Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Constants

What is that phrase about death and taxes? It's something like..what is life's constants? ..the answer being death and taxes.....well it's near enough.......
This morning I have been thinking about constants........
After what was hailed as the coldest night of the year, I walked out onto the field as I do every morning and was greeted by the guinea fowl legging it over the rock hard ground, all desperate for their breakfast of mixed corn.
The guinea fowl are just three of my constants.
Come rain, come shine, come everything, every morning Alf, Hughie and Ivy will be there chattering away like little clockwork toys as they scuttle neurotically back and forth as though they are stuck on a video player's fast forward.
And every evening, by force of habit, I will always check on their roosting positions in the Churchyard trees, counting their silhouettes...one...two....three...as they settle down against the sky . 
Apart from is twice daily contact, our paths rarely cross during the day, for these three odd little birds will be off foraging  but like anything in anyone's life that is taken for granted, if by any chance they don't turn up in the stillness of the early morning,one day, I am sure,I would be quite heartbroken.
Alf
A programme I watched on television last night gave me nightmares this morning which have probably caused these melancholy thoughts about constants and death first thing. Death Unexpected, a documentary on the BBC last night was a fascinating look at the work of London coroner Alison Thompson in a typical week that saw her and her team cope with the constant puzzle of suicide, murder and, sudden death  .
With typical British understatement , the mechanics of the coroner's job were tastefully all left "off screen" for the most part, and it was left to the articulate and rather glam Mz Thompson to explain her role to camera, which she did eloquently and with some passion.
Coroner Thompson

On reflection perhaps watching a documentary like Death Unexpected was not really a good idea,for I dreamt about death for what seemed like an absolute age overnight.
In my last dream, I found myself emptying the car of bags of layers pellets. As I looked back at the cottage I saw my brother standing on a ladder painting the gable end.
"make sure you don't fall" I called out and without saying anything he just stuck up his thumb in way of an answer
A fairly innocuous dream, you may think, but it has unsettled me somewhat...

I'm off to clean the church


39 comments:

  1. I did think to myself... Do I really want to watch a documentary about a coroners court? No - I decided. I did watch the thing about plants and the planet - now that was really interesting.

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  2. The other night I couldn't see the chickens in the fig tree. All had disappeared, which unsettled me greatly. They had gone under cover because of the cold weather, but not being able to see their outlines against the night sky did make me concerned about them, so I understand your concern for your assorted flock.

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  3. I didn't see the programme, but did I read somewhere that Alison Thompson used to be an air hostess? That's some career change!

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  4. Maybe that was Andrew letting you know he is okay?

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  5. dreaming of dead people is always a bit unsettling at first but can become quite comforting once you get past the initial ooh err.

    I dreamt that they launched a scheme to adopt retired/defunct old actors and we went to the Home to chose one and came back with Bette Davis.

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  6. It is unsettling to dream of a deceased loved one. I think it is a gift from the universe that we can see them one more time..and look...he was healthy and up a ladder. That's wonderful.

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  7. Maybe, it was a way for him to tell you, he's still helping out...that he's still with you.

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  8. I also believe it was Andrew telling you its all OK! I've had those dream happenings and I believe in them. Don't care if I'm not highly religious..its just the feeling that it leaves. After my husband passed away, several months later, I dreamt he gave me his most gentle hug when I was having a stress filled dream. I woke with a start all because, I actually truly felt his arms.
    p.s.
    I know what you mean about the guineas, I have 4 constants and while I subconciously always count them, I'll also miss them one day.

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  9. You might want to watch some lighter fare this evening.

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  10. Such a dream - so soon. I think Andrew or your subconscious was giving you 'the thumbs up' and everything was alright.

    It was about a year after my father passed, that I had the dream where he was fine, and though strange, it was very comforting.

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  11. It must take a special type of person to do what she does, don't you think? Her face tells the story.

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  12. Not at all innocuous John when one considers the whole process of grieving.....we all do it and experience it differently. Andrew is no longer a 'constant' in your life, the dreams are probably your way of dealing with his passing.
    One of the harsh realities of life is that nothing stays the same.

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  13. I am a big believer that dreams do mean something especially if you remember them when you wake up. I think this is a positive dream thugh with your brother telling you everything is fine in his own special way.

    Gill in Canada

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  14. I can understand how that unsettled you.
    Hope your day has gotten better, John.

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  15. I've never dreamt about death. I just dream about getting lost or people chasing me. Of course one day they might chase me over the edge of a cliff....

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  16. Yes lighter fare tonight... a Finnish movie about christmas!!

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  17. Back in my journalism days I used to cover coroner's court regularly and found the cases fascinating. I also learned very quickly which bends in the road to take slowly (whether or not there was a speed restriction) and lots of things not to do if I wanted to stay alive.

    I guess I got quite casual about the things I heard. It didn't help me deal with losing people I knew, though.

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  18. I always treasure it when I see the face of someone I love who has passed in a dream. It makes me feel like they're still with me. I agree with the others who said it seems like your brother was letting you know that he is well and still watching out for you.

    ((((Hugs))))

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  19. My brother died in 1991 at the age of 34 with cancer. Some time later my cousin had a dream, or a vision, where he saw my brother in a crowd of people. He said in that large crowd of people my brother stood out like a “shiny dime” and looked at him smiling and told him he was all right. He was so unsettled by it he called my aunt that evening and kept telling her that he wasn’t asleep when it happened. My cousin is very proper and straight laced and my aunt said if it had been anyone but him she would of scoffed it off and just told them they were dreaming, but he had been truly shaken by the experience and she knew something had happened. She told my mother about it and since that time my mother has a jar full of shiny dimes that she finds everywhere. I have been with her many times when she would look down and there would be a shiny dime just sparkling in the sun on the ground. On one occasion in particular, my mother and I had gone on a trip with my uncle and we were walking along a grassy roadway one day and lo and behold she looks down in the grass and there was a shiny dime. My mother has found peace in those shiny dimes and I am sure she feels like he is there with her or giving her a sign that he is ok. Even I, on occasion, find one and I can’t help but smile. I along with others believe that your brother was giving you a real thumbs up!

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  20. I like reading about your pet fowl. I used to have four Rhode Island Red hens. I had a special chicken house built for them. I bought them from an Amish farmer. I'm sure they thought they were on the way to their doom when I took them home in my specially built chicken carrier. Little did they know they were going to a new home in the woods. We enjoyed each other's company for a little over a year until a fox got one (during one of our daily forays outside the pen with me) and hawks got two of them in the pen. The fourth hen broke her leg jumping from the roost and I had to have the vet put her to sleep. I never got any more chickens since. I miss them. Fowl make fine pets. I'm not allowed to have them here in my development but if I did the local foxes and hawks would probably have another meal. I will read about yours instead.

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  21. Given the fact that you on a weight reduction campaign perhaps you should instead watch a few videos by "The Hairy Bikers". Then you'd dream of steaming dumplings and onion gravy, rhubarb crumble and lamb shanks with mint jelly. Mmmmm....

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  22. I was going to tell you about *my* dream but after reading about yours, and some of your other posters, it makes my careering down he road in an out of control wheelie bin, with a big engine but no steering wheel, seem rather shallow...

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  23. Will any of us truly ever know in all certainty exactly how the brain works and intuitions etc? I dont think so..
    One of my dogs went into a seizure on Sunday evening and before it happened I was walking up to the house and she sat at the glass door, as always, and as I approached I had a horrible feeling that something was going to happen to her. No reason to think that at all. Within 5 seconds she went into a seizure. Strange..
    After the death of my dad and also recently my grandmother, my dreams would bring me mostly comfort that they were coming to me to let me know that they were doing ok.

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  24. "chattering away like little clockwork toys as they scuttle neurotically back and forth as though they are stuck on a video player's fast forward"

    This made me laugh out loud as I saw it in my minds eye :-D

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  25. Guinea fowl - I would love some John, but the farmer refuses point blank to go down that road.

    As for your dream - very unsettling I would say but this is bound to happen from time to time isn't it.

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  26. Love those Guinea Fowl, we had them on our farm when I was a youth. These birds are so wonderful to watch. They sound the alarm every time something is bothering them. Great memories.

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  27. greetings Horst. nice to have you aboard

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  28. I consider it a blessing when deceased family and friends visit my dreams. Can't say that I'd want to watch a show about death and autopsies before going to bed, though. Or maybe not any time, come to think of it.

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  29. Did you have black puddings done from your pigs John?

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  30. Attended several post mortem examinations when I was a student at A veteran's hospital in Sydney, decades ago. Can still remember their ghastly details to this day.

    The ME's show probably raised memories of your recent loss and your brother was merely telling you, from on high, that' he's OK and don't worry about him - you should get on with those mundane aspects of life that concern.yourelf.

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  31. The one thing I learnt from my many years in Coroners' Court - be careful how many paracetamol you take!

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  32. I think of things like death and taxes as constants...
    And then things like the guinea fowls daily presence as eternals.
    The former marks off the boundaries of life while the latter then floods the space with grace.

    I used to have dreams of my mother after she died but they finally tapered away when I made a full return to the world. They were disorienting upon waking...when the ache would rush back...but I still loved them.

    D x

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  33. That is a great photo of Alf. I haven't seen such a light coloured one before. Does it grow winter plumage?

    Sudden death huh. I thought that popping off with a quick heart attack is the best way to go. For the goer maybe. Not for the left-behind. Where did that police car come from, and all the questions and he'll have to go for a post mortem? No you can't keep him till Monday, sorry he can't be done on the weekend. Understandable I know and a reassurance to know eventually that it really was time.

    And those dreams, where the death of the departed is something yet to face: for me they are part of the sorting out and accepting process.

    On a lighter note... I was wondering the same thing as Chris :-)

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  34. There you were - still making sure your brother was ok and he letting you know that he was :-)
    Wishing you peace my friend. And a dreamless sleep tonight.

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  35. lady
    alf is a strange sort of light blue.... and that's his normal plumage

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  36. I watched the movie 'The Descendants' last night, which may not have been great timing since it's so close to the anniversary of my mom's death. I dreamt that was saying good-bye to corpses.

    I enjoyed the movie very much, though.

    I've also dreamt of the dearly departed and have always found comfort when i see them happy and whole.
    loved acuriouscure's comment.

    megan

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  37. I watched that last night too John and was absolutely fascinated by it. Rather than freak me out (as I thought it may have done) it left me feeling like I really wanted to be involved in that type of work. I can empathise with you about your dream. When my dear Nan passed I had some right old weird dreams about her(which I won't elaborate on) but they too left me unsettled for days. Hope your Church cleaning was cathartic - and Alf is ace!!!

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  38. Oh John! Hugs to you.

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  39. Yes, that would be unsettling...

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