The bud stands for all things, even for those things that don’t flower, for everything flowers from within
Galway Kinnell St Francis and the Sow
Morning mist and sharp frost, keeping company with the Moon set in a deep blue sky. I’m glad I remembered my gloves. And I notice the life-channelling veins in leaves, and berries galore, and toadstools, and that a pheasant in the field appears to be meditating. And buds. I notice buds: now, at this time of the year, on this frosty Autumn morning, as though certain elements of life simply can’t wait to get on with living – risk of being nipped notwithstanding.
I took off a glove and hovered my warm hand over the ice crystals settled on one of them – I don’t know what kind. The ice melted, of course, and I wondered and wondered about how ‘everything flowers from within.’ And felt very tender …
As Galway Kinnell continued:
… sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness, to put a hand on the brow of the flower and retell it in words and in touch it is lovely until it flowers again from within …
The bud stands for all things … everything flowers from within.
… to look out of my window at the high pass makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what my soul may wear over its new complexion
Fleur Adcock Weathering
Yesterday, 10 degrees Celsius. This morning, a bracing, mind-clearing 2! But bracing and mind-clearing are good things, aren’t they?
It’s good to be awake enough to notice the changes that the passing hours, in every day, in each season, bring. There’s so obviously a ‘designed’ purpose and intent in the innumerable cycles of life and death on earth, and in us – mind, heart, body and soul.
It’s also true that most of us – all of us? – are less keen on the bracing elements and the ‘dyings’ in the midst of life; less keen on the being blown about – sometimes even brought to the ground – by capricious winds; less keen on shock or surprise; less keen on streaming eyes and having forgotten our gloves; less keen on ‘Weathering.’
But the thing about a bracing morning is that our minds are cleared sufficiently to recall that there’s actually extraordinary beauty in the right here and the right now, and – beyond this season – that Spring will come …
Joy isn’t some superfluous extra. It’s directly connected to our fundamental instinct for survival. On the most basic level – the drive toward joy is the drive to toward life
Ingrid Fetell Lee
Within the space of an hour last evening I was in touch with two friends who were observing the Moon. One on the other side of the Atlantic – planning to set a 3am alarm in the hope of seeing the longest partial lunar eclipse in 600 years, and the other North of me in the UK, moon-watching through the winter-limbs of a favourite tree.
And I was here, pondering the effect of la Luna upon vast ocean tides, and upon me … ‘peace …’, ‘strong but gentle pull’, ‘mellow light’, ‘sonata’, ‘spaciousness’, ‘awareness of the here and now’, ‘conscious, though inexplicable, delight.’
Are you drawn to the sharp and angular? Or to curvy, colourful, expressive, soft and round? How, for you, does joy look and sound? If any of these questions are of the slightest interest to you, when and wheresoever you may be, please meet Ingrid Fetell Lee – and keep on meeting, as often as you may need …
Whether it’s the mind-stretching symmetry in the construction of individual snowflakes, or the paintings created everywhere in this season by fallen leaves, or sunlight on ocean waves, daffodils in Spring, sunrise, full moon, starry sky, or the colour and pattern in the iris of your eye – this world is an extraordinary creation! And all this came to mind in the course of my morning stretch and walk. Our minds, too, being nothing less than a wonder …
I watch the sunrise Lighting the sky Casting its shadows near And on this morning Bright though it be I feel those shadows Near me
A loved family member left this world yesterday – and I try to imagine reunions – impossible though it be to imagine the omnipresent Love that I believe must abide, both here and beyond our experience in this world. John’s late wife was my cousin – someone who tousled my hair, always smiling, encouraging and cheering me through the trials and joys of youth; she loved sunrise. So my morning walk today was … well, how can I say? … doubly special. Go well, John x
Today’s shout out is for my optometrist and his colleague, a dispensing optician. I’ve been concerned, for a while now, about continuing eyesight problems after treatment for a retinal tear. And you know how it is: the things that go on in our heads!
Well, suffice to say, after a very thorough and highly educational optometry consultation this morning, followed up by advice and encouragement from the dispensing optician, I walked out of their premises with a spring in my step. And the words of the day are: ‘reassured’ and ‘new glasses’. Soft square is the style of the new specs – not, actually, a description of me!
I’ve been thinking since about how hugely important are the people in our lives who provide us with support and reassurance. In the midst of what was a very busy morning for both my advisors, I nonetheless felt seen, heard and encouraged as though I were the only person they needed to see today. That’s priceless. And deeply appreciated.
Reassurance is something we all have opportunities to provide that – sometimes – we’re uniquely ‘qualified’ to offer. I shall hope to be able to make someone else feel as good as the entire team at EEC made me feel this morning. Thank you!
Grey day – inside or out? Chatting with a friend today (on a Lakeland grey day!) reminded me of the importance of making time for daydreams – about all the wonderful places, encounters and events that lie ahead of us. Limitless possibilities and choices. Close your eyes, encourage recall of blue skies and warmth somewhere, and perhaps of lovely company, and away you go – daydreaming. And daydreams are worth their weight in gold, even if they only stay that way. But some ‘really do come true’ …
Above the storm
Sheer through the storm into the sun the plane
Shot, streaming silver from its wings;
And he who'd won through volleys of blind rain
And baffling smother of dense cloud
To heights of rare
And eager air,
Keen-edged as icy wine,
Where only man's heart sings
In the celestial hyaline,
Where only man's heart sings, adoring,
Beyond the range even of the eagle's soaring -
He, who braved the tempest's rage and roaring,
Sang out above the loud
As in the crystal light
Above the cursed white
Of billowy snows
Even to his own heart's height;
And happily in flashing flight
He soared and swooped
And zoomed and looped
With ease unerring
Through the unsearchable inane
In dizzy circles of insane
And death-defying insolence
Of youth's delight
Above the sunny dense
And seething cloud whereunder
Still rolled the thunder
Over an earth already drowned in night.
He soared and swooped again,
Exulting in the flawless enginery
Of hand and brain
That, even in the heady urgency
And wildest flight
Of his insatiable soul,
Obeying his intrepid will,
Still kept serene control
Of his frail plane
Ever on peril's edge and swung
In thin and scarce-sustaining air
As by a single hair,
When one missed heart-beat or untaken breath
Might lunge him in a fiery plunge to death.
And still in aerial ecstasy,
A flittering midge in the infinity
Of heaven, he revelled till the light
Drained even from that celestial height,
And through the icy beryl of the night
Star after star dawned silverly.
Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, 1878-1962
of Hexham, Northumberland
Another startlingly beautiful Autumn morning walk during which Wilfrid Gibson’s ‘Above the Storm’ has echoed in me. A friend, at the village’s Remembering, later, said: ‘and so to the turning of the year.’ And it is heartening, touching, to see youngest and oldest standing, contemplating, remembering here. Yes, in so many more ways than one, ‘the turning of the year.’
And Nature, in this turning, calms and steadies both our remembering and our hoping. Walking homewards each morning I marvel at the bedrock of the Pennine Ridge – the ‘spine’ of the United Kingdom. Sometimes warmed by illuminating sunlight, sometimes dark and brooding; today, it seems – like cosseted, dust-covered furniture in a stately home – softly covered with a duvet of fluffy cloud – sustaining, watering and warming. Yes, ‘he rose / Even to his own heart’s height.‘
I’ll tell you how the sun rose, — A ribbon at a time. The steeples swam in amethyst, The news like squirrels ran. The hills untied their bonnets, The bobolinks begun. Then I said softly to myself, “That must have been the sun!”
There’s sometimes a deep silence at the heart of a daily walk: the silence of natural elements fallen and becoming. The silence in colours changing before one’s eyes. The silence of flight, and of the omnipresent mountain, the placid cow, or horse, or flock of sheep. The silence of the hawthorn hedge because the air is now still. The silence of memory and of tomorrow. And there’s often a silence just beneath the surface of my slight breathlessness: and it’s the classroom where I keep on learning who I am: and sometimes I say softly “That must have been the sun!”