My good friend Georgie and I met up last night at Waterstone’s in Piccadilly. We usually like to meet at the café in St. James’ park, but winter brings closure at 4pm so the alternative is to meet in book heaven. I could spend hours there, starting from the top floor and slowly making my way down, each section of course, igniting a resolve to read more, take up drawing, travel to Borneo and speak Mandarin. I want to learn to sew, make a coffee book of photographs along the Seine and brush up on Satre, Judaism and decorate wedding cakes. I do little of this, ponder at the studious types absorbed in words and pictures and order my second cuppa chino (which the Italians say you should never order after breakfast.)
Georgie and I are newish London friends and kindred old souls. Our journeys are similar yet different, but heartache lines the fabric of our coats. Our love for London and South Africa and all the spills we took in between binds us. And we are survivors.
Doing away with the usual gripes, I tell her of my various ‘little jobs’ and still trying to find that happy place that continually seems to evade me. She has found peace in her space. Rather than roll her eyes at my verbalising, she tells me, it’s ok to be doing what I am right now – I’m turning up stones. Some will be good finds and make their way into my pockets, and others will be tossed away. The analogy resonated with me. Turning up stones. Exactly.
It reminded me of a scene from ‘Something’s got to Give’ when Diane Keaton walks the beach and picks up stones, turning them over and those she likes, she puts in a jar, the rest go back to the sea. ‘I like the white ones’ she says.
I like the white one’s too. It’s what we have to do. Turn up the stones in our path, the feel good ones, be it memories, objects of beauty, material and spiritual icons, jobs tried, lovers met, people we love and add them to our lives. Hold onto them, put them in the jar. The dark ones (which some may love too and I am being symbolic here) may be important too – talisman or dark spirit – and they should be tossed to free up more space for the stones that add meaning to our lives.
The point is, the point is, there will be many stones along the way. Trying new things, unfamiliar territory, light and dark wanderings – these are all stones we need to turn and observe. If by chance at some point in our lives, there are too many stones we feel uncomfortable with, they need to go. And we try again – read a different book, try a different recipe, start a new career, move house, end a toxic relationship, join a tribe, fall in love, challenge ourselves. Nothing should stay stagnant and if, like me, the path seems decidedly rocky and precipitous at times, go back to the white ones and take them out of the jar, your pocket to remind you that you have done good, not matter how small the good is, you did good.
As darkness met me outside (oh dear this darkness thing is at times more like a boulder!) I walked down the road, past the Ritz to catch the tube home and thought, this will be a year of much turning up the stones, like the years before, but this year I am fixed on finding the white ones and holding on for dear life. The story that is me is going to have a very decorative mantlepiece of pebbles.
Images hdwallpapers and pintrest