I am a woman. I am very glad about this. It means that I carry within me the crucible of spirit. Some women forget about this and rush through life pretending to be men. Not me. I know that I am a woman. I cannot rush. I have to take time out every so often and be still. Such days I pencil in my diary. I call them soul days.
Today’s soul day was unexpected. Last night I went bowling and today I needed a total rest. It was an assault on my system that bowling venue, with its glitter balls, flashing lights, loud video music, hamburger smells and shouting children. On arrival I looked around and thought, “This is just as I imagined Dante’s Inferno.” But I stayed. I chose the lightest ball on offer, which was far too heavy for my liking. I worried about my neck, which had been expensively fixed only the previous day. I was terrified when my turn came, thinking that my throw might not even get the ball as far as the end of the alley where ten pins stood in anticipation. I said nothing to my companions but watched carefully the way others bowled and by the time my turn came, I had some idea what to do. I kept breathing. At the end of ten games I was second and at the end of twenty I was not last. This was good enough for me. I was pleasantly surprised that I had actually enjoyed the evening. I even drank a Coke which is something I rarely do.
But this morning when I got out of bed I felt my age. So I got myself a cup of tea and climbed back into bed with Tottie and Keith Richards. Today was going to be an unexpected Soul Day.
Soul Days are days where I allow myself to potter and dawdle, doing anything quiet that takes my fancy. Every so often I take a break and just lie or sit and wonder. Modern life doesn’t encourage enough wondering, which is an act much like playing music. Wondering is a singing of my soul. It touches the mystery and as a woman this is something that I need for nourishment. The only time I left the Warren today was to walk Tottie and to buy some smoked haddock which I poached in milk and served with boiled potatoes and butter for my lunch.
It is now evening and the day has passed deliciously and I have lost the ten years that bowling lumbered me with. Much of the delight of the day had been in the company of Keef who has been a great companion and a man who appreciates the power of women and who knows the meaning of wonder. By lunchtime I had finished ‘Life’, a book I have been dawdling over, as I never wanted to finish it. And in the finishing I feel as if I’ve said goodbye to a dear friend. Keith Richards has a writing style that captures his voice intimately. He is open hearted, frank and honest. He writes in metaphors like the poet he is, about ‘the deep cut’ (love),’the deal at the crossroads'(celebrity) and ‘the drone note’ that drives the Rolling Stone sound. He writes with great authority about his love of the nature of music and the marriage of blues and country that created rock and roll. I found that as I was reading, I was growing to like very much this man, who Tom Waits describes as someone ‘ like a frying pan made in one piece of metal. He can heat up really high and it wont crack, it just changes colour.’ As good a definition of integrity as I’ve ever come across.
But am I glad I can appreciate him from a distance. The life that he describes is the bowling venue with knobs on. The only way he managed the pressure was by using drugs as gears rather than for pleasure. I look back on my life and I see so clearly how character is destiny, a point I’ve made often before. My nervous system couldn’t stand the noise and the emotional mayhem implicated in life in the fast lane.There has been no intimate relationship with rock and roll in my life. I have intimacy issues obviously! Yet I do so enjoy the encounter with that world through the safe medium of a book.
Even the slow lane is too much for me these days which is why soul days are so important to me. Increasingly so, as wondering takes no energy at all and offers much in return.