Alive now, on this day, at this time

I’ve been at the sea again. And the sea’s been at me. Loosening my thoughts and making them pretty.

If you read my fiction you will find the sea there, over and over, creeping in along the shore of my depictions. The backdrop, it is the past, where I grew up, it is the continuous, that constant energy inherent in nature, the falling away and returning.

I picked up driftwood, seaweed, stones.

Everything is moving so fast. Events looked forward to, swing past and are gone. The 2 year old is a 3 year old then heading onto 4, the construction of his conversation evidence of the passing of time, the gaining of some things, the loss of others. I am here now, on this day, at this time. I cannot climb over the sea wall as easily as before. I think it is just this day, tiredness, but this happens more and more. I am getting older. I am not seventeen walking in circles on the sand wondering what is going to happen. Much of my life has now happened. The sea is always there.

I have a free morning to write. I have a novel to write, to cling fast to, to make the vehicle of what I hold dear. I have not written much these past weeks, life has taken over, family, the garden, each rose coming out in sequence, one beautifully scented one a remembrance of my grandmother, coming from her garden. I remember her, alive, we were all together. It is getting further and further away.

As I get older I fill with observation, on the beach a child’s sock, a toddler with her grandfather, seed heads. Today the sea went Hooo, Hooosh. I want to live now. I want to say yes to my children. I want to tell you something that will go into the future when I am no longer here, alive, now on this day, at this time. I want to write and write and write all the ordinary glorious, I want to sit in the sun and forget everything.

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9 comments

  1. Beautiful. I lived by the sea as a child and left. I always went home to see the sea. I moved back for eleven years and lived in a lovely seafront townhouse until I moved on again. And I misss the sea once more. I need to go back and take a long walk. I loved it best when it crashed down, white dragons flaring, spouting their ire and the next day when it was calm again.
    And to write and write and write … I share your thoughts.

  2. Hello, I found this via Twitter, and wanted to say how beautifully it describes getting older. Sad and lovely, thank you.
    Sara

  3. This moved me to tears. Your feelings are reflected in me… only many years down the line. Your words remind me of my mother who died last month and now I’m older, the older generation, and I’m no longer walking round in circles… but I’m still thinking round in cirlces. Do we ever stop wondering what’s going to happen? I’m trying to live in the now but I can’t quite shake off the past.

  4. Alison,

    This is so beautiful and so timely for me, too. I have been going through so many changes, which involves letting go and hoping to start anew.

    As my children finish another school year today, I feel everything you have described with intensity. I go through grief often when I see them grow and change, luckily joy follows in equal intensity. It is a reflective time, to be in our 40s, to watch our children grow, to feel the desire to write so deeply what we experience.

    I learned about a mother who wrote letters to her children for the future because she was dying of cancer and wouldn’t be around for their graduation, marriage, etc. Actually, none of us know our time to go, and I have decided to do something similar. I write notes about what I want my children to know as their “family legacy.” This is writings full of stories, values, beliefs, and our feelings/thoughts as parents about them as they grow. We have started letters to them each year on their birthday. And, one of my novels is encapsulating what I know about their culture and heritage.

    Thanks for such a deeply moving slice of your reflective life. It helped me realize I am not alone in this feeling of wanting to capture “only now,” the only place of real respite from our grief and desires.

  5. Oh Alison, how lovely! Your words are so beautiful and I love how you string them together. Your creative talent is amazing.

    I can relate to these words, as many can, at this stage of my life. We never know when it will be our time and you have reminded me to make sure I let my family know what I believe to be important in this life and to leave a legacy of love with them.

    Thank you for this, Alison:-)

  6. Such a beautiful post. As a mother, particularly, I can relate to a lot of the experience behind this and for me, in part, writing is a way of freeze-framing snippets of life — quotes, snapshot portraits, journals, etc. But time still stamps on…
    I love your line, ‘each rose coming out in sequence’ — that sums up a lot. Perhaps everything.
    On a related note, I’ve been writing a piece called ‘Carpe Kiddum’ for my blog (not published yet) in which I describe how Fiona Robyn’s ‘Small Stones’ project spurred me into writing more with my kids — and I’ve found that involving them in my daily writing (instead of always juggling writing versus kids) feels like a very welcome slowing of time — if only for a moment!

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