The garden has an air of decline towards the end of October. Particularly if you stumble into it on a misty morning. It is like entering the realm of Miss Haversham.
We might have to pick our way through cobwebs and dust.
And shrouded lamps.
Gossamer threads, which waver and tremble.
We have to peer through the curtains. We’re not sure what we’ll see.
Is that a bridal veil?
Soft undergarments cast off,
left abandoned on the floor?
There are shafts of light streaming in through the window,
Is someone there?
There are soft whisperings,
As if someone is reading, or singing, or murmuring incantations.
But you can’t quite catch the words.
Your clothing snags. You gasp. The voice stops. Buttoned-up lips.
You peer around the corner, barely breathing…
Could it be?
A rose with such depths you cannot imagine.
It has hidden itself away here, self-contained. Surpassing the promise of the bud it once was.
She wears a veil so you can’t see what she is thinking. Still waters run deep.
I remember finding the image of Miss Haversham thrilling and terrifying in equal measure. Her abandon of social convention. Her total neglect of housework. Her cunning.
She’s focused on what everyone would rather not know or would like to forget…
Staying with the pain, attending to it, being present to and with it—that’s the task, because that’s the only (as far as I can tell) hope of finding a way forward.
Miss Haversham is a survivor. She deserves our attention, and compassion. Maybe we all have an inner Miss Haversham?
Do you have any anti-heroines? If you were to turn to the dark side, which one would you be?
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