An ideal picnic

b2016-09-idealpicnicA neighbour was lamenting how fast the year had gone by. Of course what he meant was that the summer was long gone. We stood round as elder-people do, commenting on the fact that time flies past more quickly with each succeeding year. I came home conscious of the fact that I had not done a blog post for a number of weeks; rectifying this has been one of the main things on my agenda for today. Hence this photograph. For me it represents the ideal picnic. Misty is included, we are warm and dry enough to sit outside and all is right with the world.

The trouble is that so often these days it is hard to concentrate on the good things in life. Newspapers scream of the latest atrocities in Aleppo or in the Scottish Parliament and positive items seem to get forgotten. I have dreams of writing opinion pieces on this blog which will lift spirits or somehow bump political heads together, then I crash down to reality as I come to terms with the horrible truth that as an individual I can make little difference. I think back to illustrations I have used in sermons about tiny drops of water wearing away concrete or stone, or snowflakes landing on the branch of a tree until the branch breaks. And I think of the medics in Syria and other war-torn areas struggling to make a difference, often under bombardment themselves and faced with shortages of even basic medical supplies and equipment. Then I feel ashamed, because it is all very well talking about practical help but quite another to roll up one’s sleeves and get on with it.

I’ve spoken before about my timidity in saying things as they are, because I am anxious about becoming the target of cyber-trolls. Then I get a measure of comfort because after all, people reading What’s the Story. . . . ? are more likely to be seeking a spot of whimsy or pictures of dogs or the beautiful Highland countryside.

My guess is that a lot of people cope by switching off the news or closing the paper. And in all honesty, who can blame them? People still have to earn a living, or find a purpose in each day or simply do the chores and feed themselves or loved ones. It’s difficult to do that whilst wallowing in empathetic  grief or helplessness. So I forgive myself and like a friend said to me today – think positive thoughts – a kind of prayer if ever there was.

Blog Gran3generations

This photo of the three generations of women (my mother, grandmother and self,) illustrates what my inner world has been like these last few weeks. Don’t think for a moment that I have gone quiet or been in sleep mode. I’ve been concentrating on the Dalamory Memoirs, and have reached the time just a few months before getting married. It has involved writing about some very difficult issues. Let’s face it, the relationship between mothers and daughters is often fraught with tantrums, disagreements and misunderstandings. Let me assure you they are not all mine. Anyway, it has also concentrated my mind in particular on the changing role of women in the world over the last fifty years or so.

Women suffer in all sorts of ways, just as women know great joy. But in these times of war crimes, death and destruction it seems to me that women and children bear an unequal burden. As a teenager I failed to understand how my parents’ generation could have allowed the tragedy of concentration camps. As a retired elder-person I know how it happened. It must have been a kind of helplessness coupled with a disbelief that people could be so cruel.  It is like that now. So somehow we have to grasp every day and live it the best way we can. And if we have a bad day, then we pick ourselves up and try to do better the next day.

That brings me back to the seasons slipping past. Autumn is here and inevitably it will be winter sooner that we think. Every September at the start of the new academic year I used to enjoy making pretty diagrams of plans for study and enjoyment and learning new things. Why should it be any different for a retiree?  I’m not so clever with my computer and pie-charts, but I could have a go at learning. As the nights draw in – and they are already – indoor hobbies and occupations become important. Perhaps I need a timetable for all the things I keep promising myself to do. This week’s big achievement is to get back to regular piano playing. There is a story there but it is for another time.

If you have managed to read this far, how about sharing something from your winter to-do list? Or your thoughts on how to cope with world events.

Blessings and positive thoughts from Dalamory to you and yours.


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7 Responses to An ideal picnic

  1. Hello Freda!
    I am happy to see you back in blogging, still warm enough for a picknick and started for real with those memoirs!!! Good work!!! I am also glad that I can comment on this blog, since Blogger have changed something, I can’t comment on many blogs these days, I seem to have gone invalid. You are right about many things and your blog is worth reading even if you don’t have the answers any more than the rest of us, on how evil can be so strong, time pass sooo quickly and the needs of the world can still be so large when we are very aware of how to end it. I am so very grateful to all those who is doing what I don’t, that is, doing actual and practical good, such is expected from a good christian or sensible human being . We all have good intentions but some days they never go any further than being just that. Mercy is greater than our failours so we really CAN start over next day. And hope that where we fail, God will send others!! Blessings!!

  2. Mina says:

    Thoughts (plans) of mine for winter months:

    Once garden is tidied watch for the spring bulbs poking their heads through once gain.
    Always have sufficient wool to continue knitting and thus keep my hands busy.
    Find something interesting to study, thus keeping my mind busy.
    Keep in touch with friends either through the means of the internet or in person.
    Most importantly where possible think positive thoughts.

    I think that is sufficient to start with, what do you think?

  3. I’d like to only think positive thoughts, but becoming angry with injustice is also very important. Hopefully your politics in the UK are not as corrupt as ours.

    Thanks for the uplifting thoughts. We need to remember that there is much to appreciate about our world.

    And yes, women and children. I get so angry about that, I must divert myself.

  4. freda says:

    Solveig and Mina – Two very positive replies. The art of organisation is still alive, and you are both so hopeful. Thank you.

  5. freda says:

    Dianne, I have been watching your politics in the US and worrying with and for you.
    You are right about injustice – I am trying to find which cause to support to help women and children in particular. There are so many needs.

  6. Sheila says:

    Hi Freda,
    I am very much into “squirrel jobs” since we are heading south 2 weeks from today! There is much to be done to prepare for a 5 to 6 month absence. Once there, we will be able to enjoy the outdoors much as we do here in summer. I have been involved in some things in our community and making sure to touch base with friends and family before we leave. On the back burner I have some sorting to do regarding genealogy. I have so much information now and want to make sense of it all. Also a knitting project that needs attention. I am also struggling with the way of the world and how to reconcile my own good fortune with the misfortune of others. A feeling of helplessness and insignificance comes over me at times but I try to do my part by remaining positive and helpful in my own world. Since we are heading to Florida I too am concerned about the state of the States. We may have to re-think our snowbird life. In the meantime, I can make the most of every day. I think of you often and sure appreciate your memories dear cousin! Sheila

  7. freda says:

    Lovely to hear from you, Sheila. I also struggle with my own good fortune and have to face up to how to deal with the misfortune of others. You are right that the way to cope is by being positive and helpful. The other thing I have learned is that it is best not to take on too much – by that I mean that commitments have to be honoured. At the end of the day, we all do the best we can. Have fun in your winter travels to the sunshine!

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