The following poem by Maya Angelou came my way today in remembrance and honour of Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died two days ago. She will be so greatly missed.
When Great Trees Fall – Maya Angelou
When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants lumber after safety.
When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly. Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken.
Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away. We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves.
And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us: They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.
We have finished the painting and have put the trellis back in place. Next comes the planting after we have replaced all the soil.
We had tickets tonight for the latest WildWorks show, Meet me at the Edge, to be played out, socially distanced at Botallack. Sadly, it was cancelled on Friday as new Covid rules came into play that the National Trust have to abide by. Instead, the whole wonderful thing was live-streamed and we watched from home. It was so moving and beautifully done. You can watch if you’d like to. I recommend it if you can find an hour.
What a day today turned out to be! A dear friend called in for coffee this morning and then we were invited to a special showing of Bill Mitchell’s attic. Sue had made an attic cake and after each person had seen the film (See below) and Bill’s amazing attic full of remarkable things and inspiration, we were invited to make a cake decoration of something we had seen. This is the cake as we left and I will show you the finished cake later.It was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. You might like to read my tribute to him written last year. https://mybeautfulthings.com/2017/05/03/bill-mitchell-our-friend-next-door-2121951-1442017/
Partly finished cake
After that we ventured into a very cold town for a brief visit to Redruth’s Old Tyme Christmas Market in the newly refurbished Butter Market. Clare Summerson’s Light show, ‘Spirit of Light’ was fabulous, truly beautiful. They were hard to photograph they were moving so only two here.
Our Dear friend and neighbour Bill Mitchell died on this day last year and we have been remembering him today in various special ways. Firstly, here is my Welly Dog, left to me by Bill, seen here with Tulips.
Welly Dog with Tulips
Bill was an artist as well as a theatre director and painted a particular area in West Penwith most weeks. Each of his friends was invited after his death to choose a painting which was a very lovely thing. Today, many of his friends came down to Botallack where the paintings were made and we walked all around in Bill’s footsteps, following his paintings through the landscape, all the while sharing memories of this lovely man.
Here is a gallery of photos from last Monday when Mydd and Josh celebrated their marriage at Godrevy Beach, Cornwall. Click on any photo for detail. It was a day so full of love that it was tangible. The air was alive with love and laughter, smiles and serenity. May their life together be long and happy and full of beauty.
If you live in Cornwall, please go to see this amazing show in Trelawarren – it touches every part of your soul…. Wolf’s Child by WildWorks.
A scene from Wolf’s Child
The following is from today’s Guardian newspaper – the ten best theatre shows to see this summer.
2 Wolf’s Child
Bill Mitchell, the founder of Wildworks, a company specialising in creating theatre in which the natural landscape is an integral part of the experience, died earlier this year. He was a theatre visionary and his legacy lives on in this reworked version of a show first seen at the Norfolk & Norwich festival in 2015. This is theatre that encourages you to stray from the path, even when wolves lurk in the wilderness. Their howls hang in the air in this story that follows a wolf mother and her wards. Trelowarren Estate, Helston, 11-30 July
From the moment we came back to live in Cornwall in 2008 and serendipitously landednext door to Sue and Bill, we were made to feel welcome and loved. We were asked in for a drink even before we had moved in. On moving day, the pantechnicon couldn’t get up our drive, so next door’s fence came down and we moved in from their drive.
Breakfast in Charlotte’s Tea House, Truro
Bill’s big hugs were so lovely and happened sometimes out of the blue such as when we had gone to Plymouth to see Beautiful Journey or London to see Babel and suddenly there behind us was Bill and then came the hugs.
It was some time before we began to realise that both Bill and Sue were something rather special in the art and theatre world! Bill was such a modest individual but over drinks and mince pies at Christmas or over dinner, he would regale us with wonderful stories of his work in the theatre, his designs and his inspirations opening our minds to new worlds.
I loved hearing the gentle whirr of the hand pushed mower as Bill mowed the lawn next door.He was right, it did make for a lovelier lawn.
Bill nurtured everyone’s talents. He knew that I loved to knit for our Grandchildren and one day asked if I could knit something for him. WildWorks were working on a project in Kensington Palace and needed knitted Crown Jewels! Bill asked if I could make the orb. It took some ingenuity and several trials but I managed it and it was there in Kensington Palace! It was held by each person who sat in the knitted throne when they visited the installation.
A child holding the Orb that I knitted for the exhibition
Bill gave me a most precious gift the last time we were in the car with them. Somehow we were talking about names and I told him how I had always disliked my middle name only ever using my initial, H. He asked what it was and though I had told no-one for 50+ years, such was Bill that I did tell him. It’s Hilda (and this will come as news to many, many people!) Bill told me that the name means fighter and warrior and that it suited my nature and that I should be proud of it – so I have regained the name my Granny gave me and I can now wear the beautiful gold and tiny diamond H which I inherited from her. When I was a little girl my Granny told me that she would give the little H on a black ribbon if only I would say I liked my name. I was named after her – but I was a stubborn and rather horrid little girl and I wouldn’t say it. With Bill in mind, I will now own my name with pride and honour my Granny.
H for Hilda
Bill couldn’t eat onions, leeks or garlic so making a meal was sometimes a bit of a challenge. I don’t like lamb but the lovely Mr S does. On one occasion I cooked a herby roast chicken in our house and Sue cooked lamb with garlic in theirs. We took the chicken round and Bill and I enjoyed that while Sue and my Mr S loved the lamb dinner.
Latterly, when Bill was unwell, he fancied puddings more than a roast dinner. He put in a special request for Treacle Tart, Lemon Sponge and Syrup Sponge and told me when we met over the garden fence that the puddings were, ‘Nectar; pure ambrosia.”
It was Bill who introduced me to Claire Ingleheart in whose choirs I have been singing ever since and with whose choirs I took part in Heligan 100. It was Bill who introduced us to the magic of community and landscape theatre through his wonderful WildWorks productions and it is Bill we will say goodbye to on Friday 5th May along with the hundreds of others who loved him.
Mecanopsis, a blue Poppy
Sue told me recently that Bill thought blue was the colour of memory, the Underworld, the blue yonder, ‘into the blue…’ so this beautiful blue Poppy, from our garden, is for Bill, with love.
For those who would like to know more about Bill’s professional life, these obituaries and the video tell the story:
So Many Different Lengths Of Time – Poem by Brian Patten
How long does a man live after all? A thousand days or only one? One week or a few centuries? How long does a man spend living or dying and what do we mean when we say gone forever?
Adrift in such preoccupations, we seek clarification. We can go to the philosophers but they will weary of our questions. We can go to the priests and rabbis but they might be busy with administrations.
So, how long does a man live after all? And how much does he live while he lives? We fret and ask so many questions – then when it comes to us the answer is so simple after all.
A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us, for as long as we carry the harvest of his dreams, for as long as we ourselves live, holding memories in common, a man lives.
His lover will carry his man’s scent, his touch: his children will carry the weight of his love. One friend will carry his arguments, another will hum his favourite tunes, another will still share his terrors.
And the days will pass with baffled faces, then the weeks, then the months, then there will be a day when no question is asked, and the knots of grief will loosen in the stomach and the puffed faces will calm. And on that day he will not have ceased but will have ceased to be separated by death.
How long does a man live after all? A man lives so many different lengths of time.
For Bill Mitchell whom we all love.
We heard later in the evening that Bill had died peacefully with his beloved beside him. Go well, dear Bill, go well.
1 Last night I finished off two head-dresses for Kings to go along with the three beards I have knitted – all for the Wildworks event at Eden – The Yule-tide Ark-ive
Kings’ headbands with glitter wool
2 The wispy clouds in a very blue sky have been very beautiful all day.
Cat’s tail clouds
3 The delightful Tibuchina Urvilleana is in flower again and it will continue all winter in my Suffragette garden. No white to go along with it just now except for the touch on the stamens. Where are my white winter Cyclamen?
As the afternoon progressed so did the action and the audience as they followed the story through the fields and became witnesses to the events of the war.A Wildworks production is not one where you sit still and watch as you may have realised already from the previous two posts! The lovely Mr S took most of these photos as I was with the choir and we were unable to follow the action through the battle in the turnip fields, the nursing stations, the burial grounds and the Field of Remembrance. Click on any photo for detail and the caption.
The choir singing and leading the audince to the next scene
Collecting flowers in the meadow, 3000 audience watching
The turnip field before the battle
The Ingleheart 100 in the Field of Remembrance
Picking flowers in the meadow
Soldiers going into battle
Preparing bodies for the grave
The Field of Loss
Ghosts of the soldiers with the Field of Loss behind
As we were singing quietly, the names of the lost were read out – but not just their names and when they died but their jobs, their relationships, their lives – so very poignant
Banners made by local people in the workshops held in the months before production
Beautiful banners made by local women from the Women’s Institute
Another beautiful banner remembering the local men who died
Poppies in the meadow
Mandy, her girls and a friend from the local community who have all been involved
The afternoon at The Lost Gardens evoked the Heligan of the past beautifully with the laundry girls washing the sheets and putting them to dry on the lawn, the gardeners working hard in the kitchen garden and suddenly being told of the outbreak of war and that they would be needed. All the time strains of music could be heard from the local bands and our very own singers from Claire’s three choirs, brought together as the Ingleheart 100 for the day. Click on any photo for detail. Thank you to the lovely Mr S for some of the photos.
Mrs Barnicoat, the Housekeeper, speaking to the laundry girls
Singing in the Sundial garden
The gardeners being read the announcement of the war
The gardeners have just been told about the war
Thinking hard about whether to enlist
In the kitchen garden
Produce in the garden
Jack asking a passerby what his favourite vegetable is. ‘Apples’ replied the little boy
Messages of memory and loss
The 100 band entertains the crowds
Mrs Barnicoat chatting to a member of the audience
David in costume
Don’t the choir scrub up well?
Mingling while waiting to perform
My pal Sue and I, waiting for the call to sing
More of our beautifully turned out choir
Claire off to the stage as the last part of the day is about to begin with our singing
And we are on……
The next post will show the rest of the afternoon and evening as the tragic events of the war unfold.