|Drawing by Laura Nicolson - My truly perfect stranger partner!|
A curious thing happened to me recently. Something that has spoken to me of a lacking within me, something that has echoed a warning bell. 'Wake up, Wake up!' I wrote here not long ago about the perfect strangers project swap that I took part in. It was fun and heart warming, enough so that I wrote about it. I took pictures of the gift I received from my swap partner. It was a box of organic, beautifully scented yogi tea: african spice. The box of tea came wrapped in paper adorned with a pretty leaf, a little piece of autumn hugging the african heat. When my package arrived I was so excited that I unwrapped it immediately, saw the box of tea, inhaled it's scent and thought to myself how considerate the gift was as my partner had alluded to my african background. I thought of how I would enjoy the tea at specific moments in the future and that when I would sit down to drink a cup, it would be a perfect moment to send my swap partner a letter or a postcard. My cupboard is currently pretty full of herbal tea and for that reason my gift, my box of tea has remained on my desk in my bedroom, that's where I was when I opened the package you see. And there it stayed. And because it's scent is so pleasing, I let it sit there on my desk and enjoyed the subtle spicy smells each time I walked past the desk. It has sat there alongside all the other important things, things that need sorting out, things that the boys have brought home from school that need to be filed alongside 'the boys school stuff that I keep'. Things like all of 2014 unfinished drawings and art projects. Things like my sons second pair of glasses that I can't think of a sensible place to store that have found a home there. Things that are meant to act as a prompt like last years Christmas card from Aunty Adelaide in the big brown envelope with multiple stamps on the front emblazoned with the word: GHANA in black bold print. It was meant to prompt me to get photos printed and a card sent out to Aunty before Christmas - I have failed. But as I began scanning all the stuff on my desk a few days back and worrying that it was a metaphor for my jumbled life, I decided to sort out a new home for some of the items on said desk that really should never have had a stay there. I picked up the box of tea. I opened the box deciding to get a full hit of the spices and as I did so I was transported to that scene in the film 'Amelie' when the man discovers a tin that he opens and is catapulted into a world of magic, one that he was not expecting to find on that day or in that moment. I hadn't opened the box. In all that time that the box and it's scent had been greeting me 'good morning' and greeting me 'goodnight', I had not opened the box! It had not even occurred to me that there may be more to discover in the box. It's appearance had fooled me, I hadn't looked any deeper, I had fully depended on the superficial, on the exterior. It occurred to me that perhaps 'this' was the metaphor for my life and not the messy desk. Perhaps I am happy to just accept what is at the surface without looking any deeper, not curious enough to step inside and explore the riches that are dormant waiting to be discovered. There was a box of treasure sat in front of my very eyes but I could not see it because I just wasn't expecting to find any treasure. I did not believe it was either owed to me nor should be discovered by me. I had no longing to explore, to seek, to discover, to reveal and how sad that seems. It is in part my careful, cautious nature I am sure. But it has reminded me too that a curious heart is a heart that beats strongly and I haven't heard my own heart beating strongly for quite some time. Till I opened a box and at last was free and I could see the tower that I had climbed into of my own accord. I am ready to let down my hair, I can see myself climbing up it. I am close, so close to the towers window, I can see my other self waiting at that open window. I am smiling.