Forever delighted by silhouettes of mountains and trees against the sky – brightest blue, or overcast and dotted about with cotton wool, there’s never a day when an hour’s drive in Lakeland is not rewarding. The scenery is constantly changing and never appears the same twice. And so it is with us. Vibrant with energy, unique beauty, and giftedness too, we can’t hold off change in the dynamic art of our lives, even if we wanted to.
Dozens of lambs cheerfully cavorting like mini jump jets – many of them calling ‘mmmaaaaaam’ – have added to the sunshiny beauty of this Mothering Sunday. I’ve been chatting on the phone with my 86 year old mum while out walking this afternoon. Were I still to have her energy, enthusiasm and zest for life at that age I shall be a happy man! Meanwhile ‘happy is how I look / and that is all …’ – be it in Lakeland, in Edinburgh, or in dozens of other wonderful places, all around the world. And happier? – yes, when I think of the peace that must come for Ukraine and other war-torn nations – sooner, rather than later.
Each season bears unique joys to us. There’s a mellowness about late summer / early autumn here that I’m always grateful for. A softening of the light. A softening succession of reflection at both morning and evening. A softening awareness of the importance of home – wheresoever ‘home’ may be for us at any given time.
Wildflowers have attracted hundreds of bees and butterflies so that the garden is full of the hum of satisfied pollen-seekers quietly going about their business. I’ve revelled for half an hour this morning in recalling a lovely Instagram photo I saw recently – of two replete bees, sleeping in the soft petals of a poppy, two of them together, because apparently they like to hold each other’s knees and feet while they sleep! Who knew? And the butterflies speak silently of the complex metamorphosing journeys they’ve been on. And so do I.
The red squirrels are stocking up supplies and I feel close to them as I stack the log store with sweet smelling kiln-dried ash for the stove. Occasionally split logs are reunited – or at least seen close to each other again – and their rings speak of their story too, and I wonder where the engineered oak boards of my little sitting room once flourished elsewhere, and from whence came this ash, knowing how well it will scent and warm home until it becomes whatever comes next.
The slant of the early sunlight illuminates the promises of the morning – and asks to be remembered should tomorrow be a grey day. And the colours of the garden flowers prompt thoughts of harvest – and especially, this morning, somehow, of the warm scent of harvest bread from a distance, far away …
Evening meals begin to move away from salad-stuffs, turning towards the more substantial – buttered and minted potatoes, greens and steak pie.
And after brisk walks, lungs full of fresh air, and daily reacquaintance with the long backbone of the Pennine Ridge and the Ullswater Fells – sometimes under mist and sometimes mirage, autumnal movement towards books and the piano again. The gentle, slow clip-clopping of horse and rider passing my window suggest that they, too, are inclined less to rush today and more to a quieter, calmer contemplation.
I know these gifts are important, and reasons enough for profound thankfulness in a world which is also beset with fear and wonder, a sense of separateness – between one human and another, and between humankind and other life forms too. I ask myself in late summer to make time to be aware of others – near and far, in peace or fear. I seek to be more aware of the gift of the breath in my body, and in every body. I wonder in awe at the sleeping holding of the bees’ knees, and the instinct that directs a red squirrel’s calendar. I celebrate the ‘I see!’ miracles that unfold into sunlight from the incomprehensible depths of wildflower seeds, and the life-story record written in the rings in trees.
And you and I contemplate the cyclical dying, and the rising of the light … 🌻🍂☀️
A busy day ahead for the Royals down in Windsor. I’m wishing all possible joy and happiness for Prince Harry & Meghan. A less hectic start to my day here in sunny Lakeland – with only my bike, birds and the fells for company. I watched a small biplane until it became no more than a tiny dot on the horizon and some thoughts from Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee’s High Flight came to mind:
… and while with silent
lifting mind I trod
the high untrespassed
sanctity of space
put out my hand and
touched the face
Everyone’s been smiling in and around our village today – something that is always noticeable when the day got off to a start like this one did. The glorious commixture of acres of frosted green, the steaming breath of humans and animals alike, deep blue sky and finger-pinching cold is something simply – well – magical!
For friends who really like lots of photos, here’s an album slideshowof my morning’s ambling.