Category Archives: journeying

Stuck – comment 23

I was feeling really stuck today and didn’t know what to draw or write about.

I felt bogged down, not inspired at all. So I looked up the meaning of stuck and found its ambiguity. There is a swamped, drowning sense, a feeling of being overwhelmed. An abandoned, beached, a high and dry sense. There is a sense of being imprisoned, powerless, glued and unable to escape. And then there is the secure sense of steadfastness, faithfulness and loyalty, the friend who has stuck with you.

So where am I today? Perhaps it’s all of them…

So I drew my glue, which I use a lot when I’m being creative, and thought of all the meanings of stuck.


Take your time – comment 13

Aaagh! This was so difficult to draw! My silvery wrist watch, with all the flexible segments in the strap, reflecting light all over the place. Why on earth did I try it?

Well it is so much a part of my every day life, I look at it a lot. I arrange my day according to its golden hands and where it says I am, and where I’ve got to get to. And the round faces of watches and clocks are not the only way I measure time, numbers are displayed digitally on my bedside alarm, and as a countdown on my computer. Counting the seconds, minutes, hours.

I didn’t get this painting right, and I feel reluctant to post it. But perhaps it is a reminder that for all our attempts to measure time we won’t always keep to time or be on time. And perhaps there is no need to hurry any way.

So let’s just take our time.

Keep moving – comment 5

Well it took some effort, but yesterday I managed to unearth my trainers from the cupboard and went off to my first exercise class of 2018. We were all sluggish and slow after our Christmas break, but we made a start, and I for one felt much better for it.

Keep moving everyone!

Keep singing – comment 2

I heard this feisty little bird singing before the dawn this morning. Often associated with Christmas and snow, he is also most certainly a gardener’s friend during the muddy grey days of winter.

Keep singing in the dark little robin.

Small stones or “comments”

I have been pondering whether to continue my tradition of posting “small stones” throughout January. The first year I did this was January 2012 when I joined others in the ” River of small stones“. Since then the habit of slowing and observing has served me well, especially when I am stressed.

But feeling I must continue with a tradition is sometimes counterproductive because then it becomes a chore and duty – an energy sapper, rather than something which reinvigorates me. This morning on the Mindful Balance blog I was encouraged to read these words by Mary Oliver…

…the world, moist and bountiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. “Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?”

So this year I will try and post comments, a response to my everyday world, either as a drawing or painting like last year, or in a few words. And it may not be every day!

Here is the first, viewed from our kitchen window this morning, and it certainly was moist!

Beech tree revisited

A feature of Facebook I quite like is the “on this day” memory prompt. Today I was reminded of what I posted to this journal five years ago… I have revisited that word sketch, and my subsequent post, before today. When studying metaphors and imagery in poetry on my MA course I looked through the window at that same tree, and thought about life, and the seasons of the soul.

Today the tree is still here, and so am I. Both older. Since then I know more of my ancestral grounds, and more of the sadness of loss and letting go. But I also hold on to the hope and promise of that life which is ongoing, and which cannot be quenched. It will stir again in spring.

Here is the three part poem I eventually wrote from my first word sketch five years ago. The voice of the poem shifts from being in the tree, then addressing the tree, and finally describing the tree from a longer time perspective. I find this is a process which often helps me cope with the changes and seasons of life. I hope you enjoy it.

Beech Tree Revisited

I stand tall, frame strong, robust

black arms, branching into finger twigs,

dressed respectably in leaves

of supple bronze, green sap holds firm.

Days disrobe me. Clothes fade

to shabby rags, brown stains of death.

Threadbare cloak pulls from my back.

I am stripped,



Here are your reaching fingers,

clutching brittle dying debris.

Here are your silvered arms,

rain sluiced, wind tossed.

Skeletal shoulders

bear the winter of your soul.

Here is your straight scarred trunk.

Here is the moss wrapped body.

Here an inner downward thrust,

to roots deep underground

where something unknown

wants to live.


Chattering excitement spills

from nestlings, sheltered

in wooden box pinned to her heart,

Circling crows above her head,

like v-shaped birds drawn

on the sky by children’s hands.

She stretches fingers to the blue,

touches shimmering rain clouds

with swelling tips of pink

which burst to lime,

and hurrying, lace gloves

pulled on, she waves

in welcome to the spring. Then turns,

still rooted in ancestral ground,

to dance along new paths, where

from beneath the litter of past years,

spouting bluebells fountain

into pools around her feet.

Cilla Sparks

Entwined threads

No posts recently from me because I have been feeling very tired and not 100% well. A virus? Or related to a long term condition I have had for many years I’m not sure, but some blood tests soon will hopefully give some clues.

I find it hard not to feel miserable when I feel ill, and the wider news – local, national and international is not encouraging either.  Physical and mental are so closely connected for me, entwined even. This morning I was reading Deborah Alma’s “The Emergency Poet” ( a great poetry anthology for “down” moments) and happened upon this little extract from William Blake.

“Man was made for joy and woe;

And when this we rightly know,

Through the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,

A clothing for the soul divine,

Under every grief and pine

Runs a joy with silken twine.”       From Auguries of Innocence

Weaving, cloth, thread and fabric are metaphors I can understand and relate to strongly, as the name I chose for my blog indicates. And then I found myself reading from Beverly Gordon “Textiles the Whole Story”, (a wonderful book about the meaning and significance of textiles in our lives). She describes so many rich metaphors about threads, but what stood out for me today was her description of how entwining and weaving provides beauty, strength and durability to the cords and cloths which hold us.

So perhaps I can gain courage today that the paradox of joy and woe entwined is ultimately a source of strength. And, just like the surprising toughness of natural silk, we can be reassured of joy, even when it’s hidden, running along the twisted threads of our lives.

Just as I was thinking this the postman delivered some Kaffe Fassett fabric remnants I’d bought from EBay. Not silk, but the colours are certainly joyous! Enjoy…