It’s not been a good year for cycling. Usually what happens is around early March I look out of my window and decide it is now light enough to pull the bike out of the shed and start doing some preparation for cycling to work. I don’t do it during the darker months as motorists are happy enough to kill you when they can see you, let alone when they can’t.
This year a combination of things has stopped me. Firstly: I’ve been working at home a lot, something that I had never really done until about 18 months ago. It’s very tempting of a morning to have the extra hour in bed that working from home allows you, especially when the alternative is a 2 hour commute on public transport, followed by 2 hours to get home.
Secondly: I’ve been very busy most evenings, meaning that I often have to be out again within an hour or so of finishing work: something which can be quite tiring for someone as anti-social as I can be (if you ever go to a party and see someone on the sofa with a book – well, it could easily be me)
Finally: there is the rain. This has what has, ultimately, led to the Christmas Spread (as we shall call the slight bulge under my T-shirt) failing to vanish as well as otherwise it might do. Usually, even if I were working at home every day, I would be out cycling on a Sunday morning.
My usual routine is this: wake up about 7-7:30am (I’ve never really been a late sleeper), eat some breakfast, go out on my bike for an hour or two doing anywhere between 10-25 miles depending on levels of fitness, come back and do the ironing whilst watching Vintage Sci-Fi DVD Of The Week (the only thing that keeps me sane during ironing) and finally allowing myself a hot beverage as a reward.
But ever since the brief two weeks of summer that we had at the start of May it hasn’t stopped raining. And to be honest cycling for pleasure just isn’t pleasurable in the rain.
So barely 10 days ago I went into a local running shop and bought some proper running shoes – the type that make you feel that you can bounce like Tigger. My thought was: if the rain is stopping me cycling at the weekends then maybe I can squeeze 20 minutes in before logging on for work and still lose the Christmas Spread, at least until the sun returns once more to our wet Sunday mornings.
And I fished out my pedometer, brushed off the dust and took the car up to the local park.
Sunday came around and I looked out of the window, desperately hoping that it would be dry enough to manage a cycle – but no, it was drizzling. So I thought to myself, “Well, 20 minutes running in the rain is a lot better than an hour cycling in the rain” and headed up to the park.
Less than 20 seconds out of the door and it began to rain like the last days before Noah herded the final animals onto the ark and set sail. I sat in the car at the park, watching the rain trying to smash its way through my window and feeling grim.
Fate was on my side – the rain cleared and i took the chance, quickly working my way through the warm up excercises and trotting off (1 minute walk, 1 minute run – repeat as prescribed for up to 20 minutes) – sure i had to put up with the usual jokey comments from kids (telling me that i needed a sports bra for my man boobs), but maybe, just maybe this wasn’t going to be as bad as i thought…
What I needed now was motivation – something that would keep me going during the months to come – so last night i signed up for a half-marathon mid-way into October
Oh, and indeed, dear.
Don’t Feed The Pixies was started as a home for all the ideas that flit through my head and would otherwise be wasted. I would love to be a writer, or a musician, or a painter but work in IT and find creativity to be an odd combination of deeply pleasurable and deeply frustrating at the same time.
weekends are for that moment when you stretch and stick your toes out from beneath the duvet and roll over, limbs lazy, into his warm arms and ask “what time is it?” and suddenly realize that it doesn’t matter what time it is. and you sink into each other a little deeper and sleep a little longer.
Jeanine Caron is a Canadian photographer and writer, currently living in London. Happiest days usually involve an analogue camera, a notebook, some music, a good laugh, espresso in the morning and red wine in the evening. You can find her at wonderings & wanderings.
Not so long ago, I thought I would find The Answers in weighty tombs issued from wise minds of those who knew;
those tweed wearing Dons who use a method of inquiry based on empirical and measureable evidence,
subject to specific principles of reasoning and the systematic observation, measurement,
experimentation, testing, and modification of
But then I asked the chickens
who absent-mindedly clucked and scratched
and there in the straw was an entire world
and the wildflowers danced as if to cheer them on.
And then I stepped into Monet’s painting
as a thousand lily’s winked at me, knowingly.
And I walked through the forest in the late afternoon sun,
and the trees whispered their ancient wisdom to me.
And a lone deer crossed the path ahead,
like a messenger.
I sleep until I wake naturally, sans chirruping alarm, then stay in bed a while longer, steaming mug of tea in hand, listening to the traffic and the birds. In pleasing solitude I navigate my day according to what catches my inclination and my eye. A cafe breakfast – a large, perfect flat white and thick, pillowy ricotta and honey on sourdough. I wander down half familiar sunlit streets, giving full attention to details that might usually pass me by, then turn back home. An early whisky counters the winter chill, and familiar music sets the pace as I chop vegetables for soup. As the sun sets I feel restored and nourished, ready for the week ahead.
Francesca Percy is a writer and editor, born in London, living in Sydney, always missing one or the other. She loves the details and the beauty in the everyday. You can visit her at Maybe Next Week as well as Twitter and Pinterest.
This past weekend was sunny and warm. On Sunday afternoon we went t to one of our favorite places, the tower in the back of a large cemetery in our town. We like to climb it in all seasons, survey the world that we live in spread out all around us, admire the changing foliage and quality of the light, feel the wind on our faces. The kids also like to race up the stairs, counting them as they go. The last time we went up there was in May, on a stormy day that became a tornado-warning evening.
As we climbed the stairs to the base of the tower, Grace stopped suddenly. I was ahead of her, following Whit.
“Mummy! Look!” She pointed at something in between two of the stone steps.
“What?” I admit I was a little impatient. Whit was running ahead of us.
“Look. Just look.” I climbed down a few stairs and saw what she was pointing to. A heart. My little soul mate: she sees and feels thing in the very ether. Just like I do.
As he so often does, Wordworth ran through my head:
With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.
At the top of the tower we admired the deep green of the leaves on the trees all around. Grace and Whit found the playing fields of their school’s upper school, and watched tiny figures running up and down. The breeze was cool but the sun was warm. Grace reflected on how the colors of this view change with the seasons. “Remember,” she mused, “When we counted all the different shades of red and orange?” Yes, I nodded. It looks so different now. And yet the same.
After we descended the tower we visited the fairy stream. That my children remain enchanted by the small, still place makes me happier than I can describe. As we left it, Grace cartwheeled ahead and Whit slipped his hand into mine. “Do you think there are really fairies, Mummy?”
“Yes,” I said firmly. “Yes, I do. Do you?”
“Yes, yes. I was just wondering where they went when we arrived. Do you think they hid under the rocks or flew away?”
Pondering this, we walked around a bit in amiable silence. I told Grace and Whit about my very favorite headstone, though I couldn’t actually find it to show them. “It’s very simple,” I said. “I just love the words. It says: look at the light of this hour.”
The kids walked on, quiet, for a few steps. Grace then turned to look at me. “You mean, well, that means, to really pay attention, right?” I nodded at her. “So, like the way you take pictures of the sky all the time?” I smiled and nodded again. She turned back to her walking, thinking. A moment later, “I was doing that when I noticed the heart, right, Mummy?”
I hugged her and said, “Yes, Grace. Yes, you were.”
Look at the light of this hour. It is golden, and it contains the life of things.
Lindsey Mead is a mother, writer, and headhunter who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and son. Her writing has been anthologized and published in a variety of print and on-line sources including the Huffington Post, Torn: True Stories of Kids, Careers, and the Conflict of Modern Motherhood, So Long: Short Narratives of Loss and Remembrance, the Princeton Alumni Weekly, Literary Mama, and others. She writes daily at A Design So Vast.
my husband is the runner in the family; i run, but only sort-of-run. my children seem to have inherited my husband’s love for running, and so it is with him that they run. on the weekend.
sometimes the three of them run together, sometimes the runs are split into father-son and father-daughter. it all depends on individual moods and who wants to go how far on a given saturday or sunday. me? i am the picker-upper…walking to the end of our road or driving to a pre-determined spot for a longer run.
and while i wait to pick up either or both children so that my husband can continue the rest of his run, i take a moment to crouch down into the grass and see what the world looks like from a clover’s point of view. i glimpse through a sea of tall grass and imagine that this is the view afforded to a fox or perhaps a rabbit.
there are mornings when i want to run with my husband and children. and perhaps there will be morning runs for the entire family in our future. but for now, it is a special activity in which my husband can engage with our children, a passion he can share with them, a discipline he can teach them. for that, i am so happy. i am thrilled to see them bonding over this time spent outdoors. thrilled to witness the enthusiasm, the togetherness.
and i’ll admit that if i am afforded an extra ten minutes to stand among the clover and the grasses by myself…well, for that i am quite happy as well.
michelle gd is a lover of life and a seeker of ways to capture the little moments of that life. she can be found at her blog and on instagram (@michelle_gd).
Today, I made a diptych : at week-ends, I like wandering through flea markets and “vide-greniers” (as we say in french). I am transported back into my childhood and feel like a kid, playing in a treasure hunt ! Everything I buy is to be used as decor in my photographs or for my models to wear. I also like to be close to nature, going for walks and being mindful of the present moment …
I am Nathalie, I live in Bordeaux in France, between rolling vineyards hills and the Atlantic ocean. I love crafting images with films and vintage analog cameras.
there is a cafe i go to often. to hide out. to dive into a book. to work. or simply gaze. this friday morning, i finally noticed the straw canopy heaped on the side of the road. i went to have a peek and saw empty drums of nothing. maybe tomorrow there’ll be something else. i’ll let you know.
how dare i ask what tomorrow is upto. or what his plans are.
who knows what it may end up doing.
monsieur tomorrow, i guess let’s just be strangers after all.
(the english translation of the hindi in image 2 above)
ekta saran is a dreamer, obsessive chai drinker and a street photographer who loves telling a good story. you can find her at ektasaran.com