A Page From the Calendar of Awe
A Page From the Calendar of Awe
“History is like roadkill on a country lane.
We injure it bluntly. We turn it inside out
until we can no longer recognise it; can no
longer learn from it. We forget our
achievements, our hushed moments of
evolution. We make anniversaries for only
the bloodshed, the pain and the last sad
(Taken from the 5th Annual Address of Fabian
Rye to the Fish Council – Autumn)
I was not fortunate enough to hear the address of the late, great Fabian Rye. It was his last before he vanished. I once met a girl called Molly (she was an excellent swimmer) who told me all about Fabian Rye. She knew little of the man himself, for his past; his present and his future are the substance of smoke and mirrors. He is, by all accounts, something of a magician, mountebank and a meddler of dreams. Very few know him – and if they do, or did, they likely did so without realising exactly who he is. But this is not the story of Fabian Rye.
Molly explained how she had been amazed by this mysterious man. She told me how he had made her realise that we are now living in a world where our history is etched in anniversaries that recall war, famine, pestilence and death. The man had spoken of how he felt that surely each and every day has the potential to be the memory, the remembering of something wonderful; something simple; something beautiful. Molly had shown me a pocket diary that she called her Book of Happiness, her own private remembrance of joyous anniversaries.
I was impressed that day and although I don’t always see Molly, I remember her diary. I have changed my calendar since that day. Each year, I buy a traditional calendar (I like ones with photographs of trees or water) and it becomes my Calendar of Awe. The page marked ‘February’ has not long since been turned and is anniversaries cluster like winter berries.
February 7th is the day, five years before, when I watched a heron standing in a manmade lake. It moved with grace despite the lake having been dug and filled with a decidedly unimaginative design. Man, you see, has little vision in the face of nature. It watched and it waited; its neck an elegant question mark hanging over my afternoon. I was transfixed. The calendar is marked ‘Heron Day’.
Tomorrow will be a full week of unexpected, early snowdrops bursting from the icy soil in all directions, drooping heads whispering as monks of the woodland.
It was on a February day, safe behind rain splashed window panes that I first heard the music of Hope Sandoval. It reached into the deepest promise of my soul and caressed me. It is March however, when I celebrate the first time I ever saw a photograph of her and was felled by her unequalled beauty.
February is the month I remember eating cherry pie in a heated dining room, condensation frosting the windows.
February is the month of dancing over the fading embers of January.
February is the month of frosty, brittle trees chattering together like nervous teeth as they stare into the horizon for the first hint of spring.
February the 17th, two years since is the day I prised open my heart once again. It took a crowbar of hope and it made more noise than I ever imagined it would. For a long time it had been a forlorn, closed down amusement park. It had been draped in the heavy drapes of forgetting, beating solemnly beneath. Having broken back in, I pulled away the dusty covers and spent a long time oiling the mechanics with beauty and belief.
This is how I tamed my life. There is sadness woven into any year and there is sadness woven into memories. Remembering the sadness can be a quiet, soft, riverside moment.
Each day has another side.
A calendar of awe holds the world at bay.