My acquaintance with this started when I was at school in the Cotswolds, having flown back from holidays in Singapore. Through my time at school and then at university, I would (for a few days after travelling) wake up at around 4 or 5 o'clock and have that special time in the morning all to myself, to listen to the Earth turning. Coming back to a new term, I was always excited about the new beginnings - new things to learn, seeing friends again, hearing about their holidays and learning more about their lives, a new season to look forward to (usually Spring or Autumn), more steps to take to get closer to where I wanted to be. And during that time of humming before dawn, my mind would be clear, and I would be centred. Gradually, other sounds - the early milk round, tyres washing along the street, footsteps walking to work, the post slapping down onto a rug - would creep in, overtaking what I'd been listening to. I'd move on, shower and breakfast, walk or cycle to classes, start the day.
For a few years in between that time and now, I must admit that I'd lost the fulness of the feeling of those early hours, despite having made that same intercontinental journey. The stillness was overwhelmed by a sense of foreboding and of my heart in dark water. There wasn't much to look forward to, because I didn't truly have my day, my plans, my future in my own hands. I was in the hands of others, a utility to slot into their projects, languishing under the illusion that I was doing something fruitful and fulfilling with my life. I still heard the music, but it was being drowned out by the noise.
It's now been almost two years since I stepped away from that and chose to reclaim my space. It's a slow process, and it's still unfolding, but I've been hearing that beautiful stillness again, and only that.
Mañana Mama has given Cinnamon and Truffle the Versatile Blogger Award, which we're thrilled to receive. Thank you, Mama! We have been asked to name other bloggers to pass the award on to, and we'd like to give it to these individuals who are charting their own courses, unlocking their talents, and letting them sing.
Sparkly Date Palm - lawyer, cultural explorer, insightful political commentator, foodie (especially when it comes to afternoon tea), and all-round lovely Irish person. Read all about the alternative, culturally-immersed expat life in Dubai.
Unautomatic - Bay Area entrepreneur, generous soul, sharp observer (with a sense of humour), who's figuring out and spreading some great positive energy. Read her blog for inspirational quotations, thought-provoking photographs, and unique perspectives on business.
Ex Hedge Fund Trader - An insightful blog about stock picks and financial markets - this makes for a very good read. The blogger lives in Cinnamon's neighbourhood too.
Flora and Purl - one amazingly talented and creative lady, whose little girls must be constantly having the time of their lives. Read her recent post on her daughter's Narnia-themed birthday party, and you'll see what I mean.
Simply Splendiferous - graphic designer, who pens her own illustrations for a food blog featuring delicious recipes. These drawings are so lovely as to inspire a warm tranquillity (and yearning for anchovies...). For St Patrick's Day (today!), she has a wholesome Irish beef and stout stew recipe.
Hungry Female - a girl after our own hearts, who hunts down (with a passion) and photographs some of the most tasty-looking things for her food blog. You'll want to hop on a plane and jet it to Malaysia when you see her most recent finds in Kuala Lumpur.
Thank you, versatile bloggers, for your wonderful posts, and feel free to pass the award on. In addition to passing it along, the award asks that we mention seven random facts about ourselves. Here they are:
1. Cinnamon is looking to get a Havanese puppy over the summer.
2. Until that puppy grows up, Truffle might have to stay away from Davidson.
3. Cinnamon is crazy about pruning, especially roses.
4. Truffle really likes quantum mechanics and still has a sheet of paper, written by her physics tutor at university, summarising the principal laws. Really.
5. Cinnamon can give up Indian food, but not Chinese.
6. Truffle hardly eats Indian food, but has a weekly craving for Chinese.
7. Cinnamon and Truffle are middle children, which probably explains why they're writing the blog while Numbers One and Four are busy being involved in luxury hospitality and urban regeneration...
Happy St Patrick's Day, everyone!