Sunday, December 15, 2013


The trick at this time of the year is to stay cool. Everything is hotting up: the temperature, the pace of life, the energy of the sun rising to the solstice. The moon is swelling into fullness. Christmas is pumping out its demanding energy. The year is winding up and everyone suddenly wants closure. People are frantically racing here and there shopping for Christmas and organising the great exodus of the summer holidays; such stressful conjunctions!
 Staying cool means going out early on Sunday morning to shop. The farmer's market is an easy place to wander and select fresh produce. I return with all that I need for a stir fry meal. Staying cool means remaining inside during the heat of the day. I rest my hurt rib, make a cup of green tea and bite into a new season's apricot.
At the end of the afternoon I emerge once more, taking a punnet of blueberries down to the sea. They disappeared so fast that I didn't think to take a photo. But they were beautiful, with their dusky roundness.  One by one they popped into my mouth as I listened to the lapping waves.
 Then I did my tai chi by the sea, waving hands like clouds, scooping up the sea, flying like a grey goose and smiling at the pohutukawa blossom that has dipped down to greet me.
 Yes, summer is here. It all happened so fast, but here it is and a holiday is calling.
Staying cool means taking things slowly, like packing up the treasure trove of books that I bought last week. What fun it was to spend the book vouchers I won for being short-listed for a major book award.
 Down by the sea I take time to sip poems, one by one, from an exquisite little book called 'Gleam' by NZ poet Sarah Broom. Sarah understands the soothing effect of conscious breathing:

I am trying to breathe
like the slow, low purr of a drowsy cat
like the languid sway of an empty swing
like the shiver of a thistle in the wind
Summer is here and soon I will be settling in to the bach, ready to enter the rhythm of the tides, the wood pigeons and the floating stars. Aah. . . the very thought is soothing.


Leanne said...

mmm some wonderful books and calender in that pile - I could think of no better way to spend money than on books!
Hope you are feeling better real soon - lots of good food, rest, sun and books will help you rest up
Love Leanne

Terry and Linda said...

It comforts me that you are having beautiful days and warm nights. Makes me glad. We are in cold frozen worlds up north, but to know the tilt of earth brings great joy to those down under makes my winter better!

Merry Christmas

¸.•*¨*•♪♫♫♪Merry Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

Juliet said...

* Leanne, books are certainly a special treat. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

* Linda, so glad that you can share the pleasure of our beautiful days while you are in the freezing time. Your comment is a lovely example of 'sympathetic joy' that I wrote about in an earlier post.

Penny O'Neill said...

It is so cold here, Juliet, unseasonably cold in a cold climate. Your soothing words and the imagined warmth of the sunshine feel good on my bones right now. Speaking of bones, I do hope your rib is doing better and that your pain has abated, or at least subsided some. Enjoy your warm weather and all those books!

Juliet said...

* Penny, the cold must be hard so early in the winter season. My rib is slowly healing, thank you, and the pain is not so sharp now. I'm glad to send you some warmth. We are unseasonably warm for so early in the summer.

Anonymous said...

Do you spend all summer at the bach? Must be lovely there. I didn't know Rilke wrote a Book of Hours?

Hotly Spiced said...

You're so right about things hotting up. I feel the pace of life increasing by the hour. Like you, I'm off to do something relaxing today and give myself a bit of a time-out. I'm heading off to do a swim squad where I won't have any time for any frantic thoughts about all there is to be done in the next week. Your fruits and vegetables look really good xx

Juliet said...

* silkannthreades, the Book of Hours has been translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows, and maybe they even compiled them and gave that title. The back cover says they are 'poems of spiritual yearning & discovery composed by the young Rilke'. This translation is one recommended by Stephanie Dowrick in her book on Rilke.
I won't have all summer at the bach as others will be using it too, but a nice chunk of time and many visits.

*Charlie, a swim squad sounds like a cool way to take time out. Hope you can relax there.

Thanks, silkannthreades and Charlie, good to see you.

cecilia g said...

Oh that verse on breath was exactly right, exactly right for me right now, thank you Juliet.. c

Juliet said...

Celi, I'm so glad! I thought this one might speak to you. Sarah Broom is a new discovery, a wonderful poet. Wishing you gentle breathing and a gentle continued recovery.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet .. loved the green of the previous post - bless the rain. Kikuyu grass is a tough old strain .. but cracking a rib - how painful ...

Now to this post and the heat - those veggies look delicious ...

Wonderful you were able to spend those book vouchers .. and being able to rest up out of the midday sun ..

Enjoy the warmth of summer and those lazy hazy days .. but heal quickly and enjoy the veg! Cheers Hilary

Juliet said...

* Hilary, glad you enjoyed the posts. You will know all about kikuyu I should think. I'm gradually getting better, but the holiday will be very welcome.
Thanks for calling.