In the blogging world we get to meet all types of people. Some we click with, some we don’t. What a blessing it is when we do form a friendship, even if it is in the waves in the air between us. It does not diminish how much these friendships mean to us.
What a joy it can be when there comes a time we can meet up and actually touch.
I experienced that when I was recently in Switzerland visiting my daughter. Many moons ago a lady, with loads of wit, and I connected here through our blogs.
When she heard I was in Switzerland she drove for four hours to meet me. As I saw her sitting on the steps outside my daughter’s apartment building I knew that this was going to be one of life’s better days.
Her laugh, her joy in life, her stories, they all made me walk around with a feeling of happiness.
I so want to thank her for taking the time to add another memory to my trip to Europe. A memory that always brings a smile to my face.
Of course we had to have a beverage so we could have a toast or two !!!
You could pop over and meet Em yourself on her blog.
This morning Gilly messaged me with the news of Christine’s passing. As I went to her blog to read Stuart’s post I was not surprised to find the tears rolling down my cheeks.
Friendships come to us so unexpectedly at times. We might be sitting in a Chinese restaurant when it walks in, in the shape of another 17 year old. It can happen at a writers’ group when a smile across a cup of coffee cements it then and there for life. My friendship with Christine happened over the internet. One day I opened up my comments and there she was.
2011…the year I started blogging. As I progressed further, so did Christine. Time and time again she took me home. When I would visit her blog there would always be some sense in me that was awakened. Her photos let me smell the grasses that lined the dunes of the beaches she walked. I could taste the salt spray that the sea breezes left on my lips as she caught a sea bird riding the air currents over blue waves. I could feel the softness of the petals as Christine brought me closer to the flowers in her garden or on her many walks around the land I still call home.
Her visits and comments so often brought a smile. Some were cause for reflection.
I have read…though not yet commented on some wonderful tributes that have been written for Christine. It is not that I don’t want to…I just can’t yet for some reason.
I know that today…when I speak to some friends here of my sadness, my sense of loss…they will not understand.
We do not always need the physical presence of someone to feel the pull of friendship, the camaraderie of interests or of having shared roots of heritage.
For them blogging is an artificial world.
For me it is the world coming to me. It is what allows me the great joy of finding people to enlighten me, to make me laugh, to make me cry…to connect with on so many different levels.
Christine did all that and more in the three years I have known her. I will miss her wonderful photography. I will miss her joy in her life. I will miss her wise words. I will miss Christine.
I am grateful for the chance to have had her in my life…fleetingly, from afar, but most definitely a presence. I wish I had had the chance to meet her in person…but I met her spirit. How lucky am I.
Perhaps it is fitting that when I checked my comments this morning…the very last comment on the blog is from Christine.
Farewell Christine. You will be missed.
Invocation – Rod McKuen
It may happen
that in some hidden
you’ll rise up
and come to me
in solitude or silence.
We will meet
as we have met
on a train or at the end
of some new train of thought.
I feel that I have been neglectful lately…life has gotten rather busy. But I did promise a post about the adventures of Marianne, her hubby and Moi
…so here goes.
On Sunday they arrived around lunchtime and we picked up right where we left off. What a wonderful couple they are. Watching them [after so many years of marriage] is like walking in to Aladdin’s Cave in the dark of night. Truly illuminating. This is how I have always imagined real love would look.
We spent the day at the A&P Show.
Al Paca baby.
Introducing old friends to new friends.
A friend’s daughter competing in the dressage.
Marianne making friends.
Photographing a horse trailer that cost more than my house.
Marianne making another friend.
There is never an excuse for NOT dressing up !
Marianne’s hubby was fascinated with this engine.
This little girl was kicking butt out there !
I want a pair !
Bagpipes and sailors ‘costumes…what more could you ask ?
Checking out Katikati‘s murals and the Haiku Path.
Stair to The Balcony Cafe.
A romantic shot on the Haiku Path
Introducing Barry to the visitors.
Hanging out with Barry
The Second Pioneer Store 1
Dinner was snapper [caught with my own two hands] for the main and Berry Ice Cream [homemade], with a lovely bottle of local wine to finish off the day.
Chevvy, Jackie, Charlie and Crash did their best to make our visitors feel welcome. I have a sneaking suspicion they wormed their little furry and feathered selves in to a heart or two by the time they left.
After our Friday outing…I had no qualms about how easy it would be to have them stay, but I did have one amusing reaction to announcing their forthcoming visit. It proceeded along these lines.
Friend, who suddenly had eyebrows that resembled Pricilla Presley’s: “You’ve never met? And they’re staying at your house!”
Friend: “Bloody hell. Have you got a lock on your bedroom door?”
At this point I resembled Chevvy rolling around on the ground…only laughing.
But seriously…that conversation showed me something. Something important. I still look for the good in things, not the bad. I still have hope that life is a treasure chest of bounty and I have many gifts yet to receive. One of those gifts came last week…the gift of new friendships.
I have found in the time I have been blogging that the community that exists is special in so many areas. It’s informative, fun, passionate, BUT the most important quality I have found in it is that is is supportive.
At times I have been asked:
Isn’t it time consuming ?
How can you ever know these people ?
Aren’t you afraid you’ll meet a lot of kooks ?
And too many other questions to name. Non bloggers don’t get it. That’s okay. Because I do !! Many of you do too. In the last few months I have been shown so much support when I needed it. Some of that support has come about through your comments, or through your wonderfully insightful posts…and some from blogging awards. I think they are wonderful things. Admittedly I don’t follow the rules…being a PIRATE and all. But the feeling I get when someone takes the time to nominate my little blog is immense.
So while I may take time to answer some of them…please never feel that you don’t make my heart swell when you hand them out to me. The feeling I get is something like this…
So though long overdue…I should like to acknowledge the following awards you have given me, and I should like to thank the bloggers who thought of me.
Please click on each award to be taken to the page of the wonderful blogger who took the time to acknowledge “Chronicles”
For this award I will fulfill this condition. Finish this sentence. A GREAT reader is…who loves the words enough to get lost in them.
The following three awards all came from a wonderful blogger. Boy do I feel special !!!
I was asked to join the Ligo Circle of Appreciation. What a great honour.
From another terrific blogger came these three awards…
And last but certainly not least is the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’. Four bloggers have nominated Chronicles for this. WOW is all I can say. Thank you so much:
So what is a girl to say to all that ?? Thank you hardly seems adequate…but I do thank all these wonderful bloggers for these awards.
Now there are just so many wonderful blogs out there. I don’t pass awards on. Not usually. But just this once I want to list some of the blogs that I feel deserve not one, but ALL these awards.
It is up to you what you do with one or all of them. Thank you all for being part of my world. It is a better place because you are there with me in whatever way you choose to. For all of you I am extremely grateful.
Totally unrelated post here. Check out Michael Andrew’s blog. He is running a photography competition and has put up the final nominees for the SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY CATEGORY – OMG is all I can say…just amazing. I wish I could take images like these. All you photographers will love this – just love it.
The title in truth has absolutely nothing to do with this post. But after having spent ten minutes trying to think one up…well, that’s what I think of titles.
Today at some point little old Chronicles of Illusions will pass the 300,000 hit mark. That’s me being very presumptuous and going on the usual number of daily visits. It actually blows my mind that I have reached that figure in the 612 days since I started blogging.
This is my 640th post. I have shared photos with you, poetry, stories, personal details, and my dreams as well. I had no idea just how far Chronicles would take me when I pressed that publish button for the first time.
I started Chronicles as part of my plan for world domination. No – I’m not joking. While 300,000 is pretty good I am going to have to up my game if I intend to succeed. Damn it there’s billions of you out there.
But what I have found in reality is worth more than world domination. I found you. You who have shared parts of yourselves with me. You have educated me, made me laugh, sometimes made me cry. We’ve discussed books and films, countries, people [good and bad], recipes, family stories and most importantly little pieces of yourselves.
Recently we’ve been discussing how the anonymity of the internet isn’t always a good thing. And sadly it isn’t. But the thing that I love about the technological changes that have occurred on the net is its reach. Before, I lived in a world that centres on a very small part of this universe. Most of you would never have come within my grasp. And I would have been poorer for it.
Someone once said to me that the internet was a poor substitute for friendship. I disagree. It is just a different type of friendship. Like the pen friends I had as a kid. Yesterday I was talking to a friend about this and they asked me: “What do you get from it though?”
“Other than a lot of free beds when I travel.” I queried.
“But they might be all…weirdos,” they replied.
“Actually I am quite sure some of them are,” I said. “But so I am I so we fit perfectly.”
“But you don’t really know them.”
“Not yet maybe…but I’m learning to.”
So…to all of you I should like to say:
Thank you !!!
For taking the time to visit, to share, to get to know me, to let me get to know you.
And here’s to the next 300,000 visits.
In closing I’d like to share a favourite poem of mine. It says very eloquently how I feel about all of you. My long distance friends.
Growing up in Wollongong and Sydney I was always within tasting distance of the ocean’s perfume. I have always felt its pull. As I walk within her, friendship is offered as a salty caress. Yet I know how quickly her temper can change…she reminds me of me.
I am lucky that the ocean is still not far away. A while ago I spent the day at Waihi Beach, walking the Demented Fox Terrier and taking images such as the header on this post. Summer was leaving us and it was one last day to enjoy her warmth as she made ready for her trip North.
Some of you might remember that I spoke of a friend who has recently taken up her paintbrush again. I promised I would show you what she did when she took this photo of mine…
and she turned it in to this painting…
It was brought to my house yesterday for me to look at while I am stuck at home with the flu. The idea being that if I think it isn’t finished she’ll do changes. Huh !!!!
I LOVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thus…NO changes.
I think I am luckier than most in the wonderful people that have chosen to be a part of my life…to offer me their friendship as she has done.
Friendship…isn’t that when someone makes you feel that you stand out against the rest of the world…especially when you stand out together.
These two amazing women are still as close today as they were when they flatted together in the 80’s. Some bonds…while stretched, or maybe a little warped…will never be broken.
A friend’s mother died last week. It brought back memories of the day my father died and the feelings that engulfed me then.
Losing anyone is – painful seems such an inadequate word – I became numb, for weeks.
Throughout this time the only subject I was interested in was Dad. I constantly wanted to talk about him, what type of man he was, the things he did, the things he didn’t do, the way he had impacted my life.
Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad.
It was strange, I wasn’t sure at first, but as the days went on I was certain of it. After the obligatory condolences, many people avoided mention of him. Subtle techniques were used, changing the subject, having to leave the room, using the children for a focus point, but it was definite.
The more I instigated conversations with Dad in them, the more artful most people became in shutting these conversations down. Yet it was during these conversations that some of the numbness would dissipate.
It was only with a few friends that I was allowed the freedom to talk of Dad, and talk constantly, without any constraints. I couldn’t stop. With each word he was fixed a little better in my mind, and the pictures of him got clearer.
Little moments that had not been spoken of in years came out. Arguments we’d had were debated, experiences we’d shared were displayed and discussed. And I cried until I didn’t think I could anymore, and then I cried some more.
The more I talked about Dad, the more emotion came out: anger, loss, regret, fear. Some emotions I still don’t have names for. These friends never knew what they were going to see when they walked into my house. Or what they would hear, but they came, and they listened.
They weren’t uncomfortable with my grief. They let me run through every emotion, laughing and crying at times with me as I slowly pushed the numbness away and let the pain that is grief do what it must.
I learnt not just about loss and grief during that time. During my lifetime friends have given me so many things. In those days following Dad’s death they gave me another gift. They taught me that no emotion need be feared. They each have a purpose, especially when you experience loss, and you are overwhelmed by so many emotions all at once.
Talking about Dad was for me the way through those emotions. It was also a way to hold on to the father daughter bond I was terrified I’d lost. When I was told Dad had died, my first thought was that now I was no longer anyone’s child.
The older generation was me. I was next in line to go. Is that why losing a parent, especially your last parent is such loss? Even when you know they had a long life. When you know that they were sick, in pain, ready to go. When I work out the answer to that question I’ll let you know.
In the coming weeks I will try to do for my friend, what my friends did for me. I will let her talk about her Mum as much as she wants. I will try not to be uncomfortable with her emotions, so that she feels free to work through them. I will listen as she remembers her Mum.
And when I go home, I will look through the old photo album I pulled out yesterday and remember the quiet stoic man I called Dad.