Category Archives: Fresh Mercies Daily

Creating Encounter in Colour: Red and Black

I was not going to write a post this week. Honouring the dead with silence seemed more in keeping with the centenary of the end of WW1. Having recently completed a novel about that conflict, the horrors of it are all too fresh in my heart and mind. But, I felt moved to write this. Lest we forget.

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I stand on the battlefield, careworn and weary with my own soldiering, sheltering my palmful of treasure. I cannot know the horrors that drench this earth, but I will still stand here with you, shifting the weight of my ignorance from foot to foot, my hand curling around the black dots, waiting for the right moment to release them.

I will keep silence for just this little while, when you have kept it a hundred years. And when I am soaked in the greyness of the clouded sky, and the countless white crosses have floored my heart, I will close my eyes and feel the solidity of the sadness in this land. It rises up through my soles, it tugs childlike at my humanity, it wrenches my gut, it bayonets my heart.

And when that song of your untimely end has pained its way along my living sinews, and shuddered my synapses, and made me remember you, only then will I say, “Lord have mercy,” and throw my poppy seeds into the harsh November wind, that they might be carried like you by chilly winds of chance, and thrown into the mangled mud of no-man’s land, the possibility of red resurrection always there, bright flowers on unmarked graves and trampled terror.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

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Creating Encounter in Colour: Black Forest Gateau (Schwarzwaldtorte)

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We walk through Grimm’s forest tales, peering into witch’s ovens and shaking our heads at young princes on brave steeds as they charge headlong into thorny frontiers, wonder at young maidens sleeping in glass coffins and follow, eventually, the long trail of breadcrumbs that leads us out into the open air. We breathe long and deep, pondering whether or not we have just entered or left reality.

Broken bread leads us, as it always does, to some kind of Kirche, and since we are recently passed through gloomy Austrian pines, to kirsch, oozing into chocolate cake, all of it softening into a dark deliciousness, a velvet plateful of baked flour and alcohol, akin to the mystery of communion.

Is this richness too, a picture of life in all its fullness, and the bleeding of fermented cherries a reminder of how many horrific stories there are, written to prepare children for the dangers that lurk behind close-camped evergreens, or to remind adults that we too, need to be wary of gung-ho princes and apple sellers? And as I think on the syrupy deep morello red drizzle soaking into cocoa, mixing sour and sweet, am I a warning to myself on the perils of an overactive imagination?

This sermon in the Kirsche Kirche Küche has left us glowing with Glühwein, drunkenly drenched by Spirit, flammable for God. A powerful combination of taste sensations, warmed here out of the cold depressing zeitgeist, and aware of another kingdom, where burgundy deep plum aubergine liqueur and plain brown sponge sing to us of flesh and blood, and the possibility that heaven might be sumptuous glory, a melt-in-the-mouth savouring and a colour to get lost in, sustenance so rich we can only be treated once in a while, as we also embrace the poverty of daily bread.  These two, as far and near from one another as fairy stories and liturgy, everything made holy by our cosmic Christ.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Gold

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I keep on digging, paddling my way into the wet demerara, this sea-soaked sand, hurriedly flinging it away with my flippers. Must dig, must dig, must lay eggs, must lay eggs. This is the only time I feel like a human, with their never ending desperation to get things done so that the next task on the list can hove into view, each one humming away, bee-like on a never-ending Caucus route, crossing things off in hopes of one day finding the finish line, unaware it is immovable and inevitably the casting off of this life.

It is a rare thing that is truly time-constrained. Birthing is one of them. And so I work hard to bury myself in this deep golden grain, the soft and yet abrasive descendants of Abraham remaining defiantly countless, but so many fewer than they ought, by rights, to be. I am sure God, who no longer counts sins, counts these little ones and knows each mustard seed by name.

Having hollowed this hallowed place, I would like to lie down here and die, I am beyond every resource. There is nothing left, but the work only half done. A few shallow groanings, and I divest myself of what has been waiting, all this time, to become treasure. Gelatinous albumen the casket, calcium crust the mantling lock, and inside the gold that will feed each tiny cold-blooded life.

Exhaustion is burning every cell now, and still the work must be completed, the children buried, the brown caramel topping covered and smoothed down. There must be no x marking the spot, that enemies can find them, and no way for this mother to return to the nursery. Here I must leave my heart, and these small beginnings, and hope with everything that is good and holy to encounter familiar seeming tiny turtles when I am traversing the ocean, seeing and recognising the glint in my own eyes before me. Somehow, I lift myself, and turn.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Seaweed

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So many greens. The brownish tones of bladderwrack, whose name made me wince in imagined pain, little poppable polyps that we loved before bubblewrap was even thought of. The generic dark forest slime slathered across the rocks, coastal combovers, a slip hazard for flip flopped children, so we took ours off and risked gashes and jagged edges rather than not being able to feel our way with our soles. Sand caught on our feet gave us a tiny bit of traction, but we still slid off and flung our arms out to balance ourselves, rockpool tidal tightrope walkers.

Tiny crabs hid under fronds and someone, probably Monsieur Cousteau, had taught me that these were not leaves. Here were hidey holes for entirely new forms of life, creeping, like us, around the edges of ocean, wondering what was what. Even then, I knew my plastic bucket jarred against all nature’s magnificence, with its hard manufactured texture and artificial colour. The bullhead I caught in it, alien eyes bulging, was given a few strands of spinach green to hide itself in, until it was time to release it back into the sea. The capture of such treasure all on my own, in my smallness, fed my happiness all summer long, and taught me the beginnings of diving for pearls in mystic prayer, the joy of glimpsing life in salt water pools, and the realisation that all life is magical.

text © K Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Yellow

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Clutched tight, all that treasure, in the bud, now blooming as you open up and let go, and realise that all that gift is for giving, and none of it is worth a damn holed up, sepalled shut and lightless. The worth is in the shining, the reflection, the golden glow of a countenance brightly lit, prayer dripping from you as honeyed light

At first it seems that you will never be done with opening. Row upon row of eager sharkish teeth, pointing up delicate satin flintish arrows to indicate the way. Circles falling over one another to begin. Green transformed by the sun’s sacred alchemy into gold as it passes from the centre ever nearer the precipice of edge, fearlessly dancing further and further out.  Living with such abandon, the brightness of your seamless mandala changes us too, as we gaze on glory ever changing to glory.

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photograph by Kate Kennington Steer  © used with permission.

Creating Encounter in Colour: Black Orchid

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You are exotic, other-worldly, full of the grace needed to live moment by moment in a world that constantly threatens you with extinction. The wrong temperature, the wrong humidity, the wrong placement, and you will die, too alien for anything but the perfect biosphere.

Like Julian, mothering words of revelation in her cell, you are darkly deep and thoughtful, passionate about the divine that shines from you even as you absorb everything. All the colours, all the light, is held and unified into untold power and wisdom. Flower that is painted as night, all black satin sheen and the patina of starlight.

No wonder men will fall on their knees to try and dig out a piece of you, your roots delving further and further into the other realms in which you truly live, and which we, in our harried hurrying, cannot reach.

text © K Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Fireball

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I hold in my hand a ball of flame so hot and fiery, so vast and powerful, that it is rightly to be marvelled at. It is all your troubles, my beloved, called into flame. For just as a candle melts away as it burns, matter will always be transformed into different energy.

In the same way, all your sorrows and tears will become light for the world. Inside the white-hot sphere, at the centre of this new sun, swirls the rainbow that makes up the spectrum of your sufferings, and the hues hewn from hurt become a dance of joy, colliding colours in a kaleidoscope of changing shapes and patterns the universe has always known.

You read the desert father’s advice, “Why not become flame?” and you heeded it. Rest your weariness here in the palm of my hand, and grow with my powerful love even as you are rightly consumed.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Composite art by R R Wyatt  © used with permission.

Creating Encounter in Colour: Ocean

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Just as the ocean cries out in glorious Technicolour that she is not only blue, not only green, so I shout out to the world that cannot see who I am.  All of us are so much more! Can you not see the myriad of hues that curl under each rolling tide, that sing through the cells of one leaf, that rustle and hum in every emotion passing across my face?

Light and shadow wash over all things, creating tints with no name, and driving the machinations of artists’ colourmen, sweating over the alchemy that will never, no matter how hard they work, obtain true dawn-beach-gold. For who can mix a palette for every green in nature, or even on one tree? And who can capture the nuances of light and dark playing joyfully, dancing as dolphins, on the crest of one wave?

Holding the briefest of moments in our consciousness, were we to live forever, we would never exhaust the meditations dancing in the light.

Text and artwork © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Creating Encounter in Colour: Mud Bath

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God calls me into the loam pit, and I wonder at its name. Here is a place that sounds like home and is full of nutrients to drink up through my roots, to softly connect into with my mycelia. I sink and softly twist into the mud, as though I were truly the tree that I am being called to be, or perhaps a holy hippo, ready to roll and languish in the squelching goodness.

Brown the cool earth, the colour of everything mixed together, all skin colours and barked armour broken down into a melted pot of delicious oneness, so that none can claim difference to lord it over others, nor does anyone feel they do not belong.  Here we partake of the crib and the cross, the stillness of forests, the ages of oak and olive, the rotted matter of long gone leaves, we revel in the richness of all that has fallen apart, and prepare for resurrection.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Dark Purple

 

Inner PeaceThe intricate patterns of the world cushion you, and fall away from you like fields under a rising hawk, as you close your eyes and head for another plane. The door is shut, and the ornate and frivolous are lost to you. Instead now the simplicity of semi-darkness will reveal its shapes and colours, as you sense the heaviness of draped eyelids and the feel the curve of world-weariness settling around the base of your inner eye.

Here is a dark purple iris place, now that your light is filtered by flesh and blood. Veins feed your imagination in a guided meditation and you are able to flush away the stress of life’s burdens into glands and ducts. To replace them comes a flow of peace, in soft magenta.

If you stay here long enough, cross-legged and calm, every breath aching with gratitude, you may beat away the butterfly distractions with gentle returns to centre, and start to grow roots into the good and quiet earth, humming softly with life. You may become so captivated by the velvet darkness that you will be ever more attracted to gravity, and yet lighter than the elements.

What soft light breaks into your stillness of mind and the awareness of every cell? And can you now, in the ruby pink melon-fleshed atmosphere, smile without using your lips, and sing of the unity you sense above, below and all around, without making a sound?

Above you, outside of you, a new focus forms, and rings clarity like a soft silver bell, echoing out.

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Composite art by R R Wyatt  © used with permission.