It was a flat-cap kind of day at an exhibition in Gunnislake today, and not because of this excellent print by Annette Wrathmell.
Mark Fielding was giving a portrait sketch demonstration and his sitter was Andy Spry.
Andy is a daffodil grower with over 300 varieties of daffodils nurtured in his fields. Mark is a member of Drawn to the Valley and a well known portraitist. I was keen to watch Mark at work but my attention was caught, not so much by the sketching, as by the easy conversation between the two. How often, if ever, do you get the chance to watch the natural ebb and flow of a conversation between two people who have not previously met. I had thought I was there to witness one thing but became absorbed by something else altogether. The conversation between the sitter and artist was fascinating, sweeping from Daffodil varieties to the legacy of local artist Robert Lenkiewcz. Mark Fielding, was once his pupil. On the way the conversation touched on the hands of working men.
Andy talked about the wisdom of generations of flower farmers.Mark shared some of the wisdom of Lenkiewicz.
Obviously I ponder, I’ve always pondered, and I’ve pondered sayings like this for as long as I have pondered. Several years in Sunday School failed to drum Christian forgiveness or much else into me.
* note to readers. My grandmother took me to Sunday School, my parents were casual atheists. However my parents were always rapturous and industrious when I was returned to them several hours later. I was always puzzled about having to attend Sunday School when, even to a child, it was obvious that Church lay in the same place as Unicorns or Mermaids for my parents. Parenthood cleared the whole thing up, ‘Sunday School’ was a guaranteed child free space for my parents to enjoy ‘ conjugal bliss’ in much the same way that a Thomas the Tank video might have done in the nineties or for more prolonged events a Disney Film.
” Never bear a grudge” is another one. I do not bear grudge for the whole Sunday School thing. I do rather wish two hours a week had been better spent with my grandparents in a swimming pool or soft play area, but those were things of the future.
All of this is a perambulation taking us to my home grown philosophy. One that has never been peer reviewed or researched.
My cheeks stay resolutely in the same place. Bygones are inclined towards the dusty. I do forgive, and mostly I forget. But I don’t forget, the really big, important harms to my soul. That really does seem to be an act of foolishness.
Instead my non- forgiveness, my grudges if you will. Live in a small disheveled carrier bag within the massive Industrial Unit of my happy, glorious memory bank of fabulous life experiences. The grotty, grudge carrier bag lives in a closet in the small room of sad memories that sits within the massive Industrial Unit of happy stuff.
There really is a point to all this pondering. Just before New Year I received a text asking me to do something. Every point of my personal moral compass was twirling round to point towards me saying ‘ Yes’. The whole Industrial Unit of Happiness said ‘yes’. The small room of Sadness said ‘Yes’. But when my thoughts delved into the very small, very grotty, carrier bag of grudges, my fingers found the unfamiliar word ‘ No’. Knowing that this was the guidance I actually needed the decision was made. It has not caused me a single sleepless night.
Don’t bear a grudge. Discard the unimportant ones. Keep the significant ones in a grotty carrier bag out of sight. Pop your hand in very, very rarely if all the happy or sensible stuff is not giving you the right answers. Not all wisdom comes from a good place.
Sometimes to get a good nights sleep we need wisdom from the grotty carrier bag.