Every year, every month, each day of our life is different, though it consists of the very same things we are used to doing. The festivities, the commemoration days, the holiday periods are there so we can change the mundane and at the same time they build a path of certain stability, something that waits for us always at the same time of the year. The mixture of repetition and change. Change that implies curiosity, expectation, thrill, pleasure but also fear of losing, of not getting there or going backwards. Stability that implies peace, effortlessness, pleasure, feeling of control but also fear of stagnation, boredom, spiritual death. I always used to love November for all this – the ambiguity and the opposites brought into harmony. The rainy and dark days and the warm light of candles and street lamps. The cool air and the hot tea after a long walk. The fog in the morning and the distant sun at the lunch time. The cold lakes we enjoyed in the summer that still welcome ducks and swans for a splash. The colourful leaves that dance their last dance with the wind and then land quietly on the ground in order to decay. The silence of emptiness at the cemeteries and the hope for eternal. The remembering and letting go. The sadness but not despair. The fireplace and cracking of the wood that diminishes in front of your eyes. The warmth that stays after it is gone. The films with happy endings and the life stories with or without happy endings. The slowness of the time and the speed of days, months, years passed. Everything changes only the November feeling stays the same…
November has always been the month of leaves falling down, rain falling down, the earth evaporating its characteristic smell. November is the dark early in the morning and in the afternoon, the strange melancholy of street lamps that shine on people walking quickly. They are wrapped in their coats and look down not just because they want to avoid rain puddles.
It is the time of All Saints and the gatherings at cemetery where lie the beloved ones or the ones we have never met but are linked to us by whatever story.
Coming and going. The life cycle.
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I was expecting you with joy, curiosity, ease of a girl who loves children but does not really know what a motherhood means. I read a lot about what happens inside of me and about giving the birth and nothing about what comes afterwards. I was sure that I would breathe it through, you would be healthy and I would be fit within 6 weeks. Then you came. Not with ease, I did not breathe it through. I was not fit in 6 weeks but you were healthy, big and you ate a lot. What came afterwards was the biggest discovery of my life, the biggest mystery and an immense challenge. Your clear blue eyes were my mirror and I could spend hours just looking at you.The autumn was beautiful, warm with its characteristic smell and I walked a lot in the area we lived. I enjoyed the silence and solitude and your sleep and breath were reassuring. Continue reading
She was born quickly as if she could not wait to see the new horizons. She was so tiny that I was afraid to hold her even though I already had one baby at home. She was “tanned” from jaundice and needed a special baby cot with a light as if she wanted to tell us that she was different from her brother and that we had to learn everything about babies from a scratch. She was a baby constantly seeking contact – skin to skin, impossible to be put down from loving arms. Continue reading
When you read the word submission what are the connotations that come to your mind? Being weak, being less, surrender, having nothing to say, being silent, giving up, being defeated, being not enough, letting go, not bothering, could not care less, to obey, to be attached, not having power, to be dominated…? Continue reading
Dear God, I am not sure you are there…but if you are: please spare my children of pain and suffering. Not the pain we experience when things we desire go wrong but the pain and suffering that occur when you fight for survival. I am afraid that the world and people will not be kind to them. Sometimes I think that the things might go very wrong in the future. I know that you told us not to be afraid of what will happen tomorrow but sometimes I do. Continue reading
We would be celebrating today, probably at the terrace without any pompous gestures. Mum would prepare the cake with Parisian cream, the one she always does for these occasions. I would probably pop up with some symbolic present since you had always said you had everything. You would smile with that particular smile that meant you are ok and happy. You were not a man of many words. I wonder what would you say about my already big kids. When Sam was born he looked at me with your eyes. He looks a lot like you. When Emma was born we gave her a second name Alexandra not because of me but you. She asks about you when we look at the photographs. Sam would give you tons of questions and you could talk to him about the war. Emma would make you laugh with her silliness and energy. Would we talk about what I do in the big world? Would you be happy that I made it in a French speaking country? You would love the garden mum is taking care of. The wonderful park she made out of it. Everybody wonders about its beauty. Mum is so connected with the earth that the earth gives her back the living energy. Would you remember how she always frantically worked in our old garden? Sam loves gardening too and they have this special connection when they walk around and talk about trees, ants damaging the grass, annoying cats, tomatoes that do not grow etc. I often sweep the floor. I have to laugh secretly because I see you – thinking that sweeping the floor would make the order in the household 🙂 Now I understand the gesture – it calms me down. Emma started to play the piano. She gets angry when she makes mistakes. I do not know how to push her without being pushy. I also started again. Slowly. I hate it because I do not remember the notes, feeling dumb but trying to overcome the feeling of not being what you imagined me to be. Petra did a lot of work around the house. She has the same drive as you had. Dealing with masons and local village representatives. You know the endless correspondence you had always had. She continues. She wants things the get done, to get better. She is the dreamer you were. Trusting strangers. Leaving bags with purses full of money and being robbed of them like you. At least you know she has money :-). We went to the cemetery to sweep off the leaves and buy new flowers. Mum did not let me to sweep since she has a better and more efficient method as she told me. I could not stop smiling. I talked with a gardener there because we did not have the container for the garbage nearby. The driver set off at 7 in the morning and by 11 he was not back. I walked across the graveyard to find another one and thought about all the winters we all passed by to light up the candles for your parents. I think about you. Often. I know you know. I miss you. You would be 90. Happy birthday.
It was late afternoon and I went to the hospital with my elderly father. After thorough check-up the week before during which the cardiology results appeared to be alarming he was simply sent there. And so we went together – me with him because he always hated that typical smell of hospitals – detergent on linoleum floor showing to patients that they are in a proper environment where all germs were killed, systematically in order to make everybody safe and yet nobody felt safe there. If you were well and safe you would not end up in a hospital, would you?
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Summer fever created by Pokemon Go causes headaches to mums who want to stay cool but nevertheless cautious about children’ s privacy rights. Go or not to go?
Already, tales of mythic proportions surround the ‘Pokémon Go’ app. Reports abound of stabbings, robbings, shootings, people falling off cliffs and even finding corpses as they play the game. There are concerns about sex offenders targeting children, and children accessing dangerous spaces to get their next Pokémon monster. A New Zealand resident recently quit his job to play the game full-time, and people joined crowds to get to a rare monster in Central Park, fostering anxieties about addiction. Now even the police are using the app to catch fugitives. The moral panic surrounding the launch of new media titles is not new, as I have discussed previously when comparing the audience response to the Disney film ‘Frozen’ to that of the ‘Davy Crockett’ film launched in the 1950s, but what is of interest is the speed of this response, given that ‘Pokémon Go’…
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