“a boss in a penguin jumper”


once again i am sharing the words of the brilliant & beautiful sarah-louise jordan – she is a shining light.. & speaks more eloquently than i ever could about life with ME. it has been a sheer joy to watch her… rise…
the photo is her profile picture. she begins today by saying:
“I’m about to walk 300 steps again, in the great outdoors. Only five days after the last walk! I feel like a boss.
A boss in a penguin jumper.”
& then… another post:
“The sun is out! Reports have yet to confirm whether or not it has its hat on.
The autumn breeze was entirely more enthusiastic to see me than I anticipated. It was thrilled and it kept buffeting me with glee. Yes, yes, I’m glad to see you too autumn breeze.
As we were walking, my mum turned to me and said “Your hair has gold and almost rainbows in it in the light. It has little flecks of colour” which has to be the nicest hair based compliment I have ever received. I swished it a bit in happy acknowledgement.
We saw tiny, yellow fruits. Some were scattered on the pavement and some still decorated the towering tree they belong to. We discussed jam and whether tiny, yellow fruit theft would be sufficient to make some.
I stood for a bit to feel the sunlight and then we walked round the corner, past a wrought iron fence that has woven sticks attached to it (but why though?). As we turned back, my mum told me that the house we were directly looking at, with the ivy climbing the walls and the red flowers twining themselves around the door, was where a girl called Katrina used to live. She had the same illness as me and because neither of us could travel the half a road distance in between our houses, we used to write to each other.
It is slightly surreal to know that somewhere so nearby has been Far Away for so long, and that I have now made it there. Thankfully, she isn’t home because she is well enough to be out and about somewhere, showing the world what’s she made of.
There is a gap between her old house and the next and in that gap the north downs were sprawling. Green, glorious hills in the distance, with a little white path meandering up them and a generous sprinkling of trees with their branches reaching for the sky and their leaves still summerlike and plentiful. It was the perfect snapshot. The downs looked so inviting, as though they called all who saw them to embark on an adventure. I promised myself that next year I will go stand on them and shout hello to the whole town. I anticipate the gold cockerel on the church weathervane will make itself dizzy spinning at the sound.
I really wished I had my camera so I could have taken a photograph (and most especially for my friend Kayne who needs to see).
We kept walking back towards home and I saw a puppy. A small black dachsund with a red collar. I opened my mouth and my mum went “don’t you do it. Don’t you do it. No”. It is a standing joke in my family, and with some of the friends I grew up with, that I cannot pass an animal. I will introduce myself to every creature that crosses my path. When it comes to dogs, I will cheerfully besiege their owners with questions, and I will ask for and occasionally insist on being allowed cuddles. With the dog, not the owners. I’m not *that* weird.
All of our photo albums are testament to this. You will find me pictured with random animals in every one. That rather cross scottish wildcat who thought my father might be edible. The horse who didn’t appreciate having his ears tickled. The peacock who is clearly trying to outrun me.
I can tell you about our holidays based on what animals it contained. “Oh yes, the lake district…that was the one with the alsatian called Gizmo who was afraid of the bathroom light”
Today, I let my mum stop me introducing myself to the puppy, but only because it was trying to concentrate on crossing the road. Next time I see it….
By then we were almost home, but we saw a few fallen leaves rising up and racing through the air. One seemed to be trying to join the birds.
And the final thing that I found charming was that when I went to come into the house, I was standing outside of the front door for a moment while mum found her keys. I was outside my own front door. Waiting to come home. That is a kind of magic I have missed for the longest time.
I am rather breathless now, but I have tea and chocolate and a smile to keep me warm!”


the rose


Photo credit: The Rosette Nebula, Emil Ivanov

A white rose opens in a quiet arbour
Where I sit reading Dante, Paradise
unfolding in me, opens hour by hour,
In sunlight and amidst the hum of bees
On a late afternoon. I think of how
Everything flowers, the whole universe
Itself is still unfolding even now,
Sprung from a stem of singularity
Which petals time and space. I think of how
The very elements that let my body be
Began and will continue in the stars
Whose light and distance frame our mystery,
And how my shadowed heart still loves, still bears
With every beat that animates my being,
Eternal yearnings through the turning years.
I turn back to the lines that light my seeing
And lift me to the limits of all thought
And long that I might also find that freeing
And enabling Love, and so be caught
And lifted into His renewing Heaven.
Evening glimmers and the stars come out.
Venus is shining clear. My prayers are woven
Into a sounding song, a symphony,
As all creation gives back what is given
In music made to praise the Mystery
Who is both gift and giver. Something stirs
A grace in me beyond my memory.
I close the book and look up at the stars.
From “Three Poems on the Paradiso” by Malcolm Guite, from our summer 2013 issue of Parabola, “Heaven and Hell.”




“Silence is an ocean.
Speech is a river.
When the ocean is searching for you, don’t walk
into the language-river. Listen to the ocean,
and bring your talky business to an end. Traditional words are just babbling
in that presence, and babbling is a substitute
for sight.”