Battling

This is the moment when the year turns to gold.  It is the first harvest.  When the spirit of the corn retreats before the blades into the last sheaves of wheat.  The essence of the sun, the spirit of summer, the promise of spring.  All of these nestle within grain and husk, slumbering through the winter.   It seems an eternity since the last harvest, and yet here we are again.  I see the gold settling over the land and my soul longs for autumn.

It is one of the hottest days of the year and we drive past molten fields.  Past verges stippled purple and yellow with flowers.  Hay pressed into cylinders.  Fields brown with ploughing and still green with crops.  Sheep gather together in the meagre shadow of trees.  It is Winston’s first hydrotherapy session since lockdown.  We can’t enter the building so we wait in the car park for his hydrotherapist to collect him.  A family is saying a final goodbye to their dog and we cry with them as they let him go.  We wander the nearby lane while we wait for Winston.  Sheep trot away as we approach.  A hare bounds across a field of golden stubble.  Winston returns to us tired but with a good report.

In the dene, the landscape is straggly and overgrown.  Unmolested, wildflowers have grown into giants.  Rowans flame with berries.  The burn is virtually dry, flanked by monster willowherbs, dock and bulrushes.  Raspberries droop from the foliage.  There are rustlings in the undergrowth, among seed heads and thistledown.  Butterflies spiral and meander, mostly whites and speckled woods.  The occasional quick whirr of wings and soft tinkling calls are the only things that give the hidden songbirds away.

It has been a battle to get here, to walk along this familiar path.  This time last year I was travelling to a writing conference.  This time last year I had just given my first public reading as a writer.  But that was an eternity ago.  Now I battle ennui.  It is a struggle to get up each morning.  A struggle to stray beyond the end of the street.  Work feels hard.  Creation is even harder.  But I am fighting.  Battling my way out of limbo.

I sit by the pond.  A woodpigeon fusses in the willow above my head.  Two gulls glide in circles as though they own the water.  One of them chases away a youngster that gets too close.  Some years the harvest is meagre and hard won.  This year there will be a harvest but it won’t be a harvest anyone could have expected.   The seeds of early spring have led us into a new way of being in the world.  We are uncertain.  We know there may be more battles ahead  But the seasons still turn.  The land still turns to gold and the spirit of the sun is safe for another year to come.

 

135 thoughts on “Battling

  1. Its difficult to carry on when existence has become a struggle between Covid, extreme heat, extremists, and creating a new normal that relies on the waiting outside in line. I normally look forward to fall but fear how we will deal with renewed lockdowns, cold and dark. Good luck with the coming Autumn
    Hope it’s golden with lots of hope and renewal.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I hope they do not return either Andrea. Have you tried one of those special lamps that simulate sunshine? I have a friend who has SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and she has found it very helpful.

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      • I did get one but I don’t think that’s what it was about in the end – I’ve got medication and I think it will be about thinking positively and not getting into some kind of spiral – I did say that I was probably one of the few who felt better under lockdown as my anxiety was getting under control!

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  2. A beautifully written seasonal post, Andrea. Worldwide human chaos superimposed on the grace and wonder of Nature is something I contemplate here, too. This new world is simultaneously frightening and amazing. Seasons turn and life continues.

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  3. I think we are all battling right now. Remind me why Winston is having hydrotherapy? I can’t remember if I knew that or not.
    So the dog that the family was saying goodbye to? Did the family get to be with him at the end or was he taken inside without the family? I am so worried that one of my kitties won’t make it through this pandemic. I couldn’t stand sending them in ALONE.

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    • He had a stroke two years ago and they discovered he also had calcified discs in his spine, so he went first to retrain his back legs to walk, now he goes to keep the strength up for his back – his stamina wasn’t as good since he’s out of practice, but otherwise he got a great report. Unfortunately the family didn’t get to go in with their dog. The nurses came out with a stretcher – it was heart-breaking. But this isn’t a normal vets, it’s a specialist hospital – my neighbour had to take her dog to be put to sleep last week at the normal vets and she was allowed in with him.

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  4. I’m so glad you stopped by for a read and I hoped there would be one for me…I love autumn too but seem to be holding on to summer much tighter these days…I’ve been feeling sad lately as our province’s infection numbers double (we were once a light for others!) but like you, I’ve battled through to fight another day!
    A lovely post that left me with visions of autumn…

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  5. I like the style of your description of the nature and the inanimate objects during this part of the season especially the harvest has been as usual but we ,the human beings are living in total uncertainty and hopelessly waiting to fight unknown battles to survive.Thank you very much for sharing.Take care and gather courage for you are supposed to be the master over everything including the pestilence.🌹👍🙏

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  6. As usual, I sat with the attention of an eager pupil as you took us through the fields and ponds, pausing to inspect the intricacies of sheaves, corn, hay, the pond and the weather. As usual, I felt lost at the close of the journey, wanting it to never end.

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  7. The ending of summer beautifully described – a season we are looking forward to – along with wise words about the future. Ennui: the demon stalking those who are no longer free to simply be … just as the seasons turn, I remain hopeful that the pandemic will live out its scourge and die off so that we can be re-energised and become more productive.

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  8. I thank you for taking me on this walk and sharing your thoughts. We have no choice but to accept this altered normality, a normality not to anyone’s liking. Yet within it there is freedom, if we seek it, there is challenge and adventure, there is our own personal harvest. I wish you well, and that something will grab you and again enthuse you.

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  9. This brings to mind the reading from my youngest brother’s funeral: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” I do believe there is a time for retreat, for pulling into oneself, for observing and for waiting – waiting for things to return. So fitting as we shift into a new season, though not always easy to follow or to accept. ❤ I wish you well. And I wish us all on the other side of this waiting.

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    • Thanks Sarah, yes it does feel as though this season of waiting has gone on longer than others, but how could we know how these things will affect us. I don’t know if the loss of your brother was recent, but I’m very sorry to hear about your loss.

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  10. Loving all those colours! It is colours that tell us where we are in the year, in the universe.
    Our household is too battling ennui – and I can’t quite work out why. The first two months I was gripped with fear and couldn’t create, the next two months were a hive of possibility and creative activity, now I seem to be, like you, in limbo. I wonder if it is to do with an uncertain future, or, much worse, a certain and bleaker future. I was meant to have three exhibitions this year – so much for God, laughing and plans.
    Wishing you a creative autumn. Certainly the words you put out into the world bring much joy, inspiration and colour. Thank you. xx

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      • Ooh, now that’s interesting. It wasn’t actually. I don’t think I have ever experienced it quite like this. I think for me it is to do with a very uncertain future. I can’t even think of the colours … One of the emotions was pointlessness, which is where I go to with depression and it is mainly dark brown. Not the same, I know. I’ll give it a think 🙏🏻🖤

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      • I used to have a recurring nightmare when I was small. It was like I could see two parallel lines, like wires and I was travelling along them and something was chasing me. Eventually the lines would stop and I’d just see lots of mixed browns – then I knew whatever it was had caught me and I would wake up screaming!

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      • Oh, my goodness, Andrea, that sounds horrific! I wonder why it was brown. Did you ever have the dream analysed? Did you find out what it was trying to tell you?

        When I started creating the cards, one of my intentions was to learn to love all colours. At the time I had a problem with brown, which I now love. There is only one colour that I can’t quite get to love now and that is peach – my mother’s favourite(!)

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      • Andrea — I’ve always enjoyed your site and have wondered. Can you tell me what WordPress theme you use? I have the 2020 theme now but can’t say I’m all that excited about it and my old one 2015 theme no longer supported mobile users. Not related to this post — just asking.

        Thank you

        Pat Ruppel
        Email: pcruppel47@msn.com
        PatsPineConesAndMore on Etsy
        Website: Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom
        Free E-book on Smashwords: “Sweet Days of Summer – All is Okay and Other Wisdom Stories”
        ________________________________

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      • Thank you Andrea. I’ll have to try that WordPress theme. Maybe, it’ll work better for mobile users on my site and I like the looks of it on yours. Appreciate it, my friend. Take care and be well.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Sitting by the pond and breathing in the end-of-season gifts just may help anchor you in a place where ennui dissolves. At least it did for the time and space you created to write these beautiful peaceful colorful words that took me into a place where my heart fluttered and opened a bit more this morning. Thank you for your gift, Andrea.

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  12. Brilliant in a forlorn sort of way. I understand the struggle. I suspect a few million of us do. But we are strong. We are resilient. And we will make it to that Autumn!

    Be safe, my friend!

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  13. I enjoyed your beautifully written post today, Andrea. You conveyed the sultry heat of summer so well, I felt I was there strolling with you.
    I hope Winston is feeling better for his treatment. Nothing like a good physio.
    Are you still supplementing Vit. D? I’m going to start Sept. 1 this year, as I think I’m going to need it! Like you, I’m a bit anxious about the coming fall and winter. Hoping for a smooth sail.

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  14. Beautiful, as always. Inertia is one of the toughest states to battle, especially when the world is in such a state of profound transition. It’s so important for artists to continue to create, especially now. I admire that you still post on a regular basis.

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  15. I always feel as though I’m walking beside you when you take us on one of your journeys through a landscape. You capture the not just the scene – plants, birds, sounds – but the mood, all so eloquently that I don’t want it to end.

    Winston’s a lucky boy to be cared for so lovingly.

    One thing this pandemic has taught me: there’s more of nature right under my nose than I ever realized, and it’s fascinating to observe and learn about. Simple things, local things, have taken on new importance. Changing seasons mean new discoveries, details I missed in the past. I’m learning what truly brings me joy.

    I hope you also find new sights, sounds and smells that bring you joy and intrigue you as we move into autumn and winter. Be like Winston 😉 Then, write about them, so we can all enjoy.

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  16. Beautiful poignant writing Andrea. Funny but I always think of Autumn as the start of a new year. A few more days sitting by the pond …

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  17. My thoughts have turned to you several times of late, Andrea. Lammas arrives, I think of you. I am certainly noticing the telltale signs of summer’s waning but unusually for me, I’m in no hurry to see it pass. This year is so out of the ordinary; I assume my reactions will be the same. I hear your thoughts on battling. I’m battling too. Sending you inspiration and encouragement as autumn calls. Take good care. And please keep writing; your words are always a joy 😊

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  18. Thank you for that heartfelt piece. I find mid and late summer very difficult with the heat and constant noise of people in my street, and the endless sound of cars and motorbikes breaking speed limits. I retreat and work in my back garden, which is a constant source of nourishment. And i cycle. Always on the lanes where I mostly am alone. There is always solace there. I too love autumn, but the thought of this one as a time for turning inwards is somewhat soiled by the anxiety that we do not know what will happen to the people we care about.
    I send you peace, Andrea.

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  19. Thank goodness we still have nature to enjoy during these uncertain times. My only hope is that people will come out of this wanting to protect it and not forget that the environment needs us – in fact, it’s the most pressing concern of all. 🙂

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  20. Beautiful piece, Andrea, and lovely photos. Thanks for writing/sharing this one. I am fascinated with your part of the world! Here in the California desert, the heat is upon us (I don’t mind it and prefer it to winter weather), and we just had a large fire in the mountains with the bad air making it all the way to the Phoenix area and beyond. Thankfully, it is now just smoldering and we can no longer see smoke from our backyard. May the rest of the summer be pleasant for you all.

    Liked by 1 person

      • The one in our area is now completely contained, but there are dozens more burning in California, particularly in the northern part of the state. We are in a strong heat wave, which doesn’t help, although most of the fires were caused by lightning.

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  21. Beautiful, lyrical writing. For all your battling ennui, it seems being outdoors and feeling the natural cycle of the seasons continues to inspire and provide some fundamental sense of continuity in these uncertain times.

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  22. Oh, what a wonderful treat to read your post, Andrea. 🙂
    This year is difficult…but the sun is shinning everyday…. And I hope we all find the best of times soon enough in our own worlds.
    Wow! your first public reading as a writer…got me all excited. Was long gone from the blogspace but I’m sure you would have rocked. Anyways, would love to know your experience regarding it or have you already written a post about it?

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  23. Think I’m feeling a little bit of ennui as well Andrea. I think it’s what most of us are feeling in the unknowns and stirring up of things that may have long been suppressed. Times out of our comfort zones can be draining.

    But, so refreshing in reading your post and can always count on nature to take us to a better place in the hope of harvest and signs of a new season. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Andrea. Hugs!

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  24. I always take a deep breath before I dig into your posts, Andrea. You send me to a place I recognize, even if I’ve never been there. When reading your words, I feel like I AM with you. And that I am WITH you, if you know what I mean. The ennui (what a fabulous word for a scary condition) is always lurking these strange days, isn’t it. I fight it off with early morning meditation, long walks, yoga balance poses, and writing. Writing. You are an amazing writer. Just have to tell you that. You bring us IN to all that is, Keep on battling – you are winning. Notice the WIN in Winston – he can always remind you of the joy of trotting through life as Fall approaches. with love, Pam

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  25. I felt your words soak into me like the spirit of the sun you wrote about here, Andrea. I enjoyed the current scenes, the beings surrounding you during these harvest days and the land in its natural state. I espec. liked the scene of the family saying goodbye to their beloved dog, and you watching and crying with them. You did an eloquent job of incorporating the uncertainty of this Covid era into your narrative, and the final sentence, my favorite, was sublimely sage and so utterly reassuring. Blessings to you….

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  26. Thank you for this lyrical and dream-like post, Andrea. I am sorry you have been battling ennui and you are feeling apprehensive about the coming autumn and winter. I often feel a little insecure these days as autumn approaches because that season holds a few unhappy memories for me. I have to reason with myself and try to see the beauty of the season and not focus too much on the past. This autumn will be the strangest of autumns, just as this spring and this summer have also been the strangest of springs and summers. We are tentatively going out more often and doing more things but the feelings of insecurity and apprehension don’t go away. We human beings like to know where we stand and what to expect and with this pandemic, who knows what will happen next?!
    I am glad Winston has re-started his hydrotherapy sessions and had a good report. Most encouraging! I hope you will soon see a change for the better in him.
    Take care, Andrea. You have a rare gift, in that you are observant of what is going on around you in the world and in nature, you have an enquiring mind that needs to understand what you see and you have the ability to describe all this in exquisite prose and with your words can make other people see the beauty that you see.

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  27. I love how this concluded. It felt like I am sat with you by the pond, reflecting on these things, wondering what the future brings. Nothing is certain anymore, but at least there is the comfort that the plants will still grow and the sun still shines.

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  28. I feel for you and the panic attacks. My older daughter suffered from these and think can still rise up. She is a nurse and baby due in October. So some covid anxiety now the lockdown is easing. I think the uncertainty is now unsettling and the choices to be made meeting up with family and friends. I try to keep a simple project running alongside the creative ones and am catching up with tai chi I learned years ago. It helps me be calm and active but with little fuss, like a good walk! Keep well and think there will be lows this winter so we need to prepare our spirits.

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  29. Thank you Andrea. I’ll have to try that WordPress theme. Maybe, it’ll work better for mobile users on my site and I like the looks of it on yours. Appreciate it, my friend. Take care and be well.

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  30. So beautifully written, Andrea. You may be battling, but you are still bringing the landscapes and the seasons to life vividly. As always, I love walking with you, even if not as far or not as joyfully or peacefully. Hang in there. I’m glad to hear about Winston. My vet is doing “curbside pickup” as well. So strange. And so heartbreaking for the woman whose dog needed to be put to sleep.
    As I said elsewhere 🙂 your words matter. Jeanne

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  31. I’m so glad you’re battling your way out of limbo, Andrea. Likewise, there have been times when I’ve felt that I’ve weighed a ton this year both emotionally and physically, while in reality a wild gale could easily have swept me away. I’m also glad that Winston is still doing well. We treasure every day with our dogs, don’t we? My Alma if all warts, bumps, and white snout, but she’s still beautiful and such a loving, faithful, and good friend. Harvest-wise, our allotment has produced heaps of lovely sweet tomatoes, cox’s orange pippin apples, and spinach. Before that, we had plenteouse charlotte potatoes, gooseberries, raspberries, figs, rhubarb, blackcurrants, redcurrants, elephant garlic, onions, and shallots. I think that the allotment has paid for itself five times over this year.
    Wishing you a full emerging from limbo. I think we both love September and October, so that is something wonderful to look forward to. Are you still doing your painting? I find it good to have another creative outlet when the words won’t come. Motivation is the key, they say, whoever “they” are!. .

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  32. So glad for Winston. Good news.
    You always write about the Nature so beautifully, Andrea. In the big scale, the seasons still turn. It is something concrete, something to hold on to.
    Wishing you well.

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  33. Andrea, a beautiful reflective post and your thoughts echo many of my own. How true that this time last year was‘ But that was an eternity ago’. Your descriptions of the surrounding landscape are poetic and evocative, and I feel you find respite in the nature. Yes, every day is a battle but one I feel we will win … we are always stronger than we can imagine … or so I tell myself! Xx

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  34. This harvest theme–interesting because I have just been reading a couple of other blogs that talk about time to go fallow during this pandemic. And I’m believing if we let ourselves do it, what comes out the other side will be richer. Here’s to health and creating . . .

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  35. When you wrote this post we were going through a ghastly heat period..and now it is beautifully cool and very autumn like. I love this weather. It bring back energy and a sense of wanting to do and be alive. I hope that the cooler weather is helping you to be more energetic and inspired…:). It’s September next week….where oh where has this year gone? Janet 🙂

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