“Heffalump Traps” and a Blog Hiatus…

At the moment, I feel a bit like Winnie-the-Pooh when he ‘stepped on a piece of the Forest that had been left out by mistake’:

Winnie-the-Pooh falls into a Heffalump Trap. Illustration by Ernest H. Shepard

Winnie-the-Pooh falls into a Heffalump Trap. Illustration by Ernest H. Shepard

– or like Lyra, in His Dark Materials, on the brink of slipping into a parallel universe…

Soon, my son will be having surgery, after which he’ll be in hospital for several weeks. So, we’re about to be launched into days swallowed up by hospital corridors, and many challenges that will need all our energies…

But, I will return to blogging again when circumstances allow – before the spring is very far advanced. Hopefully, we won’t miss too much of it! I’ve been told that, after the first couple of weeks, we’ll be able to take our son out in his wheelchair for little “escapes” – so we’ll go looking for the spring in the city’s parks and wild spaces; spending healing time watching the squirrels and birds – looking out for frog spawn and the local peregrines – and just generally keeping our sense that the outside world does still exist!

Playing Poohsticks. Illustration by Ernest H Shepard

Playing Poohsticks. Illustration by Ernest H Shepard

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who follows/ comments on/ reads this blog. Your support is much appreciated. I’ll be keeping an eye on the blog, so please continue to leave comments here if you’d like to – I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. You might see me about from time to time, if I get the chance to visit your blogs (which I’m sure will provide some much needed distraction from frazzled nerves!) I might even end up adding one or two very brief posts here – for the same reason! If not, Bookish Nature will return to full flow as soon as we’ve got ourselves back on an even keel…

Eeyore - Illustration by Ernest H Shepard

Eeyore – Illustration by Ernest H Shepard

“See” you then! Take care…

Melanie

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37 thoughts on ““Heffalump Traps” and a Blog Hiatus…

    • Thanks so much for your kind good wishes, Evie. It’ll be such a relief when it’s all over – I’ve never looked forward to spring quite so much before! This op has been possibly “imminent” for a couple of years now, so it’s been a bit of a strain to say the least! Good luck with all your plans for the Tree House Bookshop. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you! x

  1. I love the images – WhistlesintheWind has been having a big sort out of books and records and things and I got lost in the House at Pooh Corner for a bit only last week! All the very best for the next few weeks: hope all goes well. Keep those spots of time/moments of pleasure in mind while hovering in the corridors and we’ll look forward to the return! Was going to add comment about fieldfares – I get confused with redwings which come off the moor (so I was told) in flashmobs and do a speedy job of stripping a tree of berries while the more thoughtful birds can only look on…

    • Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful message – I’ll try to keep those spots of time/ moments of pleasure in focus! Always a good strategy! E.H. Shepard’s illustrations are always such an uplift to see aren’t they… And they seemed appropriate somehow – the Winnie-the-Pooh stories are full of a philosophy that just puts everything into a reassuring sense of perspective! Looking forward to seeing the results of any WhistlesintheWind brewings those books, records and things may have inspired!

    • Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, Selina. My son has now had his op. The first couple of days and nights were so harrowing and traumatic, but he seems to have turned a corner and, despite all he’s having to endure, is beginning to enjoy the lovely ward he is on (wonderful staff, his own telly and a special needs teacher visiting with some great activities!) Good facilities for parents on day and overnight duty too. I’m running on empty at the moment – sleep has been almost non-existent for the past week – so, I hope this message isn’t too garbled! x

      • You must be so tired Melanie – your message seems like a very clear reflection of that, not garbled at all! I’m so sorry that you’ve had such trauma to endure. You must be having to be so strong and plunder previously undiscovered reserves of energy and positivity. I see from your response to Julian that you think things may have turned a corner – I wish you continued strength for bearing the worry and exhaustion x

        • Selina – I’m spending a day today gradually trying to catch up with things, and just wanted to say that this kind and understanding message was such a support to receive at a very low ebb, and when energy to turn thoughts into written words just escaped me… Thanks so much again for that. Things are on the up now, and I’m gradually beginning to dip my toe back into the flow of less turbulent, and more welcome, waters again. Looking forward to visiting The Mucky Root soon to catch up with your latest posts… x

  2. An inspiring blogpost, with uplifting, heart-warming and playful images of our dear friends Pooh, Piglit and C. Robin, and especially Eeyore ‘going with the flow’. All these positive words show that you will be protected during the times ahead. All very best wishes to you and your family.
    Miriam, author of ‘Otter Country’ and Wild-watching blogspot

    • Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words, Miriam. It’s wonderful to see you here! And it’s such a special moment of Fortune/ Fate/ serendipity too – as, a few weeks ago, I bought myself a copy of Otter Country with some Christmas money I received. As soon as I read its opening page, I knew it would be the perfect restorative; a beautiful breathing-space in words – exactly right for the longed-for full return to the freedom and beauty of the wild, which I can now see waiting for us. So, I have been saving your book as a looked-forward-to treat for that time – and as a celebration of that sense of a return to freer flow, so epitomised by the otter…

      I’m so pleased too to learn about your blog – I shall be visiting as soon as I can!

      Many thanks again for your really lovely message – it has cheered me so much during difficult days…

      All the very best,

      Melanie

  3. Just wanted to drop by and say that your son, you and your family have been in my thoughts since I first read this post. I now see that he’s had his operation and I’m so pleased to hear it went well. This must be a tiring time, Melanie, but even in these comments I see your wonderful spirit and inspiring energy shine through. If your son shares even a small part of that with you I imagine his recovery will be speedy and positive. Thinking of you all from here.

    Best wishes,

    Julian

    • Julian – Thank you so much for your wonderful message. It came at the perfect time when, already running on only adrenalin and very little sleep, my energy suddenly slumped way below empty and no respite seemed in sight. Your words have been a tremendous support and uplift – and today, after such a rollercoaster two weeks, my son’s naturally happy spirit has begun to re-emerge. He’s even been charming his physios with hugs and smiles (strategies to avoid the hard work of his exercises – as well as the result of relief at being able to move around at last!) Unfortunately, the physios are wise to such tactics – and he’s not been let off the hook so easily! It’s a long hard road to full recovery, with lots of re-learning to do in order to bear his weight on his legs again. But, fingers crossed, a return home is now more in sight… Thanks again so much for your thoughtful words and kind good wishes, Julian. Hope all is well with you.

      Melanie

  4. Melanie, I’m so sorry, I have not been visiting blogs for a few weeks now, got many posts saved up to catch up on, I knew this time was coming up for your family, but I had forgotten to check in. Glad to hear the op and recovery are going well, and your son’s spirit is peeking back out at the world. I so so hope that the sun comes out for you this weekend and helps breathe some reviving lightness, warmth and energy into you and your family. Thinking of you and wishing you all well.

    We have our dance perfomances next week (just had technical rehearsals last night). I believe the performance will be filmed… I hope to find a way to send you a copy, or at least some clips from the piece, so you can hear your words sitting in the context of the performance alongside the movement, music and lighting. Hopefully that will be fun for you to watch too!

    Amanda x

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Aubrey. As things turned out, a whole mix of factors foiled our plans to take our son out into nature during our long hospital stay. But, we’ve made up for that since his return home – and, despite the freezing weather we’ve had here in England recently, we’ve followed and found some beautiful glimmerings of the spring – all of which have begun to restore us already…

      My thanks again for the blog award – which it’s been such a boost to receive! I’m just beginning to get back on track with things again now – and am very much looking forward to answering your inspiring questions…

  5. Hi Melanie, I hope things are going well… Looking forward to your return here. I emailed you a link to a youtube video of the dress rehearsal… I hope that will be fun for you and your family to watch once you are all home together… x

    • Hi Amanda – further to our conversations via email I just wanted to acknowledge your lovely messages here, and to say again how sustaining it has been to watch and enjoy the video of your and your students’ wonderful dance piece. I still have to keep pinching myself to believe that such a magical manifestation of art and inspiration – the product of so many creative energies – contains my words in its mix! I love the beautiful crafting of the piece, its insights conveyed in such subtlety and grace of interpretation and movement. And I love the organic wholeness of it all – the beautiful, seamless and deeply affecting blending of dance, choreography, music, words, visual motifs, lighting, costume…

      Thank you so much again Amanda for your all your supportive, kind words and for the hugely welcome, healing uplift seeing the dance piece has brought at this time. It’s been so special to feel a part of something creatively woven by so many hearts and minds across so many miles around the Earth! I still can’t believe my words have been in such fabulous company! Truly something to treasure – and an amazing outcome of blogging I could never have foreseen! Again, sending my deep appreciation to you, your students and to everyone involved in bringing together all the elements to make such a magical whole – you should all be so proud of your talents! (Sorry for the long delay in adding this reply here – I’m just beginning to re-emerge into Blogland today!) x

    • Hi – thanks so much for your kind good wishes. I’m so glad you stumbled here via Daniel’s blog – I’ve loved discovering your blog today; there’s so much there I want to explore when time allows the space to do it justice (evening family chaos is about to resume right now…) Your mindfulness retreat account looks wonderful – I’m really looking forward to reading it more deeply when silence eventually descends around here! Thanks again for your comment (really sorry it took me so long to reply!)

      Melanie

  6. Melanie

    I occasionally drop by your blog to see your latest observations as a fellow lover of both nature and books. It’s been a while since I did so but I’d like to add my best wishes to all of the earlier, more timely comments above. Now it seems that spring has finally arrived I do hope you can get out and about with your son and that he is doing well following his op.

    Best wishes.

    Nick

    • Hello Nick,

      Thanks so much for your kind good wishes, and for taking the time to leave a message. It’s very good to hear from you – and great to know that like-minded interests have led you here from time to time to read my ramblings around nature and books. As I type this the sun is shining, my son is doing well (we’ve all been loving some recent opportunities to surround ourselves again with sky, trees, birdsong – and to be able to properly breathe again…) – and I can even feel the (very) rusty cogs in my brain begin to shed loose a few words which (hopefully!) will manage to arrange themselves into a new blog post or two before too long. Many thanks again for your comment, which is much appreciated. Hope you’ll continue to drop by when you can…

      Best wishes,

      Melanie

  7. Hoping all is going well and that you’re feeling the Spring now it’s really starting to happen. There’s a squirrel frenzy in the garden just now (well, two and possibly a third) but they’re as rowdy and shambolic as grey squirrels can be. I think red squirrels would be taking tea or perhaps a gin and tonic, the greys seem to have been at the beer since breakfast…

    • Lovely to see your comment – thanks so much for dropping by again to see how things are. Hope all’s well with you too. We’re taking each day as it comes at the moment – it’s a very long haul for our son with all the physiotherapy and various orthotics and general ups and downs etc, but the main thing is he’s now feeling recovered enough to return to his usual happy self – and it’s been so wonderful to see all that unfolding again. We all feel that we’re slowly unfolding again alongside him – and all the springtime unfoldings, at the same time, seem so perfectly, and aptly, in tune – and have never been more welcome. A time of new beginnings all round… Your garden’s rowdy squirrels really made me laugh. Our garden’s now buzzing with life and wakening too (it’s like having our own version of Springwatch here, with some really special wildlife visitors lately – will blog about that soon, I hope). My son went back to school last week, and I kind of flopped into a stupor of recovery – and still seem to be moving at a speed slower than a snail’s pace when it comes to trying to catch up with all the heaps of stuff that had to be put on hold…

      I’m really looking forward to discovering the latest Whistles in the Wind observations and treasure-finds – and to visiting all the other blogs I follow. All part of the gradual unfolding back into the light of day again… Hopefully, it’ll help to knock some more of the rust off my brain-cogs and actually get me to creak my way slowly into cobbling together some posts of my own (words seem to be really evasive things at the moment…)

      Thanks again for dropping in and making me smile…

        • Thanks for these very wise words (exactly what I needed to hear today). Fostering the stupors, when needed, can definitely be a rescue and a nest of wonders, I think! Allows the space for so much to start to re-align, settle, stretch and get ready to move on again… Lots of writing/ blogging intentions and ideas have been hatching in the nest – all trying to fledge in different directions! I’m going to have to nudge each of them out gently one by one, and not try to fly too far, too fast!

          • Love the fledglings flying off in different directions – sometimes ideas come all at once and some you have to nudge back into the nest (metaphor fails here as was going to say need to be tempted back with worms)…

            I sometimes think that after a spell of things being a bit full-on there’s a tendency to use that same level of energy/reserves everywhere else – as if we’ve programmed ourselves to suddenly save the world in ten days and it takes a bit of effort to really accept it’s OK to settle and take stock… There was a great comment in someone’s discussion on Sonya Chasey’s site where she said:

            “I think you are right about the balance thing – in a way it’s maybe because our Western culture encourages us to be so goal oriented, which can’t ever be satisfying because as soon as you get there you have to be finding the next goal, whereas we have to remind ourselves that the process is what our life IS. What I’m trying to say is that because we are alive there must be a constant flux & so balance can never be reached because there are always constantly changing interactions.”
            http://sonyartchasey.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/in-the-presence-of-trees/

            • Again, you’ve totally hit the nail on the head and helped to fix a thought in place that’s been flapping about in a bit of a whirlwind of mind lately. You’re so right about that phenomenon of getting stuck in ‘save the world in ten days’ mode. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of the great discussion on Sonya’s blog. What she, and others there, are saying is so true, I think. Another crucial reminder to let that whirlwind dissipate, and for the process of what IS to run its natural course.

              Another place to anchor that crucial thought is over at Terri Windling’s blog, where she has written a wonderful post, In Praise of Rest about the importance of the seemingly idle ’empty days’ or fallow moments which feed the inner and creative process. Terri’s post, and the following comments, are filled to the brim with great quotes, thoughts, ideas and experiences of that vital need for breathing space…

  8. I’m really glad everything is going well with your son, Melanie. Huge apologies for my absence, I’ve been busy with projects, etc and hadn’t been blogging much. But I’m relieved to hear all is going well and I wish you happy times ahead with your family. At last the sun seems to be coming out 🙂

    • Louise – thanks so much for your lovely message. Absolutely no need for any apologies – life is so busy. Great to hear that you’re immersed in projects – hope they’re going well and that the muse is really flying at the moment! I was hoping to spend some of this week visiting favourite blogs, but have been waylaid by essential family stuff these past few days. Really looking forward to heading over to Wings Over Waters to catch up with your latest as soon as I can… Thanks again for your kind words! 🙂

  9. Hello Melanie – I realise it’s such a long time since I’ve looked here on reading this – I’m not too good on blogs really. I hope everything is going well for you & all your family. I can really hear your belief in life with the way you write – I won’t say any more because I’m never sure that I am able to sum up emotions in words without sounding sentimental!

    I won’t say I’ll send you some sunshine either, because it keeps disappearing – one day it’s 12°c & then it knocks us out with 30°c to return to cold again the day after! I also hope you don’t get Asiatic hornets in the Uk – though I guess it’s only a question of time. Saw the first yesterday which flew into our house. I managed to kill it (with Chris Stringer’s “The Origin of our species” – hope he won’t mind!) I don’t ever kill insects – only these because of their being an invasive species that kill bees . That was all triggered from reading about your garden coming to life! Anyway … all the best

    • Sonya, it’s always lovely to hear from you, whenever you manage to drop by. Life is just so busy – I’m in complete sympathy with the difficulties of keeping up with blogging! It’s taken me a while to answer your lovely message as my daughter was unwell – just as GCSE exams, plus youth orchestra commitments, came knocking at her door – so she’s needed lots of mum-support. Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful words…

      I hadn’t heard about Asiatic hornets appearing where you are before… Whenever something so out of place in a local ecology arrives, it’s always so troubling. Especially when it’s a species that threatens vital links in the ecological balance. With climate change and other modern-day factors, it’s happening more and more… As for sunshine – at last, some has arrived here these past few days… I’m now keeping fingers crossed it’ll last for the Bank Holiday weekend! Thanks again for your support, Sonya…

      All the best,
      Melanie

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