Thursday, 8 December 2011

somewhere between 'full of woe' and 'far to go'

Once again I'm writing the blog in the early hours of the day *after* the day the blog is supposed to be about. These blogs have turned into the thing I do before I go to bed: a last-nite activity; a lullaby of sorts. And these early-hours blogs are written on a kind of cusp, suspended somewhere between the day I've had and the day that's yet to come. I'm on borrowed time: borrowed from tomorrow, which is technically today.

For some reason, tonite I've got an English rhyme in my head:

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

As I write, right now, I'm somewhere between Wednesday and Thursday. If days were Venn diagrams, this moment would be where Wednesday and Thursday intersect. According to the nursery rhyme, this means I'm somewhere between full of woe and far to go.

Which is funny because I just got off the phone from cousin Terese, and we had a massive talk about the distance between home and away... we talked about the luxury of proximity, and the ways we have always had of keeping up connections across space and, perhaps, time... we talked about the problem of not travelling outside of familiar space and the risks of not travelling home... we talked about the ways in which practical, small, human, inclusive, welcoming practices can be the difference between coming and going... we talked about having 'far to go' (a long way to go before reaching an acceptable standard) and having 'far to go' (many amazing possible journeys stretching out in the future ahead of us)... and we talked about how being full of woe - including the remnants of woe - can deeply shape your attitude and openness to movement and curiosity and, ultimately, connection.

Sure, some of this discussion was about individual physical lives but it was also about emotional and spiritual lives, and about collectives: families, hapu, marae, organisations, and so on.

So, between being full of woe and having far to go.

While we talked, I was wearing a new pair of boots I bought tonite in a sale. They felt a bit snug in the store, but they were on a huge discount and were not just gorgeous but snow-ready, so after I was assured I could bring them back as long as I hadn't worn them outside I paid for them and brought them home. I wanted to try them on to see if they would stretch a bit, and to see if this kind of tight is too tight. I've had the new boots on for about two hours now, and I'm sad to say that I think they might indeed be a bit too tight! One thing I've noticed, though, is that over the course of time my feet have shifted between feeling squashed and sore, and feeling fine. The times my feet are feeling fine, I need to explain, are not when the boots have stretched to fit (they haven't, and likely won't) but they are instead when my feet have been so tightly compressed that they fall asleep! After a while, I get pins and needles, then they hurt again, and then - miracle - I can't feel them anymore! (Nope, not because they had room to wriggle. Yep, because they're asleep.)

This process of waiting for the consctricting boots to fit, and my realisation that the feeling of my feet is not a good indicator of how well the boots fit unless I consider how my feet feel over a longer period of time, reminds me a bit of this idea of proximity and movement and migration and distance. Sometimes constriction feels squashy and tight, but sometimes we adjust to our conditions... not because the conditions have become better but because we have ceased to have the ability to tell anymore; our own warning systems have given up on warning us about the problem of not giving ourselves room, and this means, ultimately, thast we're less likely to move.

Nancy Sinatra's boots were made for walking, but these boots were not. I've got far to go and the woe these boots will cause will prevent me from getting far, even in those moments when I think they feel fine, or at least adequate.

It was a good chat with Terese tonite. Tt was good to be reminded of the vast and multi-layered histories of migration which we have inherited as Taranaki people: across oceans, across land, across generations. Full of woe, far to go. But also far to go...

No comments:

Post a Comment