Elizabeth Goudge was my favourite writer as a child and I’ve long wished to write with the imagery she used. Her use of colour is spellbinding, and I’ve longed to create such pictures with words. But in this world today, who would read such folksy stuff? She was a deeply religious woman, mystic, and spiritual. In my search to mimic her, I spent much time analysing her work and came to some conclusions. Firstly, as Enid Blyton did, her children’s books often had descriptions of great feasts, but when I looked, there was no joy in the taste of the food, just lists of names and consumption. Here was someone who could see the aesthetics of food, but really only ate to live, no great enjoyment of taste and smell. This was a person who had their body fully under control, who in the religious thinkings of her time, meditated deeply. This leads to a heightened awareness of colour and the world around, of and the spiritual dimension that is always around us, but few perceive. She also mentions the Prayer of Silence and the deeper relationship with God.
Now I’ve never really got the idea of fasting, but I’m gradually getting the hang of the idea of keeping your body, the strongest sense under control in order to release the others. So, ok I thought, let’s do some. However, I’ve been anorexic (don’t laugh those who know me!), and starving can become a pleasure, so I thought maybe this will could turn into an obsession. So at first I felt maybe, I’ll just cut back on what I eat. This just resulted in the pleasure of controlling my hunger, and hunger again became a pleasurable sensation. This way of finding how to write like Elizabeth, aint gonna work for me.
Then I took some time to read her books again, in particular The Scent of Water. Here was a most vivid description of what we would now label as bi-polar disorder or manic depression. Could someone write so if they hadn’t experienced depression of this dimension?? So maybe her gift was through this. There was a documentary by Stephen Fry on the syndrome recently and how he wouldn’t give up the lows at the costs of the highs. Maybe Elizabeth wrote though this too. Heck, I didn’t want this so I could write!
Then maybe I’ve had it all along. Driving down to St Lambrecht yesterday, I was just feasting my eyes on the countryside around me, as I have been doing recently and thought maybe I do have it after all. The colours in the dying trees under the dull, low clouds were so strong that they seemed to be glowing. The damp in the air has maybe heightened the colour, so the black stains on the trunks contrast so much more with the silver of the lichens. When we first came here, I used to like this time as it reminded me of England, now I just love it for here. Maybe another link severed. The grass in some of the fields is an impossible emerald-green (manure?) which contrasts so with the brown stems of all the plants. The larches are golden brown now, and even some of the late willows are an incandescent gold. Around the old farm buildings, the orchards are grey with lichen and the bare branches seem individually shown, no longer hidden by the leaves. Am I painting this scene with words? Photography maybe wouldn’t/couldn’t catch the intensity of this dim, damp light without tweaking, but I’m going out later to have a go. It’ll probably just look like dull autumn scenes. But maybe the words and pictures together? Seeing these heightened colours, and the sense of the dying year, yet with God’s hand within it all is with almost a sense of pain where it is so acute. The voice in me saying. linger, don’t go. Stay colourful longer. I don’t want the monochrome of winter snow yet. Last winter felt so negative to me, maybe it was the lack of money, the frustration of working every weekend all winter although the snow riding was wonderful. So I don’t what the snow to come, I’ll have to work hard to find a similar joy in it, but I will find the spirit of the snow as I’ve found that of autumn this year.
We had a dusting of snow yesterday, and the tops look cute. The contrast between it and the larches is intense. Up on the hill the farms and trees are a strong black and white, but through this is showing the grass ad the ochre leaves . a sort of halfway house. Yet I still don’t want the bright blue skies, this light is lovelier.
Last night was a turning point for me. listening to Andrew Wommack last nigh about disciple ship and the longing of people to do something for God – hey that’s me. He really spoke to me. He then showed a video of GodandDog by Wendy Franciso (GodandDog.org ) and I could have cried, I want to do that, one simple act, from a stimulus from God and just see it snowball. Today I woke feeling well, first time for a while after a tummy upset, and the colours while driving Dave into work this morning had me wanting to write, more than I’ve done for years. I’m writing this as a response. Maybe it doesn’t need starving or illness, just a gifting of God, the Holy spirit‘s gifts flowing freely from my spirit into my soul. This is what I’ve felt inspired to write. Could it help you??
PS The camera just didn’t get it