Explorations

A sky of pink-red, washed with blue fills the kitchen window. How quickly we are fooled into new dawns – yet, somehow the wet grey is not able to seduce me like a sky full of sun. Happiness is not derived from the weather, I remind myself. Even on the days of bedraggled windy rain, you know, like a wet dog, right here, going nowhere, I can enter on the breath a territory of hope and repair. The nervous system serenades me as I surf in cellular awe. It’s a chance to leave my head, discover the segue of mind, heart and body, the wildness of living. Outside the dawn chorus believe the rumours of Spring; how they, too, are dazzled by the light and warmth while small white daisies find their feet.

© 2023 Copyright Rick Frame

Discovery

It’s one of those days. I don’t know where to begin. Only a prune brain sits between the ears where inspiration has been dried out in a desert sun. I believe I have nothing to say – which is curious as I have felt so much. Like all those multitudes of colours swimming in the sea, the breathing ocean pushing and pulling, tugged by the old moon. Funny how, in writing with no sense of direction, aimless really, I am exercising and loosening up. I think it has been all the drama of recent years, made me excitable, urged me to write, to find myself and now the turning away from it all, the putting down has brought a calmness and a discovery: my nerves have endings and tingles.

© 2023 Copyright Rick Frame

The artist

I have imagined myself in a space. It’s called Santa Maria Novella, Florence. There is a fresco that spellbinds. It changed the way art happened, providing three dimensional humanity. It’s Masaccio’s ‘Holy Trinity’ and I don’t think I have been the same since I experienced that moment of just looking at the fresco that literally changed art and perspective six hundred years ago.

There is a silence in the crowds of footsteps, an echo of hushed voices of awe. We stand and look, finding our place in the walled chapel, with the Christ hanging. The vaulted ceiling provides the space for the human depth of pain. It’s almost impossible to believe that we are here where Masaccio stood, crafting, painting and changing the world and the way we now cannot unsee what he sees. The energy and excitement and the activity. Oh, to have seen the wall before his presence, the blank canvas; to observe what he was thinking. Just watching him, transfixed. How he never had the luxury of living beyond this, no inkling how he transformed the way we see the world.

© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

Boats and things

Here is the place. A chance to arrive. To give you
breathing room. Sit with how you are feeling.
Not too long. Stay for ten minutes: if you can.
Get into the spaces in between, here you can open up.
Notice yourself at last, boundless; here acknowledge:
‘life is like stepping into a boat that is
about to sail out to sea and sink’. 

But not to worry. Boats float too.

I wrote this in October 2021 and thought I would repost this as a reminder that there are all sorts of possibilities. The quotation comes from Pema Chodron.

© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

New conclusions

I am drawn towards the way in which the body remembers. I use writing as therapy.

It’s dark outside. Distant battles rage in far-flung places. Bush and jungle meet. Daily, briefly headlined, remote. Closer to home, visitors startle the night. The dull ache of my right leg on the white linen consumes the night. Haunted, the ghost of it occupies the space between the years. I remember only sleep brings relief knowing that, in the morning, I will have seen it off until the next time. Meditating, I return. The emptiness of me dislodges the fact that I am no longer owned by pain. I am not as solid as I think.

© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

The body remembers

I am writing a longer piece entitled ‘Out with Lanterns’. It’s a journey into old stories, long told, but drawing new conclusions. Here is an extract.

The problem with the mind: it leads us astray. It gets us to believe all sorts of things. It’s the clinging part, the refusal part, the can’t be arsed, the gullible, the distracted, the home of delusion, the lazy generalisations, the gossipy us, the angry us, the spiteful us. It seeks revenge, it acts out. It’s the stuck record us, the obsessive, compulsive us. It’s the part that is fused on the spectrum. I hear you say, let up on being so mean about the mind. Okay, okay! It’s also the beautiful part of us, the laugh out louds, the wit, the grin on the face, the funny side, the senses of the taste, the smell, the sounds. In between our ears, we love, we cry, we dream, we hope, we dare, we imagine, we create. We take on the world.

Now the body / heart. That’s something else: miraculous, mysterious, wonderful. There are other shades here: a tightness, something painful. It’s where grief sits, is embodied. Yet it is also where the present lives and there is no rushing to catch a train into the future / take a scenic drive into the past.

I am meditating on a chair. It’s a dull English day. The cloud is canopied to the earth. I drop out of my head and into my body. I feel the grief and pain, the loss of something. I smell the conjured up rain as the thirsty earth soaks Bulawayo. It’s a downpour of feelings for a place of my youth. I literally take my body to a country that only memory recognises. It’s dark and the house is quiet. My leg aches again. Growing pains! I hear you say in your distinct English accent. I say, even though you are long gone: funny how the pain lives on, still returns half a century later. It’s like the body remembers.

I scan the back of my body. The back of my crown, my shoulders, the small of the back, the legs and I stay with this. It keeps me drifting back to my head where stories are told.

© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

For Ally

 

I think grief is the love that has to find a place to go, now that the person we’re grieving is no longer here [grief] cuts as deep as it does because the love is as profound as it is. Jeff Chu

I traveled through last night like a light on a space ship. We flew close to the owl that called, heard the wisdom that we are nothing but with love we are everything. You kept me company, saying words of encouragement. You are okay, you say. Then the concern in the question you ask. How is your relationship with grief? I crumble at the thought you are not here and the sorrow we hold deeper than the dark. We lean into where it hurts.

You sit me down and make me laugh with your go big: you beg to disagree. I am butterfly. I am dance. I am bird song in the morning. I am everything and I am with you every day, loving you fiercely. You say the words of Cohen. ‘There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.’

Trust your heaviness

You could easily see his shape against the skyline moonlight. The waves strolled onto the beach as they had done since before the first foot print. A light breeze caught the fisherman’s face as he cast the rod, the dark line against the full moon crouching on the ocean. Peace that passes all understanding, a stillness against the roar of the ocean, the sea mist descending, the gift he brings. Give yourself permission: be just as you are in the moment; find beauty in places that you had lost in grief. You will not understand until you trust your heaviness. Like birds do.

In memory of Steve.

Originally published under the title ‘Full Moon’ in March 2022.

Waiting

What were you hoping to achieve? I penned the question to the silence of the dead. It’s a good question – I can begin to lean into an answer over the course of days, weeks, months.

I am not sure. That is the first reply. I take it as genuine as I remember his emotional poverty. Within the context of that time, I thought what I was doing correct. I knew no better. I wanted to somehow protect you.

It did the opposite, I almost want to shout back. It did the opposite? The echo of the voice stripped of feeling, mortification, a solid self-belief he was right.

Let me put that aside for a while. I am curious. I want to know more. I want to know why he was like that. Perhaps there is another question that comes before.

Do you have any insight into how what you did made me feel even though, at the time, you told me to shut up and didn’t want to know?

I wait in the winter sunshine for an answer.

© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame