Morning has broken

February 29, 2016

dahl 3

I don’t know what prompted me to reach for my phone and search for “Cat Stevens”, but last Monday I found myself dancing in the kitchen with my baby on my hip singing, “glide on the peace train“. A pot of dahl was simmering on the stove, which felt entirely appropriate for the 1970’s tunes decorating our day. I grew up eating my mother’s dahl fortnightly, if not weekly, so perhaps that is why I suddenly found myself missing these tunes. You see, my mother adores Cat Stevens. When I hear Where Do The Children Play and Moonshadow, I remember being around ten years old and standing near the cd player in our living room. It’s dark, so it must be the evening, probably a Saturday night… I am standing and listening and mum is listening and moving to the music, telling us of the time when she was 17 years old and won tickets to his concert via a radio competition to sit right at the front and meet him afterwards. We are getting ready to watch a movie, the five of us, probably something science fiction, which is precisely the opposite of what I’d choose to watch if I had my way, but I always liked hanging out with my family (and there was always chocolate), so I was happy.

Last week, when Morning Has Broken started to play, I began to cry. Often when I think of losing my older brother I am comforted by the familiarity of my feelings. It’s a mix of deep sadness, regret and longing, as well as joy for the time we did get together. But while hearing the music of our childhood and remembering, as I held baby Joan in my arms, I felt a different kind of sadness. It’s heavier and darker and I don’t quite know what to make of it yet, but it’s there… and I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon, because I keep wanting to listen to Morning Has Broken, and so it keeps coming up. The following day when Ben was working from home I called out to him but he didn’t respond. I went into his office to find him typing away with his headphones in. “Are you on a call?”, I asked. “No, I’m listening to music…Cat Stevens.”

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven.

Here is the dahl recipe I make. It’s different from my mothers but Ben adores it, as do I, and I hope you might too.

dahl 2

Heidi xo



You Might Also Like

  • Abbe February 29, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I love Cat Stevens too. I’m always grateful of the ‘musical education’ that I got from my dad. I think musica has a way of evoking memories. I recall reading a study tip in year 12 where it was said you could retain and regurgitate info by creating a rhythm to recite it to yourself by.
    I have three kids now and there’s a profound bittersweet feeling when I think of my brother, who died in my early 20’s (I’m 35 now) and the uncle he would have been. My kids would have adored him and it makes me so sad that they and he are missing out. I make sure I talk to the kids about their Uncle Toby so that they know he was important to me.

    • Heidi March 7, 2016 at 9:36 am

      That’s beautiful, Abbe. Profoundly bittersweet is right. I’ll be sure to talk to Joan about her Uncle David too. Much love to you x

  • Avril February 29, 2016 at 5:09 pm


    • Heidi March 7, 2016 at 9:36 am

      Thanks, Avril x

  • Hannah February 29, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Morning has broken and Moonshadow – they thread through my childhood too, and part of their beauty comes from tapping into something deeply yearning and sad; that complex balance of love and loss that is life. I’m here to cry with you whenever you need, and to sing too.

    You are beautiful and this pain, this new version of grief, it makes sense – your heart is unfolding to feel and love in so many new ways. And so your new, broader, wilder, more vulnerable heart – it’s going to feel everything on more far-reaching levels. You love so much, so you feel so much. And bless Ben to the core, too xx

    • Heidi March 7, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Thank you, dear Hannah. x

  • jac February 29, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    The thing about grief, which I don’t think you fully realise until you experience it, is that it never goes away and it evolves. Yes it gets better with time but in some ways it also gets worse. I love how honest and open you are, all the time, but particularly when you write about your brother.

    • Heidi March 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

      It does evolve, yes. I’m realising this now….thank you, Jac x

  • dixya @ food, pleasure, and health March 1, 2016 at 10:01 am

    ….now i am going to listen to that song. i cant imagine the sadness and sorrow it brings when you lose your dear ones. hopefully it gets better with time for you dear. sending hugs.

    • Heidi March 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

      Thank you, Dixya x

  • Cinzia March 1, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Hey Heidi
    Long time peruser of your blog – first time commenter… Just thought I’d express how much I love poring over your recipes and accompanying stories. It’s one of my favourite cosy pastimes and I always feel inspired to plan spreads for my family and friends…

    • Heidi March 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

      Hello Conzia, thank you for telling me this! It makes me happy 🙂 x

  • laurasmess March 3, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    My mum’s favourite was always Cliff Richard. I distinctly remember attending a concert with her when I was about five years old, mostly from all of the noise and the lights… though she likes to tell me that I fell asleep after about five minutes (and stayed asleep, despite the sound system and loud cheering!). I listened to Cliff when mum was very ill once, tears streaming down my face, remembering myself at five when she seemed immortal and steadfast. Those feelings will always be with me now, attached to the music and embedded in my life, similar to you and Cat Stevens, I guess. You have the most beautiful, available heart, Heidi. I know baby Joan (and Ben) is a direct beneficiary of that. Take care of you xxx
    Also, this daal. DELICIOUS.

    • Heidi March 7, 2016 at 9:40 am

      Oh that’s beautiful, Laura. Much love to you, sweet lady. Thank you for all the love x

  • Gemma March 7, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I’m also a first time commenter. I’m sitting in the airport, having read your post and trying not to cry. Your honesty and authenticity is a real gift to others – as I’m sure so many people will relate in some way. Thanks for sharing this with us.