is that she loved the fact that I’m not bothered about going grey. I looked at myself in the mirror and I thought the face looking back was a happy one, far too vibrant to be thought of as old. That’s the best beauty cream in the world. Happiness. Stuff helps but stuff on its own is empty and meaningless. My stuff is inbued with the hardwon spirit of me and that’s what turns this into my golden age. It’s alchemy.