Gar tuht river, ger te rheged.
Having been listening to the most extraordinary and magical album Imaginaerum by the Finnish band Nightwish, courtesy of my son Jed, I was wondering what this phrase meant and where it came from. Jed kindly investigated and found some debate online; the closest he could get (and by far the loveliest) was that if it is Old Cumbric it means go to the river, you’ll come to a fairyland.
There are places along any river where we passersby are called for some reason to stop and look. For no apparent reason honey flows through our veins, or hearts flutter, or perhaps goose bumps rise. There is nothing overt, nothing obvious, yet we are caught unexpectedly by a glimmer, a promise of something beyond what we see, the feeling that actually all is not just as it appears and that the real truth is hiding just out of sight.
I’ve said before that to me, magic is not complicated or theatrical. It’s the occurrence of the unexpected, the acceptance that just because we can’t rationalise and explain things it doesn’t mean that they’re not real. If we stay open to it, with a little luck magic will reach out and touch us.
A little piece of magic on a rainy day, that’s a rainbow. The upturned smile of colours arcing across the sky, joining darkness and light, steel grey cloud to sun; light refracting, splitting and settling overhead in a translucent promise of something better, unreachable, untouchable, but with the power to elicit a lifting of the heart. But think about rainbows. They aren’t just in the sky. They glimmer from the surface of bubbles, they surprise from oil slicked puddles in the street. They catch you unawares as they slip off the corners of mirrors, and appear in unexpected corners through tricks of light and glass. Explain them with science if you like. I prefer to think that they’re a gateway, a glimpse into the magical and supposedly impossible realms that are beyond our world and our understanding.
The wizards at Magic Oxygen pressed the button this morning and Catching Up With The Past has already appeared on the digital shelves of the Amazon Kindle store as I write. Needless to say, I am very excited! And although the process still seems like magic, there’s a lot of work that goes in beforehand, so thank you Tracey and Simon West for all your hard work, and thank you also Sophie Graves, Anne Maloney, Lucy West and Abby Smith, for giving me such helpful feedback on the original.
As I mentioned in my last post, bullying is a theme in the book, and sadly still affects many people of all ages. If you are being bullied, please do not feel that it’s your fault, or that you have to suffer in silence. Tell someone you trust – you don’t have to be alone.
I hope you enjoy the story!
Magic happened to me last week – ‘When Joe Met Alice’ is officially available for download! That may not seem very magical to a lot of people, but actually the fact that you can press a few buttons and have virtually any book you choose on your device ready to read in a matter of moments is nothing short of miraculous. Magic is seeing the ordinary through different eyes and accepting the wonder of it. So next time we see a beautiful view, or light pouring through the trees, or our loved ones smiling at us, let’s allow ourselves that moment of wonder. Here’s one of mine, in a poem.
Tucked behind the log pile and
Hidden in the hedge,
He had backed into a fallen flowerpot.
That was how I saw him.
His earthen skin,
Well disguised amongst roots and branches,
Stood out against the terracotta.
Crouched so still
With limbs drawn beneath him,
He might have passed for a rock,
Except for his eyes, obsidian, brilliant,
And the slight shiver of his breath.
He knows more than he’s telling,
That toad, old as stone.