'And then for one glorious, supreme moment , came "the flash." … It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that she was very near a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside but sometimes just for a brief moment , a wind fluttered it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of an enchanting realm beyond - only a glimpse - and heard a note of unearthly music.'
(Emily of New Moon, L.M Montgomery)
I've been meaning for awhile to change the name of my blog - it never seemed quite right, but I wasn't sure what to change it too.
I began thinking about what I really wanted to reflect in my blog, what I'm really wanting, for my children, for myself. And for my children, for myself, and for my writing, I want a wilder magic.
I want that sense of wonder, that we are terribly close to something joyous and startlingly beautiful.
So much of our world is bound up in screen time - and I am one of the worst offenders - but when I look back on my life, it's those moments spent outside that I remember most clearly and with most delight.
Held in the green curve of a cresting wave, the shore spread before me.
Running into midnight water in Scotland, friends giggling around me and phosphorescence around our feet.
Walking along a narrow cliffside path towards a promontory castle, the wind so strong I can lean over the cliff edge and be held.
Running through rain, feeling it's bitter cold on my face and feeling intensely, exultantly alive.
Floating in un-still, luminous tropical ocean with my Beloved, frangipani floating around us and the rain steadily falling.
These are the moments I want for my children - the outdoor moments. The wild moments. The times that aren't comfortable, aren't clean, are often not entirely safe. But make you feel so alive - so close to a sense of 'other.'
These are the moments that I want to capture in my writing. These are the moments I want to capture here, in my blog. Those wilder times, outside, the times that sing. Those times of mud and sand and walking home wet and shivering and sand-encrusted and mud-laden.
Screen time is easier. It's less work. It's more comfortable. It's safer. It lacks the squish and ooze and mess.
But it doesn't have that wilder magic, it doesn't even allow for the possibility of it.
Of a dolphin swimming alongside you in the sea - or a fleet of manta-rays come to glide amongst you under a lightning filled sky.
Of seeing a certain slant of light through mist and having your heart contract.
I love to see the joy of my children as they play along the shore, run barefoot and red-toed over a rocky reef. As we talk about the names of the birds and the markings on the sand. I'm learning to hold my tongue when they turn the front path into a mud-pit and play happily in it for hours.
There's a line in a song by the Scottish singer Jackie Leven (now sadly deceased) - 'The old islanders say that neon steals the poetry from the young.' And to me it seems so true. This screen glare of iPad, iPhone, computer, television, is stealing the poetry away. The poetry found in time spent in nature, in lines of great beauty written by someone four hundred years ago, that you read and then it haunts you for days, years.
I feel it in myself - time I once spent outdoors or reading actual paper-books, is spent scrolling. It's easier. I can scroll in bed, in the dark, as the kids sleep beside me and I feed the baby. Or I can light a candle and sit with my little one in the rocking chair and just drink in her fast-changing wonder. I can check my Facebook while stamping my feet in a cold playground, or I can climb up the ladder and speed down the slide, study the trees surrounding us, the patterns of the clouds.
I love the internet. I'd never willingly give it up. Having information at my fingertips is wonderful. Being able to keep in touch with far flung friends and relatives is a great gift. To make new friends, to have amazing, inspiring images, sayings, movies from around the world and time sent to me, wherever I am, is a great privilege and mind-blowing. I have no intention of separating my kids from it.
But I want to find a better balance.
I want more of that wilder magic. I want this space to reflect that search, those times spent outside, or reading, when we leave the door open to wonder and wildness.