Creating Encounter in Colour: Sunflower

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A golden amphitheatre, a cloud of witnesses to the movement of the sun, charioting its way across the heavens.

Such an eye, and what seeing, beholding with your compound vision, the wonders of the above, and then folding in on yourself once the light fades, to contemplate all that has passed before you, storing the treasure up for later.

As you age, you learn that facing the right way is just one aspect of life, and you may safely receive whilst gazing even at the ground. Everything is, after all, soaked in the sacredness of sky. Countenance shining from holy transference, glowing with God, a Mosaic face, blessed by glory.

Spiralling seeds begun here will feed us, and flocks of birds, with concentrated wisdom. The sun’s sagacity caught and held, the wisdom of a blooming marvel. All of this within a head that knows when to adore and when to bow, how to let inner green and beauty go, thence to shrivel into ingredients for angel seed cake, still captivating every painter’s heart.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Rainbow Trout

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Speckled rainbow breathing water and knowing better than we do how to let it flow, gills gently moving in and out. Skin that reminds me of the surface of puddles settled under cars, driven off and leaving swathes of oily colour. Did God paint you to remind us of his promises, made to all life, no exceptions? Or have you just absorbed so much of the spectrum in your swim, bathing in pools kissed by sunlight, that it cannot help but ooze out?

Gliding in places we cannot find, secret eddies and glittering ponds fringed with the long tears of the willow that tinge and tickle your spotted hide with olive green, you spend your days gilded by mystery. You flick your fronded tail at disgruntled anglers, speeding past them with your raspberry stripes, making me glad we are now fishers of people, and can let you wend your rivery way onwards, supple and gleaming.

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Straw

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Soft light brushing against tall, tender stalks, brittle with age. Time now, as they let go of youth, to seek out Rumpelstiltskin and learn how to spin this dry straw into gold. How does that happen except by heavenly alchemy; the way we tell one another our stories? Just as we turn to silver and start to fade into starlight, so the grasses of the field take on the flaxen wonder of pale auric shine, and we find it harder to bend, our voices becoming reedy and our roots less anxious to hold on.

We are all preparing for the journey onward, and in the mean time we will stand on the edges, border sea and sand, keep sentinel on cliffs and along byways, teaching the young the value of boundaries and tides, leaning arthritically into the sighing of the wind, which will soon carry us home.

Text and photograph © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Creating Encounter in Colour: Red and Black

I was not going to write a post this week. Honouring the dead with silence seemed more in keeping with the centenary of the end of WW1. Having recently completed a novel about that conflict, the horrors of it are all too fresh in my heart and mind. But, I felt moved to write this. Lest we forget.

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I stand on the battlefield, careworn and weary with my own soldiering, sheltering my palmful of treasure. I cannot know the horrors that drench this earth, but I will still stand here with you, shifting the weight of my ignorance from foot to foot, my hand curling around the black dots, waiting for the right moment to release them.

I will keep silence for just this little while, when you have kept it a hundred years. And when I am soaked in the greyness of the clouded sky, and the countless white crosses have floored my heart, I will close my eyes and feel the solidity of the sadness in this land. It rises up through my soles, it tugs childlike at my humanity, it wrenches my gut, it bayonets my heart.

And when that song of your untimely end has pained its way along my living sinews, and shuddered my synapses, and made me remember you, only then will I say, “Lord have mercy,” and throw my poppy seeds into the harsh November wind, that they might be carried like you by chilly winds of chance, and thrown into the mangled mud of no-man’s land, the possibility of red resurrection always there, bright flowers on unmarked graves and trampled terror.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Black Forest Gateau (Schwarzwaldtorte)

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We walk through Grimm’s forest tales, peering into witch’s ovens and shaking our heads at young princes on brave steeds as they charge headlong into thorny frontiers, wonder at young maidens sleeping in glass coffins and follow, eventually, the long trail of breadcrumbs that leads us out into the open air. We breathe long and deep, pondering whether or not we have just entered or left reality.

Broken bread leads us, as it always does, to some kind of Kirche, and since we are recently passed through gloomy Austrian pines, to kirsch, oozing into chocolate cake, all of it softening into a dark deliciousness, a velvet plateful of baked flour and alcohol, akin to the mystery of communion.

Is this richness too, a picture of life in all its fullness, and the bleeding of fermented cherries a reminder of how many horrific stories there are, written to prepare children for the dangers that lurk behind close-camped evergreens, or to remind adults that we too, need to be wary of gung-ho princes and apple sellers? And as I think on the syrupy deep morello red drizzle soaking into cocoa, mixing sour and sweet, am I a warning to myself on the perils of an overactive imagination?

This sermon in the Kirsche Kirche Küche has left us glowing with Glühwein, drunkenly drenched by Spirit, flammable for God. A powerful combination of taste sensations, warmed here out of the cold depressing zeitgeist, and aware of another kingdom, where burgundy deep plum aubergine liqueur and plain brown sponge sing to us of flesh and blood, and the possibility that heaven might be sumptuous glory, a melt-in-the-mouth savouring and a colour to get lost in, sustenance so rich we can only be treated once in a while, as we also embrace the poverty of daily bread. These two, as far and near from one another as fairy stories and liturgy, everything made holy by our cosmic Christ.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Gold

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I keep on digging, paddling my way into the wet demerara, this sea-soaked sand, hurriedly flinging it away with my flippers. Must dig, must dig, must lay eggs, must lay eggs. This is the only time I feel like a human, with their never ending desperation to get things done so that the next task on the list can hove into view, each one humming away, bee-like on a never-ending Caucus route, crossing things off in hopes of one day finding the finish line, unaware it is immovable and inevitably the casting off of this life.

It is a rare thing that is truly time-constrained. Birthing is one of them. And so I work hard to bury myself in this deep golden grain, the soft and yet abrasive descendants of Abraham remaining defiantly countless, but so many fewer than they ought, by rights, to be. I am sure God, who no longer counts sins, counts these little ones and knows each mustard seed by name.

Having hollowed this hallowed place, I would like to lie down here and die, I am beyond every resource. There is nothing left, but the work only half done. A few shallow groanings, and I divest myself of what has been waiting, all this time, to become treasure. Gelatinous albumen the casket, calcium crust the mantling lock, and inside the gold that will feed each tiny cold-blooded life.

Exhaustion is burning every cell now, and still the work must be completed, the children buried, the brown caramel topping covered and smoothed down. There must be no x marking the spot, that enemies can find them, and no way for this mother to return to the nursery. Here I must leave my heart, and these small beginnings, and hope with everything that is good and holy to encounter familiar seeming tiny turtles when I am traversing the ocean, seeing and recognising the glint in my own eyes before me. Somehow, I lift myself, and turn.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Seaweed

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So many greens. The brownish tones of bladderwrack, whose name made me wince in imagined pain, little poppable polyps that we loved before bubblewrap was even thought of. The generic dark forest slime slathered across the rocks, coastal combovers, a slip hazard for flip flopped children, so we took ours off and risked gashes and jagged edges rather than not being able to feel our way with our soles. Sand caught on our feet gave us a tiny bit of traction, but we still slid off and flung our arms out to balance ourselves, rockpool tidal tightrope walkers.

Tiny crabs hid under fronds and someone, probably Monsieur Cousteau, had taught me that these were not leaves. Here were hidey holes for entirely new forms of life, creeping, like us, around the edges of ocean, wondering what was what. Even then, I knew my plastic bucket jarred against all nature’s magnificence, with its hard manufactured texture and artificial colour. The bullhead I caught in it, alien eyes bulging, was given a few strands of spinach green to hide itself in, until it was time to release it back into the sea. The capture of such treasure all on my own, in my smallness, fed my happiness all summer long, and taught me the beginnings of diving for pearls in mystic prayer, the joy of glimpsing life in salt water pools, and the realisation that all life is magical.

text © K Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Yellow

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Clutched tight, all that treasure, in the bud, now blooming as you open up and let go, and realise that all that gift is for giving, and none of it is worth a damn holed up, sepalled shut and lightless. The worth is in the shining, the reflection, the golden glow of a countenance brightly lit, prayer dripping from you as honeyed light

At first it seems that you will never be done with opening. Row upon row of eager sharkish teeth, pointing up delicate satin flintish arrows to indicate the way. Circles falling over one another to begin. Green transformed by the sun’s sacred alchemy into gold as it passes from the centre ever nearer the precipice of edge, fearlessly dancing further and further out.  Living with such abandon, the brightness of your seamless mandala changes us too, as we gaze on glory ever changing to glory.

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photograph by Kate Kennington Steer  © used with permission.

Creating Encounter in Colour: Black Orchid

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You are exotic, other-worldly, full of the grace needed to live moment by moment in a world that constantly threatens you with extinction. The wrong temperature, the wrong humidity, the wrong placement, and you will die, too alien for anything but the perfect biosphere.

Like Julian, mothering words of revelation in her cell, you are darkly deep and thoughtful, passionate about the divine that shines from you even as you absorb everything. All the colours, all the light, is held and unified into untold power and wisdom. Flower that is painted as night, all black satin sheen and the patina of starlight.

No wonder men will fall on their knees to try and dig out a piece of you, your roots delving further and further into the other realms in which you truly live, and which we, in our harried hurrying, cannot reach.

text © K Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

What Lies Beneath

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When the undercurrent is forced up through cracks in the mantle, we act shocked, dismayed, as though it had not been us pouring our detritus into all the caves we found, pressing it down, forcing it in. As though we thought that our quarrying would never lead to collapse, and our fracking to fracture. As though our landfill might remain out of sight and mind and somehow disappear into another dimension, where we would not ever have to deal with it. And under all this too, radioactive cubes pulse and threaten. Contained in concrete, they nevertheless cry out in pain, singing their atomic song, living half lives beneath the seabed.

When the carpet cannot take any more of us walking over it, tripping us up with the bulges of everything we have swept underneath, when we find our heads brushing against the ceilings, we are so surprised. As though every ball of dust and angry word, every oppression and lie, were not one day going to ruck up and seek us out again. Had we not heard of karma, or understood the cyclical nature of things? We heard the gospel of seeking and finding, of reaping and sowing, and thought half of it only applied to other people. So, we bought ourselves treasure maps from charlatans, and the latest drilling equipment. We left our swords as they were, and invested in combine harvesters and pesticides, counting on technology to save us. Or else we stood in our glass palaces and scrabbled for as many stones as we could find, perfecting our throwing arms, keeping ourselves safe.

And now? And now, all the mouths we taped, the voices we silenced, the rivers we dammed, are coming to find us. Their words and songs are rising up and pouring out, and we do not have enough fingers between us to stop up the dyke. The ones who are not like us are coming, and they are strange and frightening. Because they are not all screaming, as we would. They are not all shouting for blood, as we would. They are not many, suing for damages, as we would.

They are softly shod and treading careful, they are listening to one another, like trees rustling messages through leaves and roots. They are letting the truth out, and cocking heads to one side in order to hear the bubbling flow that runs beneath every façade. Some of them are laughing. Actually laughing! And we do not know why. And when one of them stands up, they are quickly surrounded by others, holding hands, lifting hearts, raising roofs. And we do not know why. We cover our ears, because this seems a good policy. We call our brokers, and we lean on the movers and the shakers who have always taken care of us, because this is the only thing we know.

This other kind of power is annoying, like the buzzing of a thousand hives. We don’t know what it wants or what it might take from us. We will fight back. We will shoot in self-defence. But still they keep on coming. Rising up from the depths we sent them to. Writing their stories, singing their protest songs, firing up new generations with voices and guitars, with drums and pipes.

When they smile at us, when they reach out with work-worn hands, but gently, when they see the pain in our eyes and recognise it as a tiny reflection akin to their own, when they show us compassion, as though we might need it, when they talk to us in calm, loving tones of every man-named colour, and some we do not recognise, then, maybe then, we might take one step closer, for there is something here that smells of fresh water, something that sounds like birdsong, something connecting to our hearts like baby’s breath. Our tears begin to fall, and we do not know why.

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay