The Light of the Sun

The light of the sun

Item from UK Guardian :’ Pictures of a visibly injured Mariana Vishegirskaya leaving the maternity hospital were targeted by a vile Russia disinformation campaign accusing her of faking the injuries. In happier photos taken on Frid ay, Vishegirskaya holds her new baby daughter Veronika.’

There was once a beautiful Tik -Tok person – I don’t understand Tik Tok but that apparently was what she was – blonde, de rigueur hair extensions, mile long false eyelashes, peachy pouting mouth, and offering us cosmetics to help us look like her.

This rather sweet looking young woman became pregnant, and was awaiting the birth of her child in a Ukrainian hospital bombed by  Russians, who claimed, first,  it was empty,  and secondly that it was occupied by terrorists. The Russian propaganda machine also informed a sceptical world that the anguished blonde, one-time glamorous Tik-Tok person was faking her injuries.

She was wearing a black and white spotted pair of pyjamas or similar maternity wear. A few days after the contrasting pictures of the glamorous girl, and the shattered pregnant walking wounded woman, another picture emerged into the coverage of the atrocities taking place in Ukraine. This time she was lying cradling her baby girl Veronikia, her face still covered in small flecks of blood, and still wearing the same spotted clothes as before, grubby and crumpled. The look on her face, not that of joy and pride which most of us experience when we’ve just given birth, was instead, of utter despair.

No spotless white pillows, fresh clean clothes, lovely cup of tea, joyful family, just the grunge of unwashed clothes worn before, during and after labour, still stained with the dust from the rubble of bombing, and lumpy makeshift bedding seen in the dim light of a bombed-out maternity unit hidden away from more bombs in a cellar.

That picture and the one of dozens of dogs of every kind among five hundred, waiting in an animal shelter, where their fleeing owners had left them for safety along with their cats, which was now running short of food, because  the girls delivering it had been shot and killed by Russians, reduced me to tears, like many another, I’m sure.

My life has been book ended by war, I know what it is like to lie in bed at night paralysed with fear, as bombs fall, and this war had crept up on me unawares, as it probably did for many others. Peace is contagious, and it seemed unthinkable that war could erupt again in our lifetimes, though the warning signs have been there for years. But we didn’t want to see them.

It is easy to not see things we don’t want to acknowledge, but as I sadly contemplate the place the world is in now, I tried to see more… more of the good things that go on happening even as the bad things seem to overwhelm us.

I look at my community, where a neighbour goes to clear the drive of a frail old couple, of the fallen trees after a storm, and who builds quail protectors for their vegetable garden.

Another spends days trimming and pruning the overhanging trees and shrubs along our two mile long shared  private road, and another who looks after the animals of a distant neighbour who’s gone off with his children to find somewhere else to live.

There’s a couple who live some miles away, who come regularly to make sure the home of the owners who are overseas seeing grandparents, is unscathed by the storms we’ve been having, and another devoted couple, who lend their home to those who need shelter, visit those they think are lonely, and chauffeur a neighbour to and fro from hospital morning and evening for weeks while she stays with her sick husband, among many other silent deeds of devotion.

When I start to see these sorts of things the world seems less grim..

 I remember the US electrician who went to fix a light in an old lady’s house, and seeing that the whole house was in desperate need of maintenance rustled up a team of volunteers via Facebook who called themselves Gloria’s Gladiators. They not only repaired the house, but transformed the old lady’s life by giving her ongoing friendship and support. Other groups grew from this single act of  random kindness.

I remember the Muslim immigrant garage owner in the US who gave a doctor rushing to an emergency at the  hospital, petrol for free, and then replaced his punctured tyres… saying the Koran tells them to be kind to their fellows.

I remember the kindness of strangers to myself – the nurse in hospital who realised I only liked one kind of biscuit, and used to hide them for me, another who used to give me stocks of various dressings and equipment which she hid in my locker, so I wouldn’t run out when there was a shortage… the visitor to a patient in the bed across from me, who covered me up with a blanket when she saw me asleep without one – these are tiny acts of goodness and kindness which transform trying situations into happy memories.

The concept of random acts of kindness merely put into words what so many do simply because they are good people… like the mayor of Auckland who went to Russia with his wife some years ago,  to adopt a Russian orphan, and when they got there, the little girl asked if they would take her two brothers too. To their undying credit, the mayor and his wife brought all three orphans home to New Zealand, where they’re growing up to be happy, responsible citizens .

I also discovered that after committee meetings late at night, this lovely man would drive to three places around the city where there were colonies of stray hungry cats, and feed them every night.

We can all bring sweetness and goodness into our world, even small things like a smile to a passerby, feeding the birds, care for thirsty trees and drooping plants,  a bowl of water by the gate for thirsty dogs and other creatures, acknowledgement of the careful pattern on top of our freshly made coffee to the barista, these tiny things can mean a quality of life, actions which can bring softness into the harsh times in which we find ourselves. Small happinesses which we can give to others, usually make us happy too. And the light of gratitude we feel when we recognise the beauty and bountifulness of nature and the world  – these are the  things that can uplift us –  remind us of the miracle of life which can overcome fear, depression or anxiety.

If Vladimir Zelensky can extol Life in the middle of death and darkness, as he did yesterday, we too can grasp that courage and glory of the human spirit, and be inspired to live our lives with hope and optimism.

It was dear old Samwise in Lord of The Rings who said,
“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.  Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer”. 
Let us hope so. Even the shattered ruins of Leningrad have been transformed into the golden glory of St Petersburg with the passing of time. Let us hope that the devastation we see now will be healed in a real peace between nations whose people do not want to fight – that this Will pass and a new day Will come. And the light of the sun will shine on us all.

Food for Threadbare Gourmets

Who needs KFC when you can have chicken and chips in the comfort of home?
So easy too. Marinade boneless chicken thighs in lemon juice, garlic and olive oil for a few hours.
Meanwhile, cut the potatoes in thin slices – I don’t bother to peel them – just scrub and clean.
Tip them into a saucepan of cold vegetable oil.
They’ll take about half an hour, and towards the end just lightly stir them to keep them separate.Twenty minutes before the chips are cooked,  douse the chicken in flour with plenty of powdered ginger, salt and pepper, and quickly fry them on both sides till golden. It doesn’t take long, and over cooking toughens them. Serve straight away, with salad or vegetables.

23 Comments

Filed under animals/pets, cookery/recipes, life and death, peace, uncategorised, Uncategorized

23 responses to “The Light of the Sun

  1. Dear Valerie,
    thanks a lot for your positive post. We absolutely agree with you, in dark times we need positive examples.
    Wishing you an easy week to come
    The Fab Four of Cley
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good to see a new post from you Valerie. In these somber times we need voices like yours. Stay safe. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lovely to hear from you Jadi, I hope all is well with you, Yes, sad and strange times, but as good old Gandalf said ,’All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
      So we keep soldiering on !!
      Go well, love Valerie

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Angela Ogden

    Valerie!!! What a joy to see your post come up….I could hardly believe my eyes….have really missed your thoughts & words over these last strange, worrying times. Thank you for a welcome ray of light in what seems never ending darkness
    Love from Angela

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Warm greetings Angela, always so good to hear from you … I hope all is well with you….
    Yes, what strange sad times, and no matter where we are in our beautiful world, we are all affected by far-away happenings… as I said to Jadi, all we can do is keep on soldiering on, and remember that ‘everything passes’ – as my ten year old grandson once said to me!,
    With love to you, Valerie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark Hubbard

    Lord of the Rings quotations! … Got to bookmark this one for reading tonight. … Good to see you’re back into the blogging (or perhaps I just disappeared πŸ™‚ )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Always good to know you’re there, Mark – thank you for checking in !
      Yes, I’ve been thinking of plunging back into the whole bookworm’s feast of LOTR recently too…
      Blogging is a sometime thing these days… I just can’t keep up with all the ‘housekeeping’ of tending to other blogger’s blogs and commenting

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Hubbard

        Somehow I totally lost contact to that arts blog I was doing: couldn’t even find my way back to it πŸ™‚ … It’s all the Google passwords or something: I can’t get into my old blog anymore, and if I ever change this old computer I won’t be able to get into a whole welter of sites from Twitter to FB. I’ve tried resetting my passwords on other devices, but I can never access my existing social media or blog accounts. It’s just hopeless. I wanted to put something up before Xmas, so I had to create a whole new blog. One off so I don’t need to get back into it. I do not know why all this stuff has become so hard.

        Like

      • Oh Mark, I know how you feel. I took me three quarters of an hour to write this blog, and three and a half hours to actually post it… at one stage, there was only the headlines showing on the blog, and I had to go through the whole process of finding the story again, Then I discovered the pic had disappeared, among many other variations on the frustrations and bloody-mindedness of computers and/or Word Press.
        How do I get into your new blog.. I missed you other one when you stopped posting…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Valerie, I jumped for joy when I saw your post come up in my reader. You live in a beautiful place surrounded by the lush trees and flowers where one can find respite. Nature is a reminder that we can share goodness and compassion, and engage within a community that cares. I love the quote from LOTR. Thank you for sending out positive energy into a world that is weary and sad. Your words shed light in dark places. Many hugs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Rebecca, so good, as ever, to see your smiling face, and read your thoughtful message.
    Hope all is well with you, and thank you for your lovely words – I always love to know you’re there.
    What strange times too in your part of the world – have you been affected?
    We are all so connected these days, as the world has shrunk to become a global village…Go well good friend, love Valerie

    Like

  8. Mark Hubbard

    For some reason Valerie I can’t reply to your last reply to me above: I think it’s the way the comments work in here.

    Anyway, I’ll post the blog I mentioned, a little dated now as before Christmas, and it’s probably against my better judgement as might ‘annoy’ you given topic, and Pauline and I often don’t seem to ‘quite’ fit in but we’ve chosen to put ourselves right outside society this time πŸ™‚ I should have headed it down the rabbit hole.

    https://lifebehindtheirondrapeii.blogspot.com/2021/12/why-pauline-and-i-have-chosen-not-to.html

    Like

  9. Dear Valerie,

    In the midst of the horrors that bombard us at every news broadcast, it’s good to read something positive. Your little community in the valley sounds delightful. I love the photo. Not a lot of exposition from me this morning, other than a hearty thank you for the lovely reminder that there’s still good in the world.
    My love to you and himself.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • So good to see you face and read your words again Rochelle. Thank you for your lovely support… hope all is well in your little world, and you are all good,
      He sends his love ( very busy – one incredible creative project after another !)
      Love, Valerie

      Like

  10. Jane Sturgeon

    Lovely to see your loving post in our Global Village, Valerie. It is heartwarming to read about the acts of kindness in your forest and goodness knows, we are all in sore need of that reminder. Much love to you both, always. ❀ xXx

    Like

    • Jane, so good to see your smiling face – thank you for your loving words…yes, we are so connected in our global village, and one of the good things about blogging is that we connect with like minds,
      With love to you, Valerie XXX…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sometimes it is so hard to “see’ to know that this too will pass. Your post is wonderful and so ‘right there for all of us to remember.
    I printed off your recipe and plan on having it tomorrow for lunch.

    Like

    • Thank you dear friend for your comment, and I know what you mean about struggling with the ‘This too will pass’ but in the end it ‘s a lifeline for me…
      Hope you enjoyed the chicken and chis !!!
      Much love, and letter on its way, Valerie XXX

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s good to see you Valerie and to read your wise and comforting words. Lovely photo of you at the beginning too!

    Like

    • Hello Andrea, thank you for your supportive comments – so good to see you here…
      I used the photo because when we took it we were transfixed by the beauty of the light of the setting sun… our world is so beautiful, and man can make it so ugly… like the horror of ruined Ukraine !

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Quotes of the month | Homepaddock

Leave a Reply to Andrea Stephenson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s