this too
Monday, February 28, 2005
  Which picture?

In the butterfly house ( yesterday, my friend hissed ‘take a photo of that!’, pointing out the iridescent blue beauty which had charmingly settled on the notice describing ‘the life cycle of the butterfly’ – a living illustration. So I did. But, with my cheap digital camera and lacking depth of field, the impact is rather lost; the ‘real’ butterfly looks like it was just part of the picture. It is now, anyway.

Hmm. Fragmenting, fusing, re-fragmenting levels of reality. Fragmented is how I feel today anyway, and I’ve just seen a fabulous picture of how it feels – thank you Natalie (h
ttp:// - 27.2.05) .

Overtired, overloaded, scattered. Just back from the first conference of the UK CoHousing Network ( The movement is nascent here, with only two communities built and occupied, and substantial barriers in the British planning, legal and financial systems. Planning groups all around the country. Considerable enthusiasm. Considerable knowledge to pool. Almost overwhelming difficulties. Do I really want to devote a substantial part of my time to this for the next few years, with no guarantee of a result? Not really. But I do want to live with more sense of community, mutual support and sharing of resources. A stunning proportion of British women over 55 live alone – I read that on present trends it will soon pass 40% . Where is this going? How can we not challenge it?

Fragmented, too, because the conference was in Lancaster – a lovely town in the North West where I spent many happy holidays with a friend more than 25 years ago when we were students. I hadn’t been back since, and wondered around feeling caught somewhere between this place now and that place then. Leslee has been musing on the lovely Spanish word desubicado(a), which captures it perfectly – displaced, misplaced, in every sense one might mean it… ( Very vague memories, sparked by the shadow of a building, the line of a crossroads, the colour of the local stone, the light. Strange trying to pull out memories of a place I used to visit without any of the frames of reference I now apply: architectural styles, traffic management, local politics, social and employment issues, would I like to live here?… 25 years ago I lived less widely, less subtly, but perhaps more firmly in the moment: what’s the weather? What shall we do now? is my friend in a good mood?

Layers of memory and perception. Which picture is the butterfly in? I don’t know. But it was certainly in that moment - and watching it, filling our senses with its trembling sparkle, freed from the weekend’s information overload, so were we.
in glorious hue
i drew
the butterfly,
with whom
i flew.
so in love
i grew,
a clue,
you appeared,
my heart's tattoo.
the freedom
that i wish
for you,
is the only
that i'll
hold you to.
it's doing all
the things,
that make
you You,
and nothing
that feels
in view.
and if us two,
can make it
we'd seem
to be
a lucky few,
who know
and to our
known selves
remain true
when we say
to a vision
long overdue,
"i always knew,
in my heart,
i'd love you..."

thanks for the inspiration...
Oh, hello. *Lovely* blog - I've just put you on my Blogger list so can keep up to date. The photo of the butterfly works very well.
Fabulous picture, Jean - astonishing that the real butterfly chose to settle just there and then.

And an interesting post - I'll look up the link.
And Jean, thanks very much for mentioning me in your post. I'm thrilled to be here and will add you to my links now.
Thanks for the Cohousing conference report. Can you blog some more about it when you get a chance -- what was most exciting, what did you learn the most, who did you meet? We'd love to run something about it (with your permission) in Cohousing Magazine, as we're not entirely parochial on this side of the puddle.

Hi Raines
I'm thrilled that someone involved with CoHousing Magazine read my blog! Many of us are subscribers or regular readers of the magazine and of course we would be thrilled if you covered the UK conference. I'll pass on this interest to the conference organisers and the person who is writing up the conference report. And I'll blog more about it too, when I've recovered a bit! If you feel comfortable doing so, please leave me an email contact. I'm afraid I haven't got an email link on the blog yet - it's very new.
OK, you can email me at my first name followed by a short run (the opposite of a dot in morse code, often associated with the phrase "50-yard") then the short name of the organization (Coho/US) except without the slash, at my first name dot com. There, if the spam-harvesters can figure that one out, then the terrorists have already won.

re housing: over 55 and alone since husband left 18 years ago. would not have it any other way. not a slave to the whims of another, any more.

to 'anonymous' - that was lovely.
Good blog. Keep it running!
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Freelance copy-editor and translator. Keen on language, literature, photography, art, music, buddhist meditation and the countryside.

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