Saturday, 15 October 2011
By Amber Poole
What I like most about getting older is giving myself permission to be messy again. Not in the sense of physical disorganization as I must admit I do like tidy, but in the appreciation of drawing outside the lines. With each passing day, I am more and more bemused by my younger self so desirous of acceptance and recognition; the yesterday me surrendering to a social order composed of individuals who themselves are in a similar predicament of framing their lives to fit the equation of “doing the right thing” or “the smart thing” in hopes this will bring about some kind of personal satisfaction. I suppose if society were a static creature, one might be able to reap a reward, a nod of approval from time to time, a cushy place that says “you’re part of the tribe” but the problem with this exchange rate is society is anything but static: it’s a moving target subject to caprice, unpredictability and cruelty.
I’ve spent too much of my life living this way; adapting it to suit some one else’s idea of the way things work and I don’t want it anymore.
I like it that not all my arguments are rational. I like that I look like a jumble sale when I’m walking down the street. I like Flemish paintings. I like still life and split pomegranates oozing their juices and dead pheasants lying on a pine table with robust men and women leaning into each other, tilting their steins heavenward. I like a woman peeling turnips with a faraway look in her eye. I like domestic life caught here in the in between: in between one motion and the next. For that moment, the artist has frozen the full swing of life for us to view in great detail and in deep meditation.
Paul and I have been staying in Dorset these past days, talking long hikes, eating sumptuous meals, sleeping long hours, underground with our dreams and all that is in the mystery. We read to each other.
My life is a blessing, that in my age and wisdom I am learning to celebrate just as it is. I don’t need to be understood or lavished with attention anymore. But I do need to flood my soul with those things for which it hungers; for those things it implores from me.
It says: Draw outside the lines, make your own still life, walk slowly, thoughtfully, write your life into a poem that one ponders and reads again and again. Laugh with yourself like a best friend. Love your imperfections. Hold gratitude up as the most sacred understanding of this chaos and mystery we call life.
These are the thoughts that I’ve been having at Champs Land in Dorset.
My life is like a still life set to motion.