Extraordinary Lives

I happened upon an episode on Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild, a BBC Channel 5 broadcast. It happened that the episode in Ireland visits with an extraordinary woman, Judith Hoad, a woman who completely walks her talk – and does so directly. Check it out here https://www.my5.tv/ben-fogle-new-lives-in-the-wild/season-8/episode-7. Hoad lives completely off grid, up a hill not far from the Wild Atlantic Way, down a track in a remote part of County Donegal in the northwest corner of the Republic Ireland. She has lived there since 1981, and alone since 1999 when her husband died. She has supported herself teaching medical herbalism and traditional handcrafts.

I’ve met her through Leitrim’s Organic Centre and Wise Woman Weekend, which she co-founded with a number of women in Northwest Ireland back in 2004. I posted about the final Wise Woman Weekend back in 2017 https://sojourningsmith.blog/2017/05/09/its-a-wise-woman-that-knows-omens/. What you see in the documentary is completely unvarnished Judith. I once met her at a horticulture fair. Spotting that I was having a menopausal hot flush she very simply barked, “Cold sage tea!” And left me to fan myself slightly helplessly. Hoad is a force of nature.

Today’s Poetry Daily trigger comes from the documentary. Living alone at age 80, Judith practically leaves an envelope with instructions to whomever discovers her body after her death. It reminded me of my late sister-in-law, too, who was terminally ill, and left her instructions in a red box file boldly emblazoned with My Kick the Bucket Box.

Ordinary Extraordinary Life

Let's be matter of fact about it.
One day I will be dead
and why leave behind a mess
for whomever should find me stiff
in a chair, on the floor, in bed?

Rest what is left of my
meat and bones buried in my own
ground. Plant a tree. I fancy one.
An oak. But, of course, I will not
be around if you plant
a hazel or rowan instead.

Let's be matter of fact about it.
It's never easy not
to have what is beloved around.

Less haste. Less waste.
                       It's not  magic.
In mortality we are all bound.
Let's be matter of fact about it.

Live lightly on the land because
at the end, in earth
we are all homebound.
Dust back to dust
                        someone else will
sweep at the last.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by Michael Shannon on Unsplash

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