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!
We adored the place. Coming to it we used to run down to the lake, dip our hands in and wish, as if we had just seen the new moon. Going away from it, we were half drowned in tears. No matter where I was, wandering about the world, I used at night to look for the North Star and, in my minds eye, could see the beloved skyline of great hills beneath it.
Floating in the perfect
rock channel harbour
of Wild Cat
Island of my imagination
and childhood reading.
Today I didn’t land
but basked in the sun
reflecting on half forgotten dreams,
happy that a life where this place
is just down the road
was one dream
I made happen.
And I wonder if there are
other dreams from younger days
buried in the habits of adulthood,
which I could choose to bring to life.
At a conference,
head bursting with ideas.
Talks about nature and wellbeing,
the benefit of mindful ‘forest bathing’,
the importance of nature connections.
dried up by windowless rooms,
and too many strangers.
Break time and I escape
into a bookshop.
Funny how I always end up in one of these
when the urban world becomes too much.
My shoulders drop as I cross the threshold,
calm among wood
pulped and pressed into pages,
the ghosts of trees.
A forest of paper and words,
I feel at home
I don’t read them, just soak in the cathedral-like atmosphere
and refrain from buying another expensive notebook.
I feel the benefit of a kind of forest bathing,
a tenuous connection to nature
until I can get back to the real thing.
Gripped by anxiety,
a looming hospital appointment,
I failed to notice the world outside
where the blackbird continued to sit on her nest in the rain,
and despite my unawareness
the symphony of spring carried on.
Then suddenly, I realized.
I don’t have to fight you any more
I just have to relax.
We are not separate,
you are not something to be held at bay
by techniques and force of mind.
You are a response to a situation,
You have always been the frightened child
I pushed away.
Now you are welcome to rest here
until we both feel safe again.
A queen bee stopped on a flower, unnoticed,
unmoved by my revelation
as I wiped away a tear,
but I will remember.
A rushing kind of a day
Deep within the demands of work
So I concentrate
Get things done
And forget myself
Now it’s evening and
I peel myself away from the TV
Put on some music
Slow down into
An hour later
Reawoken to the truth
That if I slow down
Underneath the rush
Below the fear, the fuss, the resistance
Peace is always waiting
There were holes in
This one wonderful creative life
It had got a little threadbare
Over the years
In need of darning
A light had dimmed
And now, I’m adding threads
Wild snatches of music
Experienced from the inside
Part of a circle of people playing
For themselves and for each other
Sharing tunes and memories
And weaving a richer life
The warp and weft of friendships
Stories, rhythms, rhymes
And the hills of the Lake District
And a scattering of colour, paint on canvas,
Feeling the lines and texture flow from the brush in my hand
The peace of deep, relaxed movement
Taking time to reconnect
The wake of a canoe across the lake
Adding a silvery thread
All absolutely necessary
Now I know what I’ve been missing
All of this is what I need
Now there are no threadbare patches left
In the tapestry that is
This creative life
Driving to work
Past fields and hedges and trees without leaves,
The distant fells of the Lake District,
A milky opalescent dawn sky,
And I feel so happy
And I think, if I could send a message
To my younger self
I would say
I know things don’t feel easy.
But it will all work out in the end.
Take it one step at a time, don’t worry so much.
Life still has its ups and downs,
But the view from here is worth it.’