Never mind hubris, vanity, greed. Humanity’s actual tragic flaw is the ability to have a raging tantrum when your mother brings you a peanut butter bagel because you asked for it. Then, howling, refuse it and demand honey. And on being presented with honey, howl some more and scrape the offending honey off the very last bagel with your fingers and wipe it on the table. But don’t stop there. As Mummy’s cleaning the table, hit her while howling at her to put the stains back. Just so there’s no confusion, the flaw here isn’t rage or untamed ego. It’s the temptation to commit infanticide. Might as well dangle a live chicken over a crocodile swamp.
To keep the chicken alive, I shut myself in the bathroom for a moment and opened the window. It's a small window but it's a way out. Cold air hit my face, dragging me back to February. I breathe it in anyway and brace myself as I remember what I read last night in Fiona Robyn's e-book How To Write Your Way Home*, about why I've been writing every day for the last few months, what seeing and writing small stones actually means. I opened my eyes. At first - the same things I always see - the broken green plastic watering can, the puddle on top of Jake's overturned paddling pool, the roof of our shed, its skin peeling off in layers of black and grey. To my left, the neighbour's garden. A weathered wooden picnic table. A patch of weeds. An abandoned barbeque, still black with soot. And then, a brick wall. And growing out it, branches of buddleja. Grey green leaves and last summer's browned flowers, still there, as if rusted in place. The roots have made cracks in the wall. And just like that, my mood shifted.
Even after I close the window, it is still there, growing under no one's gaze, according to no person's carefully drawn plans. Somewhere else, a seed breaks open. Somewhere else, a root pushes through and makes space.
This month I'm taking part in an e-course, writing as a spiritual practice. I don't know what I'm going to blog about or how often. I usually like to have a plan, to pretend to know what I'm doing. This month my only plan is to do what feels right.
* This e-book can be downloaded here for free.