Waxtober 31

The last day of October and the end of waxtober feels to have arrived very quickly. When I started, I had no idea of what I would write about or indeed if I’d complete my self set task. Today’s waxing seems to punctuate the end of road, the pinks and greens declaring it to have been a labour of love. Though this end of the road feels as though there’s a new road just ahead… The lines sweep in a way that suggests that there’s a tunnel or an opening over to the right… On the left, I notice about half way down, a cluster of shapes that looks like 3 women standing and talking… I wonder what they have to say and so I go back to the wax to draw a final final image for this month…

It feels as though this is inside the tunnel that is suggested in the first image… The shape centrally towards the top looks like the exit, an opening that reminds me of the Ace of Pentacles and moon gates… When I see the Ace of Pentacles with its far off field ahead of the field you’re in, I think of it as the beginning of something that has longevity, something that may feel to plod along slowly at times, but something that materialises solid and sustainable results… Here it’s a reminder that as one project ends, another begins and it’s a nod to there being another project further down the line…

I look at the shape at the bottom, it brings back to mind a very large flint hagstone that I sent to a watery grave in a millpond as a child. This big rock was something found on the beach that my mother wanted to take home. I remember in the 70’s that I saw quite a few houses that had large hagstones sat at the doorstep outside the front door. This hefty stone sat for several days outside the caravan, next to the metal step that I hated. This metal step was also a kind of lidded box that milk bottles could be put inside. On the top, coarse matting, the colour of the hairy outer husks of coconuts, dense bristle about half an inch deep, designed to catch the dirt from shoes and trap it there rather than making its way into the living space. I hated this step because somehow or another it never stood square and stable and looking at me now, it may be hard to believe but as a child I was fleet footed and never trod carefully. Everywhere I went, I ran or skipped or crab jumped or turned cartwheels. I knew the step was wobbly but I never approached with caution and so l often would take a tumble and skin my shins against this ugly item, useless as a step and never containing the milk it was designed to hold. The hagstone next to it was like a magnet to me… I’d seen it on the beach, saw my mother get excited because it was twice as big as Porrige Strangler’s – the neighbour back at home, living at the other end of the street, with her corgi and diabetic husband with no toes, whose piece of doorstep flint looked like a sleeping dog laid down at rest. For me there was no rest. I’d seen the rock and on the walk back from beach to caravan, I’d seen the pond… In my mind, the two came together and I heard the splosh that stone would surely make…

I remember being repeatedly warned to leave the stone alone, to keep my hands off of it… Do not touch! Oh lord, what is it about being told don’t that makes me want to do it even more? The days slowly rolled by in what seemed like an eternity of temptation until the last day and the morning of departure and I knew it would be now or never… It had to be done. I knew it would end in a leathering, most likely buckle end across back of my legs but I talked my sister into coming with me. It was always easy to talk my sister into mischievous adventures. I just used to start with – I’ve got a good idea and then she’d take leave of her senses and follow me anywhere, also with total disregard for inevitable consequences.

We made off with the in our small eyes enormous rock. Carried it between us, rolled it and flipped it along the ground when it became too heavy. Anything to keep it moving and get us to the pond before being spotted. We made it! A final burst of strength to hoik it into the black slimy water covered in bright green tiny circles of duck weed… The splosh in life exactly as I’d imagined. Less than a second but long enough for me to feel like I’d exploded into a million tiny shooting stars as pleasure and delight flooded my senses… Back to earth and gazing into the murky water that had swallowed it without leaving any trace or suggestion that the stone ever existed, I smiled with satisfaction then froze when I saw the ball of fury hurtling towards us. We’d been busted. My mother incandescent with rage, screaming and shouting – what have you done with my flint? I pointed to the pond, to the point where I’d launched ripples… Why can’t you leave anything alone?! I’m guessing by the way she dragged me by my hair that I gave the wrong answer but then there were never any right answers where she was concerned. The sound of the splosh looped on repeat in my mind, drowning out her words…

It’s one of those memories that returns every so often and always makes me smile… Though since having my own kids, I do wonder at her complete lack of maternal instincts that worried more about a stone than two small kids unable to swim, left unsupervised next to water… I think about my mostly feral childhood, of always taking off at every opportunity, of ad hoc adventures flirting with trouble and danger. I wonder how I managed not to accidentally kill myself and figure that I was born lucky… Or maybe the fates haven’t bored of playing with me yet?

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