Barbed Wire

Black knots and spears; silhouetted against a flame and orchid dusk; exquisite colour-palette sparking a longing to pour fourth but the words don’t come. Hemmed in by invisible tethers, inspired yet fettered, by a sense of my own words’ lack of worth… wanting to speak but afraid to say… to presume to contribute to the flow… to the discourse.

I am saturated with that which I have failed to express, that which I have suppressed; holding in the sentiments as I withhold my breath… suffocating but not dead yet. On my mark and preparing to step… into my voice… to sound it aloud, to call into the crowd, to echo in the void… slowly building inside the wherewithal to make my own noise and to convey my authentic self with my own poise.

Finally finding my own way, without need to pretend to have the answers, or to ‘fit’ … I am in myself ‘whole’; uniquely created by Him- to be just like this… to fail, to fall and rise, and to ‘make a hames of it’… to assert my imperfection… here I am… this is it.

I am sufficient; work in progress, in transition… evolving as I sit observing and absorbing… internalising all of it… hardly recalling who I was at the outset.

Cycles of content and restlessness… anchored by something imperceptible… something of fear and bliss.

Dreaming big… frustrated by wings become clipped… fluttering, stretching, straining… against the weight of it… against the limits of this barbed-wire cage… aching to soar and flit… to be free of this Dunya and to reconnect with the Source of it; with my Creator… to be where He is.

Longing to melt back into what I was created with, free of this restrictive life-form, which keeps me repeatedly ensnared… in this barbed-wire world… swept by the sway of each directional breeze; never truly at ease… struggling hard to find the courage just to be.

Stuff Might Come Up

cascade‘Stuff might come up’ she advised us with characteristic candour. I wondered fleetingly what could remain in me to rise to the surface; what coded secrets lay yet in the depths of my untapped unconscious. The thought checked me only momentarily… gave way to only momentary pause… before my burdened mind, struggling to keep pace with her insight-laden flow, broke free of that which it had snagged upon and resumed its headlong dash in pursuit of the underlying significance of her words, as they poured forth in ever-measured tone… fighting the previously-set limits of my comprehension in an attempt to process in real-time the complexity which she spoke… grasping at clues, implications and the edges of meaning that disappeared from the peripheral view of my consciousness… just as I thought I might catch hold… information overload.

I took her note of caution as a truth… curious only as to what it foretold… what I might stand to glean that hadn’t already been exposed, that might be unlocked and revealed to me, the magnitude of what it could potentially mean, to make the choice to lean, in, to the unknown, to the unforeseen… to inhale it and let it wash over me and go deeper than I’d ever previously been… anticipation and, somewhere lurking, anxiety… not unobserved by any means… tentatively ready, undeniably edgy, still somewhat on my guard… mentally preparing myself in that instant for the plunge… for going no-holds-barred… to go hard. Continue reading

Transient

img_1306

This morning I awoke acutely aware of my first-born’s imminent departure from the childish realm of single-digits and ‘childhood’ into double digits and everything that lies in store for him during the next decade of his life in this Dunya in sha Allah. I look forward, with trepidation, to the time… to entering a new era together… a sense of optimism that is tinged with fear, that I may not rise to the challenge and ever truly become the mother I thought I would be to him; and sadness and regret, at the ways and numerous times that I have undoubtedly failed him.

In many ways it feels like a fresh start and in others like the loss of the baby that I’ve loved so much and erroneously thought I’d always have to hold; the gift and blessing of whom I often took for granted… and now he’s half-way grown… and I feel like I’m watching sand running through an hourglass. I want the time back. I want to do every moment over. I want to cradle him in my arms again for the very first time, skin-to-skin; brand-new, warm, trusting and wise, and to gaze again for the very first time into his beautiful baby face and soulful, knowing eyes. I want to go back to when I had never wronged him or let him down and bask in the unspoiled beauty of that indescribable encounter once again, unblighted by my perpetual guilt and the pain of perceived loss, his and mine.

It is as though in his reaching this milestone I have caught my first real glimpse of the terrible truth I had previously been willfully blind to… that we must one day take leave of one another… and the stark reality is that I have foolishly wasted countless precious moments, locked in the depths of my own fears and frustrations, sombre moods and pensive mind… when instead I could have been rejoicing in his company. These realisations make my heart ache but equally fill me with determination not to waste another minute… not to allow those past  years to have been in vain but rather to learn from the irrevocable and this near anguish within me; to take it as a lesson, hard-learned, and to let it serve as a powerful reminder of the temporality of life and the finite nature of our time.

17.08.2016

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Road Taken

img_1363

Early one morning last December my children and I were out walking our usual well-beaten path when we were surprised to see billowing smoke rising in the air not too far ahead of us. As we drew closer to the apparent source of it we were suddenly  greeted with a loud noise, which we couldn’t identify at first but after a moment discerned to be a steam-train, setting out from our local station. Although we couldn’t see the train itself from our vantage point we stopped and stood watching the tell-tale smoke-trail; turning to follow it with our eyes as it passed the length of the promenade before rounding the headland, South-bound and out of sight.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Road Taken

img_0996

This place that I know intimately remains mysterious.
Sea air and gull cries, stone and salt breeze, sunset and sunrise…
if not here then where can I be at ease?

This place I can’t disentangle my spirit from…
that I long to escape…
remains dear to me,
bound to it by my history, nostalgically.
Pebble beach and grey sand

A sense of bodilessness…
Anchorless and unmoored,
yearning for a place of rest… and for reprieve…
from my restive soul’s badgering,
from thinking and thoughts clamouring,
from the ‘making-sense-of’
and the constant heart’s-hammering
and the considering… which way to turn.

If not here, which place could possibly hold me;
subdue my restlessness;
quell my disquietude;
enfold me and console me?

My sanctuary,
a retreat,
and a reference point for my soul.
My shelter and my bolt-hole,
the perfect layover…
on my way home.

Silhouette of rock, black in the fast-fading light… jutting out into the sea, turned silver by the approaching twilight. Lights twinkle on the distant headland, which lies against a backdrop of burnt orange sky.

A sleek body breaks the surface of the water, turns, still submerged, and disappears again. It retains its anonymity and, for all my eyes strain on the spot, the only perceivable sign of its presence are a few faint, receding, ripples… Allahu alam where it’s gone; melted back into its watery domain.

I remain seated on the stones, drinking in the evening air and sea sounds. I cast glances at my children throwing pebbles into the darkening waves, growing ever-more quiet on the damp shore; racing one another half-heartedly; content despite the death-knell to summer that the cool air sounds.

I sit here dreaming dreams and forming plans for a future I may never witness but would love to see. The water awakens and thrills me; inspires and rejuvenates me; soothes me, heart, soul and mind… I struggle to tear myself away from its majesty.

I’ll sit for one more moment and soak in its perfection… and the perfection of this moment… before we return once more to the place we call home… to sleep and dream of the sea.

25.08.2016

Open Road

The deserted road, like the weeks ahead, stretches out before us and the wind tosses our hair as shadows lengthen and evening approaches. Against the distant skyline stand the mountains… our destination and the unknown. We’ll reach our journey’s end under cover of darkness and watch the sun reappear from a new and unfamiliar vantage point in sha Allah. Life calls, adventure awaits and my two young companions are high on anticipation, alternating between the chatter of plans-in-the-making and the quietude of drinking it all in. I am filled with joyful contentment, and love… I could stay like this with them, in this moment, on this road, forever. My heart swells with gratitude to Allah… for these children, for this feeling, for bringing me to this through the years of pain, anguish and overwhelm… for supporting me even when I deserved His rebuke, for spurring me on when I had no more strength, for making me strong again through Him… for His guidance, His mercy… for stripping me of my attachment to this life, in order that I could learn to attach myself to Him and become whole, for this open road, for it all… my emotions rise as the sun starts to set and slip from view and I thank Him from my deepest core, from the depths of my bruised but happy heart.

19/08/2016