Friday, November 30, 2012

Quietly feeding

 
 I needed stillness. The end of the year always brings extra pressures. This year, out of the blue, and in the midst of bringing my new book to completion, an unexpected deadline arrived.
Five of my previously published books have won funding to be converted into ebooks. The proof-reading process has been laborious, because I can't mark the 'pages', and have to write copious notes to describe the mistakes and corrections. So I've been taking it slowly. But yesterday I was given a deadline of December 15. After that date, there will be no more funding.
 Today I focussed intently, ignoring the newly arrived printout of my new book that also requires proof reading. Between bursts of activity, I took time out at the jetty, to do my tai chi.
The tide was going out.
A kingfisher sat on the boat ramp, very still, watching the water.
Beyond, a heron stalked the water's edge, searching for fish.
The wind rustled the leaves in the overhanging pohutukawa trees, which at times seemed to sigh with a long outbreath.
The water rippled in gentle swathes of greys and greens.
Tai chi by the sea slows me down and helps me to enter a different rhythm.
Even though the heron seemed active, compared with the kingfisher, it too paused between forays, and assumed utter stillness.
Watching these birds, serenely seeking their next meal, helped me to slow down and trust that all is well, the impossible task will be done.

I always loved Dylan Thomas's lines about the heron - 'herons spire and spear', and these lines also from 'Poem in October':

Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
    Priested shore . . . 
The priestly presence of the heron, and its companion, the kingfisher, brought me into sanctuary and a sense of gratitude.


12 comments:

Cecilia said...

goodness me that is a lot of work and congratulations too! I imagine your tai chi keeps your mind from becoming frantic. I feel like I need a little of that right now.. I can't wait to be home. Though instead of centering myself on the beach I am sure I will be eating fish and chips and throwing tiny bits to the gulls! Which sounds absolutely sublime to me right now.. take car and enjoy this brief spurt of editing.. deadlines come soon enough! c

juliet said...

Cecilia, so good to see you here in the midst of all your flurries! Eating fish & chips and throwing bits to the gulls sounds pretty relaxing to me, after all the animals you've had to take care of. Gulls look after themselves. Nice to think that you are on your way home.
Thank you.

Hotly Spiced said...

That's fantastic that you have funding for your books. I know the editing process can be so time-consuming and draining and there are no shortcuts! I hope you're able to meet your deadline xx

Lynley said...

Congratulations on receiving funding to digitise your books!

Go well with the deadline. Step by step through it....and breathe.....

I spotted a kingfisher a day or so back too. Lovely to see them.

juliet said...

* Charlie, it was great to get this funding and to know that the books can go world-wide as ebooks.

* Lynley, step by step is the way. Glad a kingfisher is visiting you too.

Thank you for your good wishes, Charlie and Lynley.

Anne Dean Ruffell said...

Just when things seemed to be calming down! But exciting news that you have funding - congratulations! I've no doubt that you'll meet the deadlines and then you need to escape to the bach again and recover! Good luck with all the editing.

juliet said...

Anne, there is no such thing as calming down right now! This proof-reading for the digital conversion has been going on for a while - I keep putting it aside because it's so hard. Good to know that the bach is waiting for me.
Thanks

Vicki Lane said...

A beautiful meditation on the need for respite... you're fortunate to have such a place nearby.

Vicki Lane said...

A beautiful meditation on the need for respite... you're fortunate to have such a place nearby.

Penny O'Neill said...

That is very exciting news, Juliet, even if it comes with a looming deadline. Good luck.

Ruth P said...

Truly wonderful news Juliet, but oh golly those external deadlines can be so unwelcome sometimes! In amongst the hectic pace like that, I sometimes also find a night sky (we have wonderful stars here) or eyes shut outside feeling the air/breeze/wind on my face helps to keep some balance in the whirling expectations of others. Wishing you well with and beyond kingfisher visits.

juliet said...

* Vicki, great to see you back on deck again!

* Penny, I'm so besieged by deadlines that I can forget that it's fantastic to have this funding. Thanks for reminding me that it is exciting.

* Ruth, and thanks for your reminder too. It is good news. Ah, the night sky. I miss it when I'm in the city.

Thank you Vicki, Penny, and Ruth. You have encouraged me.