the bear, the raccoon, the duvet and the rustle

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Crisps, some hard boiled ‘sucky’ sweets for the journey. A packet of biscuits, half eaten; mini cookies actually (very nice). Some chocolate; bite size for quick application whilst driving. These were the contents I could recall were in the bag.

Rustle, rustle, rustle…

That stage between sleep and wakefulness is a curious one.

I’m in a cabin in the woods. It’s the early hours of the morning. I lie still and listen.

There’s something in the kitchen of our cabin. It sounds like it’s working its way through these contents? Delicately but confidently. An animal picking through our carrier bag with food.

I lie as still as I can. What to do? Make a noise? Scare it away? What if it’s an unscarable animal? Are there such creatures? At 4am, or whatever, there most certainly are! I do the brave, manly thing and ease the duvet closer to my chin. It’s a well known fact bears don’t like their food duvet wrapped.

Rustle, rustle, rustle…

My imagination runs riot. I could take on a squirrel, I thought. But then, what if I freak it out? I’ve been in a room with a spooked bird before and it’s frantic. What does a squirrel do when it’s scared?

Rustle, rustle, rustle…

How big is a raccoon? They have them hereabouts I think? Are they quick? I’ve never seen one up close and panicked.

I can hear my breathing and the rustle. Nothing else.

It stops.

I listen intently for the animal making it’s means of escape. But nothing. I’m hoping for a clue as to the egress point. But nothing. I listen more. But nothing.

My alarm goes off. 7:15. I awake.

Our bag is how we left it. No crumbs on the floor. No torn packets. No animal droppings.

It wasn’t a dream, but… there are leaves on the ground outside my cabin window I notice. The window between me and the kitchen.

Imagination is wonderful isn’t it? At 7:30 am it is anyhow. Less so at fourish.

the pain of living and the drug of dreams

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T. S. Eliot wrote in his Animula poem of ‘the pain of living and the drug of dreams.’

Dreams can be like that, can’t they? Addictive.

And like a drug, somehow drawing us away from reality. Taking us to another world.

We speak of them quite lightly. We talk about such things as ‘our dream holiday’, ‘my dream job’. We speak about ‘a dream house’ or ‘a dream car’.

Dreaming about material things seems easy. Dreaming about things we might do, almost as easy.

Dreaming about who we want to be, often harder. So we avoid it. For the most part.

We  just plough on with life. With living. Same routines. Same thoughts. Same feelings. Same pain.

But dreams bring about change. Dreams inspire. Dreams provide hope. Dreams enable. Dreams motivate. Dreams create reality.

What I dream matters and for that moment the world exists that way

Benjamin Zander

mourning the loss of an unused love

mourning the loss

As a child I loved Woolworths.

I confess to wandering around and around the pick and mix island scouring the wooden parquet floor for fallen booty, which I would quickly and joyfully snaffle up as I threaded my small frame between adult legs. I loved equally the thrill of legitimately choosing a bag of your own sweets. The power, choice, influence and sheer excitement was palpable. I had a number of toys from Woolworths, including a favourite teddy bear, called Button Nose; I recall he cost sixpence (old money).

Once I became a teenager and adult I never shopped there. Their stores became more modern, but somehow drab, soulless sheds with a random array of merchandise, hard to locate and often cheap and tacky. Woolworths closed subsequently.

The news today that BHS is closing reminded me of the loss of Woolworths.

It reminds me too of mourning the loss of a capability, a passion, a dream.

In a coaching session today, my client said several times ‘in my youth I used to do that…’, ‘when I was younger I would have…’.  I noticed how they were reflecting on a loss of a way of being. A freedom and spirit once enjoyed had been lost to the drudgery of work and earning an income. Mourning the loss of an unused love, perhaps?

Where was the excitement of a pick and mix visit?
Where is the love of a childhood teddy bear?