Inbetween Expectations & The Wilderness of our Soul

A new year and season; a chance to reflect upon the past so as to look clearly into the future.  Death, rebirth, all the cycles of life.  Having said farewell to grandmother, a strong, feisty woman who was a nurse and manager and who traveled extensively, ever curious.  Feeling the need to let a past die and be reborn.  Ensconced in the Yorkshire Hills after a funeral is the perfect place to do this.   Anna Karenina,a tragic heroine.  'Romantic love...' was said to be '..the last illusion of the empire' (Tolstoy).  She was caught between the expectations placed upon her by society and her own innocence that led her to fall in love regardless of limitations.  Was she spoilt? No, she was naive and confused by the endless rules that seem to govern her beyond her own agency.
       Digging and treasure hunts often lead us to unexpected pathways long forgotten.  Finding a journal from eight years ago and inside, a poem written whilst staying in a snowy chalet with a Colonel OBE and his family in the French alps of Val-d-isere.  It was my gap year between Oxford and Salzburg and I had been learning french in Fontainebleau.  They gave me food and lodging in their large country chateaux and in return I taught French and looked after their three English children in the evenings whilst they drank champagne with their friends.  I remember feeling an existential rip-tide churning below the surface.  There I was, a fresh graduate; mind awake, active, flowing curious; naively thinking I was entering a situation that would take me to the next level, instead I was confronted with every bit a traditional female role and all the expectations that came with it. I´m reminded of Tolstoy in Karenina in which he write 'There are no conditions to which a person cannot grow accustomed, especially if he sees that everyone around him lives in the same way'. (Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 7, Chapter 13) Somewhere between angst filled late night scribblings, a poem lay:

Auspicious girl
Falls into piety
Through epoch she recognises her foolish optimism
She tries to become austere but instead 
Falls back into munificence
And feels lamentable 
Of her own weakness and leniance towards receptivity
Her attempts to vanquish her own fate
Lead to subservience
In the hands of Neapolitan jesters
Her attempts to elate 
Turn into a obsequious female
Afraid of her own shadow