A hailstorm engulfed the woods.
I walked, partially sheltered by
the bare branches,
cocooned, warm in my coat as
the hailstones drummed on my head.
It passed over, the last balls of ice
bounced off my hair as
I put my hood down.
I emerged into sunshine,
a cool fresh breeze,
You can always find contentment if you walk far enough!
Ghostly pine trees,
hilltops lost in mist,
lake reflecting grey.
then rain in sheets
scudding across the water.
Sweating in waterproofs
with leaky boots,
step by step
we are rinsed,
Can you find the stillness in movement?
Not by searching, but by the experience
of becoming aware of your body
as you move through this world.
Not by trying, but by doing.
At home within yourself,
not striving, not searching,
not analysing, not judging,
until you sense the stillness within.
Weather and circumstance have conspired recently to keep my walks short
but today I was out for hours.
And now I am weary, that lovely tiredness of the body;
heavy limbs and aching muscles
thankful for a day outside
in the sun and frost.
Mind relaxed, soul nourished
by the long views of the fells and the sea,
clear blue skies and the orange glow of bracken.
Lungs full of fresh air,
I’ll sleep well tonight.
Freezing cold weather at the weekend + trainers + not enough layers = a miserable walk.
So I rushed back indoors and sat by the fire and dreamed (and steamed)
Then wrapped myself up and put on big boots and entered the icy world again.
This time I could enjoy being outdoors.
Reminding me of the quote
‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.’
I went for a walk at the weekend in one of my favourite places in the world. Through woods and along the shore of Lake Windermere.
Walking for an hour or so, admiring the trees silhouetted against the silvery surface of the lake, late afternoon winter sunlight lighting up the trunks in shades of orange. Ancient sweet chestnuts, deeply fissured bark spiraling upwards, the same trees where as a child I used to gather chestnuts with my grandparents. Past the cathedral column trunks of huge Douglas fir, forest floor dotted with ferns. And always the gentle background lapping of water on the shore, and the breeze in the trees
Walking through layers of memories, yet alive to the present moment; that leaf, that pattern of branches against the sky, the low angled sun on the root plate of a fallen tree.
The sun set early, only a few weeks from the winter solstice. Leaving behind a silvery sky to match the lake. And the moon, rising above an old farmhouse, the smell of woodsmoke in the air.
Just an hour or so in a place I love. Sustenance for the whole week.
The power of place.
A landscape of the soul.