Daily Archives: June 26, 2016

Faith-Full Sunday – James 1:2-3

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 I happened upon this verse about eight years ago, and it has … Continue reading

I Got Away Successfully!

Last week I mentioned that my husband and I were planning a day trip to Cuyahoga National Park to see Brandywine Falls. This was based on a sudden, nearly inexplicable urge to get out of the house, get some fresh air, and see nature, despite my aversion to exercise. Maybe I was a little manicky. Who knows?mesign

I’m happy to report that the trip was a success, as you can see from these pictures. The drive up was long and hot (so was the drive back), but that gave us plenty of time for conversation. We got lost a couple of times in the park area (it’s a big, oddly shaped park), but with a little help we found the right parking lot and even grabbed a space near the trailhead. As advertised, there was a boardwalk that led right to the falls, or at least to an overlook with a great view.

stairsThere were also 69 steps leading down to the falls, or, more to the point, 69 steps leading back up to the boardwalk and the overlook. I declined to attempt the stairs, but my husband did, and got some pretty good pictures. janfalls

Since it was Father’s Day, there were a number of families there, but not so many that the trail seemed like a line for the rides at DisneyWorld. The weather was ungodly hot – in the 90s as we were driving home – but the boardwalk was shady and there was a bit of a breeze.falls3

So, what did I learn from this little adventure? First, that travel, at least on a small scale, is possible for me. I liked it so well that I am looking forward to taking another such trip, though most likely when the weather is cooler.

I drove the whole way up and back and was not bothered by my fears of drivers in the other lanes or railings and concrete dividers being too close to our car. (This is a thing that used to happen, even when I was a passenger. Driving was out of the question back then.)

Second, that I could make this trip with only minimal panic. I did have a moment on the way home. We stopped to eat, and as I rummaged in my bag for my regular glasses, I couldn’t find them. I thought they were pretty likely to be in the car, though I had visions of the case lying on one of the benches along the boardwalk. I was even trying to figure out whom to call or write that might be in charge of lost and found.

However, I managed to suppress the feelings, read the menu with my sunglasses on (that actually may have been the hardest part), resist the urge to ask Dan to go out to the car and check, and get through the meal.

The glasses case proved to be in the car and I managed to avoid either panic or mini-meltdown. I call that success. I finished driving home, we fed the animals, and then collapsed. It was exhausting and exhilarating and adventurous and restorative, and most of all, proof that I could travel again, at least for a medium-short jaunt. Travel was one of my greatest joys and one of the things I’ve missed most since the bipolar stole so many parts of my life. I am delighted to be able to say that I am beginning to reclaim it.

All photos by Dan Reily




Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: anxiety, bipolar disorder, husband, hypomania, marriage, my experiences, travel

Like Shakespeare to Horses: a Poetic Blog

Near Mexborough station: June 2016

Near Mexborough station: June 2016

I’m not going to talk about the referendum any more, save to say I’m very glad I’d arranged to walk the “Ted Hughes Trail” with author Linda Jones on Friday. The exercise, scenery, and company helped divert, and relax me.

We took the “Foxy Mex” programme from the “Ted Hughes Poetry Festival 2016” with us, as it includes a copy of the trail. It took us mainly through the town centre streets of Mexborough. Inevitably, this being Mexborough, we climbed some hills. I also took a copy of Hughes’ “The Birthday Letters,” which I’d borrowed from the local library.

After leaving the George & Dragon, where the landlord kindly made us a tea and coffee from his own – versus the pub’s – supply, we came to the canal, and then to these lovely chaps:

Heavy and not so heavy horses: Mexborough, June 2016

Heavy and not so heavy horses: Mexborough, June 2016

Inspired by Hughes’ poem about Sylvia Plath proclaiming Chaucer to cows, I recited some of “Richard II” to the horses. Not a lot, as my memory’s not what it used to be. On the train back home, I wrote this.

Like Shakespeare to Horses

Was this the field
of Ted v horse fame?
Or the one, next to
the one, of many fields?

The horses which clustered
at the shabby, nearly imaginary
fence, social creatures
that they are,
they did not care
whether I urged them
“for God’s sake,
let us sit upon the ground,”
or if I had spoken about
daggers, and candles
going out.

It was all the same to them,
they just liked the attention.

And some might say
that is all that Sylvia
wanted of Ted,

But who the hell knows,
since both of them
are dead?

St John the Baptist Church, Mexborough: part of the Ted Hughes Trail

St John the Baptist Church, Mexborough: part of the Ted Hughes Trail

Tagged: horses, Mexborough, poetry, Shakespeare, Ted Hughes, Ted Hughes Project, The Birthday Letters, The Ted Hughes Trail


As s person with a mood disorder, needless to say this has been an extremely difficult few days. First, the anniversary of my sweet little brother’s passing then my very beloved uncle’s passing away. It’s been very, very difficult indeed. Interspersed among those awfully sad things, my 28th wedding anniversary and in a few days my birthday… Life imitates life. What is one to do but mourn the sad occasions and celebrate the happy ones. Of course, from now on, my uncle’s anniversary will fall a day before my wedding anniversary, in addition to the anniversary of my dearest brother’s passing. 

Maybe I’ll just stop celebrating my birthday and wedding anniversary. Speaking of wedding anniversaries, my uncle and my aunt were married for 63 years!! How beautiful and now, how sad. Just can’t get away from it, this sadness. This life, full of such lovely things and such awful things. I am trying to look at how fortunate we were to have my brother, even though for such a short time. Also, of course, I count myself as exceptionally lucky to have had my extraordinary uncle and his loving presence in my life. I saw him in January, when I’d visited Islamabad. He was aged, but in perfect health then. I am so glad I went to visit him. Life is so precarious. We must make the most of it. We must tell the people we love that we do indeed love them. We must live happily, enjoying every moment. The nature of “precariousness” is we never know when it will all come to an end. So carpe diem, and eat drink and be merry for tomorrow…