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A tribute, in solace

When the rain has hung the leaves with tears . . . (Donovan)

These words and their beautiful melody keep playing in my mind. I listen and thank Donovan for the feeling of understanding. And then I remember not to sit too long in the sorrow for the loss of friends who have recently left this life – two human ones, two equine ones.

You remember, that’s all.

One was a neighbour, very much a part of my life here as it’s such a tiny hamlet and the few of us are a close ‘llan’. One a friend (with his wife who I was at school with – oh so many years ago) who I saw a lot of a while back when we all lived in the New Forest. Since we moved to different areas we’ve rarely seen each other, but have always kept in touch. I reminded him, as we talked on the phone when he was in the hospice, how he was such an inspiration when I first took the plunge and became a freelance writer. Every time I saw him he’d ask: “Sold anything today?” Of course in the early days I hadn’t but somehow his confidence that I would strengthened my resolve to hang on in there and prove that I could make it. And then one day I did answer ‘Yes!’ and he was as delighted as me. Since then – zillions of words in articles and books and around a thousand paintings sold since painting took over – I’ve thought of him so many times. And now that he’s gone I’ll keep saying ‘thank you’ to him and when times are quiet remember his inspiration to keep the faith, keep doing the work, pressing on with it and – oh so important – doing it for love and the enjoyment of it.

Thank you Chris.

And I’ll remember Carol my neighbour. She was always there with a ready cuppa when one or other of us called by. Always true to herself and totally – sometimes to the point of bluntness - honest when you wanted an opinion on something too. Thank you Carol. 8 weeks from diagnosis to passing. Who knew how much we’d miss you . . . and oh boy we do, so much.

And the ponies. Both old boys and it was their time, so there’s not the sense of it being too young, as it is with Chris and Carol. But again – they just aren’t there any more and so there’s a gap.

Blessings to you all. And again, Thank you!

Enough now. I shall put some upbeat music on and paint and – like this morning when I was mucking out the barn and the rest of the ponies were munching their breakfast – sing at the top of my voice and maybe dance a bit too.

And the paint will flow in tribute to the four’s generous and courageous spirit. And life and paint and love will transform the rain to sparkle and glow.

And even as I write this, there is a warmth, a sense of renewal. There are around 15 birds on the bird feeder – the usual suspects, blue, coal and great tits, a nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker and, below, robin, blackbirds and thrush.

And the postman has called with a cheery word as ever.

All is well. Life flows.

With light, love and – if you have had sorrow in your life recently too – solace and healing.


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