Bricolage: a thing made from disparate objects, an essay made from a mind puttering about. from the French word bricoler -- to putter about. composition is the arrangement of unequal things. -- Richard ford to compose means to find a way through, or to find a pattern. to your thinking or to your day or in existential moments, your life. compose yourself. in pandemic times, composing myself comes most easily in the garden. in squatting down, knees spread and bent as far as they'll go, they're comfortable that way though I know they'll hurt later. I don't care. in squatting close to the earth, in stretching the joints to their extreme there's an echo of an earlier time in my life. in Japan, where I spent a lot of time studying aikido, a lot of time kneeling in seiza, and I learned to walk on my knees. it can look graceful and strong. it can make me feel calm. focused. I wouldn't dare to attempt that now, my 64 year old knees have their own long stories and have actually move from that position now without thought. I do this because it's a way of parking my body in one place, a more active parking than sitting. I feel less rooted in my own history when I squat, even the word gives me a little shiver. it doesn't go with lady-like behaviour. sitting neatly legs lined up like two pins, hands folded or busy with knitting or pouring tea. in brain ... virginia Woolf -- only when the present is quiet does the past come to life. in older life, comfortably settled as I am, lucky as I am, with a house, a companion, children to keep me younger, a job to keep me from settling too far in to easy entertainments, the past rumbles more loudly, sometimes in thought and reflection, sometimes in jabs of conscience and doubt. This week, the past has entered in the form of a visitor, the youngest daughter of one of my oldest friends, and it's thrown me into delight. First, there's the delight of having someone young in the house again, our children have moved away. the house echoes without them at times, and there's a new quiet where there used to be disturbance, where our minds could not be their own. I never appreciated that at the time. land now I am alone often with my own mind, I find it's not really that comfortable a place to be. the blowing in of a young wind is refreshing. a relief. also still pricked with worry. last night she was out with a friend. I lay awake in bed, wondering should I text her to say I could give her a ride home if she wanted it, and then settled with a quiet relief when I heard her steps on the stairs. how many times have I listened for my own children's steps. that happy sound. they are safe. walking sturdily, making the wood of the stairs thud with their weight. yesterday this visitor told me something her mother had said that made me laugh, a gift from time, from all those years of shared friendship and knowing, of hours upon hours of talk, a shared adolescence, especially, and then here was her daughter speaking from her early 20s on her mother, and I felt the beauty of that, of age. of having this new frame, the gift in this. of love like an accordion fan opening out, with its planes of dark and light ruffling my memories and thoughts in ew ways. not letting them settle, but shaking them out again. opening.