When you realise how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.
This is the Darling Tree.
Isn’t it lovely?
I have an idea!
Why don’t we climb it? Together.
Just like we did when we were pipsqueaks.
Just like we did before we painted our serious faces on.
Don’t you remember it? That freedom?
Climbing to the top of the world without a care.
Gasping when we lost our footing; cackling on the ground, relieved to be still in one piece.
Surely you remember it.
We were superheroes, you and me. Chasing the bad guy to the highest branch.
We can do that again.
We can. We just have to decide it.
Climb a tree, you say. But why? Why would we do such a thing?
Who knows. Who cares! Let’s just climb.
Just so we can go home and make rings around the bathtub again.
Just so that we can say those two simple words again: Why not.
Don’t they sound like a river running wild? Don’t they sound…
Yes. They do. So come on! Let’s fling on our capes and fly.
Up to the rooftops of the Darling Tree.
Oh. And don’t worry. I’ll pack supplies.
We could be gone a while. xx
Darling day 14.
A day to sit in front of the computer and stare.
And stare some more and wonder: is this where it all comes crashing down?
Is this the day the tank that once was full drizzles to a dripping halt?
The day this brain of mine says:
I feel we’ve reached a point in our relationship where we can be honest about things.
Honest about the good.
Honest about the bad.
And honest about the very, very bad.
This is very, very bad.
And it’s not to say that I don’t have any plans for this darling blog of mine.
Oh no. They’re there, alright.
Tucked up my sleeve, waiting for the perfect day to reveal themselves to me.
The thing is— This. Is not that day.
Today, the brain says: NO.
That’s got to be a little darling in itself, right?
Some people in this life really do bring out our inner butterfly, don’t they?
Who knows what that magic is, or how it comes about, but I have a feeling it’s made with that thing we all have in common.
Sometimes, when two spirits meet, the union is harmonious. Something is said—or not said— and the message is simply understood. Maybe words were used to transfer the message. Or maybe just a smile. A touch.
But what happens when two spirits jar? What happens when they rub up against each other with razor blades bared and hearts tight shut to reason.
Inner chaos. That’s what happens.
Which brings me to a source of my own inner chaos, an old English teacher of mine. She was awful. And don’t get me wrong. I don’t necessarily think that she was a bad person (especially not now that I look back at her with wide-open adult eyes).
I just didn’t understand her.
And she sure didn’t understand me.
I was a dreamer, a free-spirit who thrived using my intuition to solve problems, rather than the obvious tool of western culture: the brain. Of course, my brain was still there to supervise. To pull the wildest parts of my spirit back in line so I could get my work done in some sort of orderly fashion.
I wasn’t a thinker. I wasn’t a planner.
And that teacher—she was both.
No wonder we clashed. Thinker versus feeler? Teen Brooke wouldn’t have known about the delicate balance of soul on soul, yet. And something tells me that teacher hadn’t figured it out either.
Now, though, I finally understand.
It wasn’t her that was the problem.
It was us.
Enter the darling of today. Adult me flipping through my high school journal, only to discover the most deliciously scathing burst of teenage sass you ever did see.
You can read it below.
BROOKE’S DIARY: 23RD JULY 1999
Mum talked to my English teacher today. She just said to plan more. Blah, blah, blah.
Just a short one today.
If words are the darling of my mind, then music is the darling of my soul.
Today I remembered it.
Just today. When I sat at the piano and sang my soul into the moment all around me.
What darling bliss it was.
I used to write songs, you know? My first experience of the muse and its silent, roaring power.
Can you imagine? A life as a song?
Memories, and loves, and the deepest of heartaches.
Today, I remembered them all: the gifts that music gave to me.
Darling, darling music.
Same time tomorrow?
There’s one day to go
’til this blog post a day-ness.
This darling of May; yes!
A darling a day; bless.
Don’t ask me to tell
’cause it’s all a surprise; oh!
What will darling be? No!
Stop trying to guess, yo!
It could be a post
’bout a cake or a pie; why?
I don’t really know; sigh.
Just trust me! (Please, don’t cry.)
A darling of whim
’twill most probably be; see?
For how many days; three?
No! Thirty-one; yippee!
See you tomorrow for darling day one!
I can’t wait. xx Brooke
The challenge is on…and I shout YES.
A blog a day. For one whole month.
One whole month of getting to know this little home I’m building.
A whole month of getting to know all of you!
Yep. It’ll be one whole month of wonderful. One whole month of…ice-cold panic.
ICE. COLD. PANIC.
Goodness me. Is that my heartbeat?
Just a moment. Sorry. Just breathing for a bit. One cat-and-dog. Two cat-and-dog. Three.
Okay! Where was I?
This little idea of mine: The Darling Blog of May.
Every day in May, I plan to write a blog post hovering around the theme DARLING, and the rules are…there are no rules.
I might write about the word darling.
I might write about a darling day, or moment, book or song.
I might write about a darling person, a darling thing.
A darling everything. A darling nothing.
There are no rules.
And thank goodness for that because I’ll need plenty of room to think outside my little box of darling. (There are a LOT of days in May, you know.)
That’s my idea, and this is my invitation to you:
Come on in!
Every day. One day. I’ll be here.
It’ll be nice!
No. Scratch that. It’ll be more than nice.
It’ll be darling.
This is an everything blog.
A little bit of sugar, a little bit of spice.
And, right now—like Forest and his many park-bench dwellers—you (the reader) and me (the writer) just never know what we’re going to get from this place, do we?
But Brooke, I hear you say. You are the writer. Hold the wheel. Steer.
Just take us to a place we know, a place we love.
A place we choose.
You may have already met the many versions of writerly me—especially if you’ve followed along on my Sunny Mummy journey—and if so, you may be wondering which me will be the captain of this particular ship, at any given blog post.
Will it be the very serious me; the scholar and the thinker, the champion of all things books and arts and creativity?
Will it be the dreamer, the romantic, the philosopher? The Mum?
Or will it be me of the adorably nuts kind; me who wishes the world was made of chocolate, and cherry-red wine, me who thinks she’s way funnier than she actually is. (And yes. The latter is the captain of this particular blog post. Sorry about that.)
What will the next post be? A photo blog: short, sweet and poignant? Or will it be wordy and slow, important and true?
This is my confession.
I don’t know.
All I can say about this little land of words is that it is, and always will be, a place for anyone who finds it, a place for anyone who needs it. A place that changes and moves, because life changes.
And that’s what I want for this space.
With this confession lies an apology of the sincerest kind. Sometimes you will be lost here, wishing for direction, wishing for routine wrapped in a neatly labeled box.
This place will give you all of the things, sometimes. And none of them sometimes, too. What exactly it will give you, I can’t be sure.
What I can be sure of is this.
My heart lives in this place.
And where my heart lives, I live.
All of me.
All of you, too.
The aching quiet.
You’d know it, I’m sure.
The moment something could have been said but wasn’t. The moment silence was filled with a smile, a giggle, a tear.
That’s what I think the aching quiet is.
An ache of the highest happy.
An ache of the deepest sad.
I’ve met the aching quiet many times in my life.
It’s the glance between would-be lovers in a crowded room; The bashful smiles that live with them for days and weeks and months.
It’s Dad, at the game, when his little girl socks the ball a mile; It’s the face in left-field, who never saw that coming.
It’s the woman who discovers the burger guy’s name and number on her chip bag; It’s how high he flips the patty when she sees it there and smiles.
If words are what life sounds like… the aching quiet must be how life feels.
The stuff of life that reaches the very bones of us, the yarn that weaves us together and makes us all the same.
The aching quiet, I think, is the pauses between the words. The deeper meaning of what we say.
It might even be a gooey caramel surprise for some. (Uhem, me.)
I really do love the aching quiet.
I promised this virtual space of mine that I’d sprinkle some heart into it, and so grows this poem: planted from a memory, watered with love.
I felt this introduction necessary because I am well aware that grief is an almighty thing, and although this poem is—quite literally— shining with comfort and hope; it also speaks of loss. For those of you whose grief runs deep and new: I give you my blessing to stop reading here.
This poem was inspired by my beautiful Grandmother—a ray of pure sunshine in my life, and in the lives of all those who knew her. She passed away a few years ago, and this story took place on the day of her funeral.
That day, I wanted to believe that she was there with us.
So I believed.
And, every time I see the sun…I still believe.
The day you grew your angel wings,
The sun shone warm and true,
While others saw a shining sun,
I looked, and I saw you.
The way the sun fell on my back;
A cape to still the grief,
A ring of gold around the clouds—
it filled me with relief.
The tears were wet upon our cheeks,
We thought you’d gone for good,
‘Take heart,’ the sun whispered to me,
‘You’ve all misunderstood.’
‘I’ve given her my shine, today,
It’s why she feels so near,
She’s telling you the pain has gone;
She knows that you can hear.’
Now every time I see the sun,
I hear your sweet hello,
‘Hello,’ I sing right back to you,
‘I’m glad you didn’t go.’