Sunday, December 4, 2016

No Clouds Ahead...

Reims Cathedral (minus the main entrance/Christmas market....)
Well, if I'd known what this past week would hold in store for me... Anyway, of the assorted mix of issues that lay ahead, unbeknownst to me, the worst did not happen so I just feel relieved and grateful for all that I've got! A few near-misses certainly put things into perspective in an effective, albeit brusque manner. Any residual black clouds were blasted away, and since then it really feels as if it's just blue skies ahead.

The recently restored facade of teh cathedral
Not only do difficult moments oblige you to take stock of things, they also make you wonder over others...The first part of the week was very testing, but then when we were very nearly burgled towards the end of the week that helped throw another light on the situation and above all enabled me to 'count my blessings'. The break-in wasn't successful as the burglars were frightened off while they were tampering with the locks; the outcome wasn't the same for other neighbours here. I will have a very hefty bill from the locksmith to replace locks and reinforce the door, but apart from that I have been very lucky.

Passion Flower still out on the balcony in December...
After my non-event, someone made the remark that I didn't really have anything of value to be truly worth stealing. That set me sizing up my possessions, but for me the most precious was already weighed up; the cats. They probably would have run off, out of the flat or maybe even been hurt by these chancers. Of the rest of my 'stuff', what does have any market value isn't particurly special to me and my 'treasures' would sell for nothing. What I would have lost is the feeling of sanctuary. The value of Home is not calculated solely in the monetary terms of material possessions, but what it keeps at bay beyond that closed door, and the atmosphere it possesses and shapes within its private space. That for me is priceless.

So I suppose I am indeed guilty of that 'lust for comfort' that Kahlil Gibran refers to, but it is more the comfort of a safe haven, rather than that of 'magnificence and splendour'.

On Houses - Kahlil Gibran
Build of your imaginings a bower in the wilderness ere you build a house within the city walls.
For even as you have home-comings in your twilight, 
So has the wanderer in you, the ever distant and alone.
Your house is your larger body.
It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. 
Does not your house dream? 
And dreaming, leave the city for grove or hill-top? 

Would that I could gather your houses into my hand, 
And like a sower scatter them in forest and meadow.
Would the valleys were your streets, and the green paths your alleys,
That you might seek one another through vineyards, 
And come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments.
But these things are not yet to be.

In their fear your forefathers gathered you too near together. 
And that fear shall endure a little longer.
A little longer shall your city walls separate your hearths from your fields.

And tell me, people of OrphaIese, what have you in these houses?
And what is it you guard with fastened doors?
Have you peace, the quiet urge that reveals your power?
Have you remembrances, the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind?
Have you beauty, that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain?
Tell me, have you these in your houses? 
Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, 
That stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?

Ay, and it becomes a tamer, and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires.
Though its hands are silken, its heart is of iron.
It lulls you to sleep only to stand by your bed and jeer at the dignity of the flesh.
It makes mock of your sound senses, and lays them in thistledown like fragile vessels.
Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, 
And then walks grinning in the funeral.
But you, children of space, you restless in rest, 
You shall not be trapped nor tamed.

Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast.
It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.
You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, 
Nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, 
Nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down.
You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living.
And though of magnificence and splendour, 
Your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing.
For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, 
Whose door is the morning mist, 
And whose windows are the songs and the silences of night.

 And when it's pitch black outside, there is still a bright light ahead - even if it is rather blurred on the photo...

Reims Cathedral  (with the Christmas market)....


  1. To feel safe in ones own home is far more valuable then trinkets and belongings.
    I moved on most of my worldly goods of any value so I could enjoy the rest of my life without worry.

  2. My magpie stashes of shells, seaglass, pebbles, feathers, beads, dried branches and leaves are amongst my treasures here and they tend to serve as an anti-dote to some of the ugly/scary/nasty things outside. As silly as it sounds, some of these treasures have helped me wash off or water down the worries in my life over the past few years! But at the end of the day, it is all just 'stuff' and for those burglars it would have been meaningless junk...


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