Teesdale morning

Opening my eyes when the children aren’t here is a little bit of a confusing event. I have forgotten myself in my sleep again and I cannot, for a split second, remember what I am. I simply have no purpose, no one to dress or feed, to hunt for shoes for or to encourage to read their homework books for me. I have no other reason to get out of bed, other than I just want to. The day suddenly is precious and I need to get up and be in it. Be of it.

But instead I lie a little longer and my mind trips and skips over reason why it’s not ok to do so. I’m not meditating, nor am I reading, I’m not doing anything at all and my mind is not at peace. It frets and worries, chews the sides of my nails and grimaces. It trips over things I should be doing: walk the dog, check the seedlings, check for eggs, have a coffee at least and accept that you’re awake. I lie still and watch this cascading dribbling of worry as it falls. I am conscious that I’m feeling urged by it but that I’m going to just lie here a little longer and let it do its thing, while I carry on doing nothing.

Outside the window the midsummer morning light makes brilliant lime yellow the conifer over the road. It waves its soft fronds gently in the breeze. Slowly it is encroaching on the telegraph pole where the common woodpecker sits and I really should talk to my neighbour about getting it trimmed. Just gently, though, like a haircut. Behind it a tall, ladylike and elegant silver fern shimmers too, as if to say I was here first. She stays in cool shadow as the conifer wakes in the sun. There is no woodpecker today, so I am free to hear the Mediterranean chatter of the sparrows. They always remind me of hot French village lanes. Ubiquitous to Britain they may be, but I never heard them until childhood holidays in hot summer France for some reason. And now the connection has been made in my mind and there it shall stay. The sound transports me from mild and upland Teesdale to the wild Atlantic coast, where wine and salt are harvested in abundance. Where donkeys wear gaiters and men wear battered hats.

Every waking is my chance to dream awake. Again and again.

I listen to the rhythmic, deep, healing breath of my husband as he sleeps his weekend sleep beside me. He is my reason. When I forget my own, he gently brings me back to myself. I know that when he awakes he will want to get out and dream awake too, it’s just that he calls it something else.

The conifer dips into shadow and turns just green again. Now back to lime yellow. Now back to green. It’s a dappled day. The wood pigeon is awake. The frantic nesting days are behind them all and now it’s the time for scrawny fledglings on hedges. Once a baby great tit got a bit discombobulated and fluttered onto my finger. Gripping tightly into my flesh like a baby’s pinch it surprised me with its power of life. Then it realised its mistake and jumped clumsily off into tall grass. I detached my wonder and joy and walked away. For it may be dinner for the circling crow, or wrapped around by the slow worms that are abundant in these parts, if they eat baby great tits that is. Maybe it will fight it off and learn a great lesson in the meantime. Of the urge to life that courses unbidden through its veins and will make it do unbidden things, to survive. And to continue.

The lime green conifer now has a back drop of grey massing clouds where before there was the freshly washed blue of morning. I really should get up. Because. Who knows why. I’ve a feeling there are things to be done, things to be felt and seen and joys to be had. Other joys, I am nudged to believe. This daily premonition is what urges me on to live my life outside and beyond, what makes each day a reward for the last one I had.

For the children will be back soon and I like to tell them of my little adventures just as they tell me of theirs. I may show them a fossil I found, or a bright pheasant feather, or tell them the story of the baby great tit. The day needs to be lived before it can be told as the curtains are drawn and bedtime beckons.

Off I go.




Where do we go from here?

I have long felt that the way things are cannot be sustained. I have felt that we cannot disconnect the suffering we see in a far away land from the comfort I feel here in my home. When I sit by and allow things I cannot condone to happen, then I am as bad as if I’d done it myself. So, it is clear to me that the ways things are surely must come to an end. By shaking the foundations of the very establishments that hold us so secure, we are actually forwarding the painful process of change. In the long view, what is unleashed in the process cannot last and will not last. Fear, prejudice, selfishness, these are the now overt elements of what was already here. The trick of the Establishment has ever been to keep us from looking them directly in the eye yet using them to justify immoral means. But now these are open, above ground, visible. And now we cannot hide from what has been festering within our comfortable world.

Yet these too will diminish in time as what they fought for turns out to be a horrendous mutant of what went before. They perhaps don’t realise that they are only taking the underbelly of emotions of what has always been and making them new. What will really be new is when the Earth Herself heaves up in cataclysmic protest against all who have undone Her delicate balance, when capitals are flooded and humans drown in their own confusion. When the paper that fiscal policy is written upon disintegrates in the water and the air poisons swathes of this green and pleasant land. And if it’s not our own British green and pleasant land being poisoned, it will be that of lands once flourishing in the cradle of farming, or the dawning of new religions. The people fleeing to us. To us! As if we have different answers to the ones they once dared to dream were right. People, like me and my husband, my daughters and their unborn sibling. Bodies with dreams and wishes, memories and desires, with thoughts and learning, joys and tears. People. Who drowned off our shores because of the death rattle of the establishments, like the one we’ve just taken away.

This is a globe and these are global times. What happens to you happens to me. It’s always been thus, but now it is so very obvious. I am retreating, slowly from the world. I retreat from the cyber world for my personal mental health, I have retreated from fashions and consumerism. I have retreated into good friends and good food, soul-nourishing experiences and deeply meaningful moments. I have retreated into work that reconnects. Yet I need to forever renew my retreating. For this is a damaged world and a damaged mess to which I cannot see an end.

Yet, nothing is ever the same, from moment to moment. What we feel today will be a fuzzy memory in time. Things may not even have been important enough to worry about, but perhaps only time really shows us that. Time long after my time. For now, I will meditate under the apple tree and feel the cells of who went before all around me. For now.

What’s on this Summer 2016

The mediation Circle is returning this Thursday 9th June, 7.30pm every week. Come along if you can, £3 donation towards costs.

Ecotherapy workshop this September: the need for personal change in a consumer world is upon us. Through this workshop you will find out about your connection to the landscape and find ways to look at how your life reflects your views on the world. The workshop will show you ways in which you can connect on a deeper level to the beautiful world around you, through consumer choices, use of materials, your use of fuels and anything else which may be an important aspect upon which to look. It is  a one-day workshop to connect to your living landscape, and to find your place within it. We will use meditation techniques and guided visualisations in a group setting to allow you to access your inner understanding of this relationship, as well as discussion and self-exploration. The work is mainly outdoors, so be prepared.

Bring your own lunch. £35 Dates TBA, please look out for posters and online notifications!