Stargazing in the gutter.

Crocuses, or should that be croci? are so courageous. How can you not admire their undaunted blooms?

Sadly these aren’t in my garden but the front patch of a house we pass on our way down “poo” alley as Zeph has so charmingly and, sadly, accurately named it.

Bloody dog poo – the bane of urban living. I seem to say “mind the poo” so often to Zeph that he and his friends have started loudly and gleefully pointing them out with the air of tour guides as they run ahead of us. I’ve even idly considered making paper flags so we can highlight them for everyone passing by.

Which is why I was so surprised to see him giving something more than the usual cursory glance on Monday morning. Turns out it was a dead mouse. “Makes a nice change though..” Really Zeph? Really?

It reminded me of a disastrous walk home from nursery just after we’d moved here. We’d just stopped using the pushchair which meant Zeph would get a bit tired on the walk home after a full day at nursery. It was after a long fretful day for both of us and I was being brightly diverting trying to head off a threatened tantrum. Oh look darling I burbled, casting desperately around,  look at that funny bit of bag, it looks just like a seagulls head, isn’t that funny….then as the green man flashes and we cross towards it – oh bollocks – it IS a bloody gulls head. Cue hysterical tears the rest of the way home.

Don’t get me wrong I love where we live. It has a vibrancy and genuine sense of community I value highly. I appreciate that we are surrounded by a massive range of cultures and that this is reflected in Z’s school. We’re pretty much all in the same cash strapped case – there’s no keeping up at the school gate – more a sense we’re all in it together.

If that’s the swings then I know there are roundabouts. One of the things I really notice is a total lack of love, care or respect for our surroundings. Steve and I casually squabble on the walk home about whether repaving the alleys and painting a mural on the miserable breezeblock wall is a waste of time, money and effort. He thinks it would be ruined within minutes and why bother. I think that’s an assumption that you have to deserve beauty. I think if you have no respect or expectations of a person or community what impetus is there for them to care about themselves? I know it’s complicated. Isn’t bloody everything? When every day is a struggle with money, addictions, memories, yourself – who gives a flying fuck about dropping their fag packet or picking up after their dog. Recycle? It was hard enough picking it up off the floor and getting it into a binbag. This doesn’t mean you are less capable or deserving of love. Or flowers. Or beauty.

Recently I can’t stop thinking about a project by Darcy Padilla I first saw when my friend Erika put a link on her fb page.

The Julie Project

It took my breath away and humbled me. The pictures that come into my mind most in the early hours are the ones of Julie with her babies. I want to believe that love is never wasted or lost. If I could pray – it would be that this love isn’t.

It’s so easy to make judgements and not ask questions. I don’t have a single answer – not for myself and not for you either I’m afraid. I will try harder to pull back the judging and ask a question instead the next time I’m putting my boots into the stirrup of a high horse. Pretty rare occurence – I’m mostly to be found residing in the moral marshlands.

Todays BT is that they are all around us, amongst the poo and corpses.

 ooh and on these lines – there’s a cracking programme on Channel 4 tonight about an elephant corpse…looks amazing.


2 responses to “Stargazing in the gutter.

  1. That’s why I think Yarnbombing is a good idea. Make the grey things beautiful, say to someone that you didn’t mind putting lots of effort into this object that you are just going to leave somewhere. Setting it free…..
    Julie….hmmmm, she’s been haunting me a lot. I think a few over privileged bigots could do with this lesson in humility but I doubt they will see it.

    • No – I love yarnbombing. Your tree looked beautiful. I like the book leaving scheme too – where you leave it on the designated shelf where ever and take another. I love reading down where it’s been. Thanks for the Julie link. She’s definitely been on my mind.
      I was thinking today about doing some seedbombing on the route to school – leaving poppyseeds along the verges in my wake like johnny appleseed. We should think about a bit of guerilla gardening…

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