This is how the blog post usually works...
I think of something, through the week, and I decide that will be the point of that week’s blog post. Then I alternately mull over it and ignore it until some nebulous form comes to exist in my head. Then I write it, rewrite it, juggle it all around, try to bring it to some semblance of a coherent conclusion then I put it up.
That’s it, in a nutshell.
Not this week though. Not this bloody week.
This week, my mind can’t seem to settle on any one thing to write about. I’ve found myself jumping from thing to thing, thinking about each thing a bit, moving on, and not reaching any kind of semi-useful conclusion about anything.
What to do?
I figured I’d just write a few lines about each of the things that have been taking up my brain time and see if some kind of linkage or random moral occurs before I press send. I wouldn’t bet on it though, not heavily anyway.
Mountains: I went up a mountain the week. My lovely wife and I. It was her birthday week so we took a day out of time and went up Croagh Patrick, our local mountain, known hereabouts at The Reek. I went up it once before, about ten years ago, and I am pleased to say I found it to be a damned sight easier this time. I guess it’s the bit of jogging I do now that I didn’t do before. The Reek is one of those remarkable places. Beautiful but daunting. Achievable but scary. Possible but only just. People talk to each other as they meet on the mountain. They tell where they have come from and how they are getting on. It’s as if some mysterious lodestone deep within the bedrock draws their intimacies out of them. It’s rather nice.
Memories: This week, I took custody of all the photo albums that my Dad left behind when he passed away. They’re in the hall in a series of boxes. Everybody is in there, younger and (in some cases) considerably more alive. I’m in there, getting married and having my sons Christened – a moustached greyhound of a young dude who I hardly recognise anymore. My wife is in there too, she hasn’t changed a bit. It’s funny how photos from within my lifetime, which I remember, do not seem half as old as the photos which were taken just before my time. That may seem blindingly obvious but the difference in perception is huge. The people I knew, frozen there in their Polaroids, are real to me such that they might ring my doorbell at any moment and come in demanding tea. They won’t of course, they’re long gone.
Having studied some of the photos for a while, I would offer a word of advice on when it comes to having your own photo taken, even if it’s only a boisterous group-selfie. Smile. Give it large to the camera. You never know which photo may come to define you to generations of your family to come. Make it a good one.
Magpies: I stopped outside my house the other evening and enjoyed the sight of a large Magpie doing battle with his reflection in a neighbour’s window. The Magpie must have somehow sensed my appreciation because he’s been coming over and doing it to my windows ever since. He starts early. Six thirty on Saturday morning it was and him doing the rounds of every window in the house. “What is this box,” he must wonder, “ stuffed full with my brothers and each as belligerent as me.” His tapping sounds like my Uncle Willie coming to visit at my childhood home. He was too familiar to ring the bell so he would tap meaningfully on the glass. When the Magpie calls, I feel a fleeting urge to go and let Willie in.
Mothers: Ah yes, it’s Mother’s Day and I’ve written about that before so I won’t go too far along that road again. Seeing my own boys collect themselves and troop down with card and chocolates, I’m just reminded of how different a responsibility Mother’s Day is when the Mother in question is no longer alive. When she’s here, it’s a matter of fulfilling some perceived expectation. A delivery of a small gift, a visit. It’s an observance. The appreciation, the true appreciation only starts to come when there is no hand to place the gift in. Then the gift becomes something altogether more pure; memory, appreciation, regret. A shame we can’t do it better when the Mother is still here to know it.
That’s it. A random collection of thoughts from a week, any of which could have been bloated up to the customary 800 word post. It just didn’t feel right to do that.
But what links them, ties them together? What was my subtle obsession that, this week, herded my thoughts through these gates? I feel there is something… something about time and passing and regret and valuing things… but I don’t quite grasp it. Not now. Not yet.
For now, I’ll just go with the most obvious link and say to you, with a smile, that this week’s post was brought to you… by the letter ‘M’.