I didn’t walk this morning. I feel rather bereft, strange, as if something has been lost. A moment. That coldness on my face. Bearing witness to another kind of life. The night time life. The dark.

He insisted. You’re not going out, he said. It won’t hurt. Just once. Though he is threatening the same stricture for tomorrow. Not in that wind, he said. You’re not. It’s a play. A playful bullying, born out of kindness. I know this. And I know that I sometimes need to be cajoled into obeying.

Virgo are rigid, I read yesterday as I glanced over some internet astrology sites. Stuff and nonsense, I know. And I stopped myself reading before I went too far. I used to enjoy it all that prediction stuff. I wanted to know the future, to know that something marvellous was on the horizon. You see, all that romanticism that is bound to failure. It doesn’t work that way, and nor should it. What is, is now. And that is all. All there is. I believe in pure astrology but it is the interpretation of it for the mass market that is rather dubious. I think this year will be significant for me, it is a multiplication of sevens after all, but the real significance will be internal not external. For that is the only true reality. The rest is like candy floss, of no fundamental substance.

Are we rigid? I don’t like to think so, but perhaps I am. Yes, I know I am. I need to do what I set out to do. To not stray from my course. And yet, to sleep as I did this morning for an extra three hours was so nice. I feel better for it. Going out into the dark at this time of the year is so hard. I know it isn’t the Arctic or down a pit, but the wind can be ferocious and the cold bitter. But I am cleansed, cleared out by doing so and I need to move.

This dis-ease externally is merely a reflection of what is going on internally. I welcome it. It excites reflection. One becomes intensely aware of one’s body. Its edges, its bones, its skin. Everything is felt, everything computed. Smells come intermittently, as if slightly delayed, and tastes are more about feel than flavour, hot is very hot, cold if very cold. And the shivering. Again a gift. One feels one’s vulnerability, one’s tenderness. And still I get this desire to solve, to re-address my issues with my work. To unravel it. To heal it as I heal myself.

My morning dream was so prosaic. I had to laugh. I was in an enormous M&S. He and I were due to take a journey, though he wasn’t with me then. I thought I would try to find a sandwich for him. A ham and mustard perhaps. But there had clearly been a run on the sandwiches. Almost all of them were gone. Women stood in my way so I couldn’t see what was what. I felt irritated and tried to redeem the situation by seeking out some yoghurt for myself. Again, nothing doing. Just ones with fruit in them. Then I found a seat and waited. My sister arrived and I stood up to greet her, thinking that she would be leaving with us. Oh, no, she said stretching out her hand to a woman sitting at the table next to me, I’ve still got a full day’s work to do. I’m her sister, I said also stretching out my hand. So I gathered, said the woman, offering me the wrong hand to shake. I then thought about a chest of drawers in the place that we were leaving. I’d imagined I could just take it with us without unpacking it. But I saw in my mind’s eye that it’s lower drawers were damaged and knew what I’d have to empty it and leave it behind. Besides, the things inside weren’t mine. Weren’t ours.

Prosaic yes, but revealing. Most revealing. I have much to do. Begin writing. What I don’t know. Just make a start and it will come. I avoid it. It’s like facing that white space and actually walking into it. A fearful act or an opportunity. Let’s see, eh?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.