Hot Air and a Partially Remembered Stair

Is it too early to have a beer at 10 in the AM…how early is too early? With everything pressing in my day completed by around 9AM, I have been spending quite a lot of the day indulging in listening to some loud music of days gone past…stuff that brings back the malleable miracle of memory that haunts us ( if we choose), or as in this case just serves to cycle up the good mood-a-tron which is located somewhere in my head.

Good moods are conducive to my thinking and probably explains why recently I have only been able to do book reviews and not look for inspiration in the wider world.  All this thinking had me in mind of my struggles for non book related posts and how things change in general.


I remember once, going up to the roof of a church tower.  It was a classic accent with a spiral stone staircase, the type where you have to keep to the outside or risk slipping all the way back down.  At the time I was maybe 8 or 9 and it was an epic climb, going round and round the central column.  it was the return journey though that I am thinking of.  I had in my young and possibly sticky hands a balloon eraser that day.  If memory serves it was blue with bits of green, red and yellow on, a classic eraser then.  I don’t remember much more about it than that.

I dropped this eraser and couldn’t find it on the darkened stair, I knew roughly where it fell but all I was rewarded with was severely dusty hands for my hunting troubles.  Now I am 32 and thinking back to it, I am struck by the image of this balloon, that ultimate symbol of human freedom to be blown about willy-nilly that is now consigned to the dark begrimed and  forgotten confines of a seldom visited place.

It’s quite sad really and why my mind chose to throw that at me on a day when I am in a happy frame of mind I do not know…the mysteries of the mind and of time itself are as much a curse as an enchanting dream.  I still wonder if the balloon is still grounded or has been found and then ultimately discarded again due to the ravages of age.  Perhaps rather than being in a good mood, it’s more accurate to say that I am embracing that state of happy melancholy mood that afflicts me every so often.

On a different note, here is something I wrote years eons ago and posted on Boomie’s blog a few years ago…it remains in its original form:


The Church

The silence pervades all.

Sunshine spreads across the cool,
Weathered stone.
Crunching gravel underfoot,
Solitudes domain.

Heavy air, an ancient feel.
Whispers down the centuries
…A weight of time.

An intensity, a potent power,
wonder of the mysteries of life.

A need to know
A need to feel
A time to reflect
A time to kneel.

Resonance of voice,
echoes of experience,
Authority of art
Joy in song.

Reflection comes easy
A lifted weight
Footsteps echo,
The world awaits…

St Johns

30 Replies to “Hot Air and a Partially Remembered Stair”

  1. I too have been listening to some music with which I have a history today, and experiencing that “happy melancholy” you speak of. Most often when I am able to let such music into my life (aside from opera, which when I listen to I also watch, and thus cannot do anything else), I’m also crocheting, because I get very nervous just listening to music when there’s nothing to look at, and I need to have something to do with my hands. But today was perfect: I listened and stitched, and listened and stitched. But now, it’s time to do something else, and I have to turn away from the lovely spring day and do something else (walk time, i.e., for exercise). Enjoy your music, and thanks for the lovely church poem….


    1. I wrote the poem when I was 20, my first one I think. Walking is good especially if there is a view or a tree, trees are great. I am afflicted with the same nature as you, namely needing to do something…the post covered that today but usually I can be found researching something random…like the statistics on Cod catches in the North Sea…I think sometimes I take the term odd a little to far!


      1. Well, if it’s cod you’re interested in, there’s actually a book out (I hope not just in the U.S., it makes us weird) called, simply, “Cod.” I think it’s published by Penguin or Pelican books. There’s also another one called just “Salt.” Maybe (he!he!) you should do your research with both books and then cap it all off by writing one called “Salted Cod!” Just joking, but you can find a book on practically anything these days, can’t you?


        1. I have seen the book on salt, it is fascinating, there is a salt mine under the Mediterranean Sea and in it the workers have carved out a church. There are salt pews and everything…I find that brilliant. I may look for Cod and then research some other equally obscure books and really get inspired…I read a chapter in a book about diary farming Montana which was really really good.


          1. How are you on memoirs? If you liked the book about dairy farming in Montana, you might also like a book which is due to come out this spring called “Shepherd,” a memoir about farming sheep in the Appalachians of Ohio by a very talented man named Richard Gilbert (his website is ), and he also teaches memoir writing and connected subjects at Otterbein University in Ohio. I read Cheryl Strayed’s book on hiking the PCT (Pacific Coast Trail) on his recommendation, and suddenly was fascinated by some of the points he’s made on his website about her book and about memoirs in general. Have you ever thought of writing a memoir? One thing I find very interesting about memoir is its difference from autobiography, which Richard explained to me. I’ve inveterately turned away from reading autobiogs because I found them boring, and sometimes the same with biogs. But Richard’s point about a memoir (as he and a guest of his explained once) is that it’s a thematic thing, not so much a chronological thing. You know, not “what I did from the beginning of my life to this point when I’m writing” but more “the rubric under which this book is written is to do with my struggle with my aunt’s Alzheimer’s and what happened in that situation while I was living a life,” e.g. It records some sort of growth experience more than a history. I like that. And after I’ve been so wordy, I hope you do too!


            1. I haven’t read many memoirs, it is another style of book I would love to get into…mainly for stylistic curiosity but it can teach me so much about perspective as well. I like the lack of constraints in a memoir, the meandering recalling seem a more natural flow than an overly structured format of autobiography. I will most certainly check these books out and the genre as a whole.


              1. You know what I would really like to see you do? A memoir in verse. Your poem you shared just the other day was very moving. I think that in a way, Tennyson’s “In Memoriam” could be said to be a memoir in verse of sorts, even though it took him years and years to write it, because the organizing theme and idea was his getting over the death of his friend, Arthur Hallam. While I don’t know you well enough as a person to know what your organizing theme would be, or how many years of your life you would cover, I could see you doing it, from the tidbits you’ve dropped here and there.


                1. That is an interesting proposition and I already feel way out of my depth just trying to conceive it but it is definitely something I will look into. it sounds very challenging and I like that, any excuse to push myself to more ambitious things. The planning starts…..NOW!


  2. I remember going up in a balloon many many many many many many years ago. About 38 of them. It was only a little one. You got in the balloon, went up about 40-50 feet, stayed there for a few minutes and then came down. It was awesome. I would dearly love to go on a balloon trip. The photo opportunities would be exemplary. As for stairs and churches – no. Only a couple of lighthouses and that was fun 🙂


    1. I love lighthouses, never been in one but ever since The Horror of Fang Rock I have loved them…sounds like a good blog post to do. I’m not a fan of heights unless I take my glasses off and can’t see but that would defeat the object of the balloon then.


      1. Haha yeah it kinda would 😉 Unfortunately I can’t do lighthouses now. Unless there is a lift in it which I don’t think they have now


  3. I like to think the balloon rubber was found by a grateful and particularly mistake-prone young writer who employed it gainfully in editing a masterpiece of literature.


  4. What a insightfully fascinating peek into your thought process! I do love your musings…and your poetry! I am sorry to have missed it’s debut on Boomie’s blog…but having now experienced it I shall carry it and the quite indescribable feeling it evoked with me as I do with words that touch me most profoundly…

    Happy Melancholy….interesting turn of phrase….also if you could, please, tell me where one might obtain a “good mood-a-tron ” I would be oh so very appreciative lol xxxxxx


    1. I don’t think you had discovered me when I posted it, it was that far back in the day. I am sure that the poem was unexpected and a surprise which is what I was aiming for which pleases me. My thoughts are so randomly obscure there is no wonder I sometimes don’t reveal what I’m thinking of.

      I came across my good mood-a-tron at a jumble sale, I will loan it to you when I have become as serene as those people who live up sticks in the desert. Happy melancholy is the best way to describe it but it was more of an approximation. xxxxxx


  5. Lovely poem Ste J. Makes me wonder why we haven’t seen more poetry from you when you are so darn good at it. I know those melancholy days well. Music is the perfect balm. Have a lovely weekend. 🙂


    1. I seldom get inspired with creative writing, I think I’m more of a prose man but I do like to dabble. Recently I have been having non book ideas again which is always good for my mood…and my eclecticism and if that’s not a word, it is now!


  6. It’s always beer:30 somewhere… 🙂

    It’s nice to think back on some of our past moments. Sometimes they are just so random though.
    Thanks for sharing your poem. Very calming.


    1. Random is good and possibly one of my middle names. I like your style with beer time, hopefully it won’t encourage me to pick a beer as early again but when it’s sunny it’d be rude not too. You can tell I’m word cheap when i go recycle a poem over a decade old lol.


  7. Nice poem Ste J. One of my favourite TV programmes is “Songs of Praise.”
    Oh, how early is too early for a beer? Well, it depends. If it’s the middle of summer and you’ve had a good breakfast at 6:00am and then go out and spend 2-3 hours mowing the lawns, a beer would be appropriate 😀


    1. I was up at 5:20Am and had a bacon sandwich followed by excerising my brain so that seems roughly right for a beer, which I hasten to add is not the usual fo me, I decided to indulge in a one off.

      Ah yes songs of Praise a stalwart programme, I sometimes catch an episode if the TV happens to be on.


  8. I have lost many a tennis ball and floaty toy down my river. I often wonder where they end up and if some lucky dog finds them. I mourn for those tennis balls and a big fish that I was particularly fond of. But the Mom Person is good at replacing treasures, so life remains good! I know nothing of beer.


    1. Beer is evil and as such should be shunned or sniffed at (and then left). Life is always better with new toys, you just can’t trust those rivers with all those swirly bits!


    1. I still haven’t mastered the regularity thing…in fact until recently I couldn’t conjure up anything apart from book reviews, hoping to get some more out in a bit though…I’m sure you will remind me if not!


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