What calms and settles …

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Today we’ve enjoyed the company of a friend who sought a day’s peace and quiet. ‘Just a little bit of stillness.’ And I knew just the place, close by, to find some stillness – the kind that facilitates the quietest sort of conversation, unrushed, with plenty of silence between words and sentences (if we don’t count the racket created by three hugely enthusiastic woodpeckers!)

So we headed uphill. On foot. The drystone wall pictured here was chief among the features of the landscape that my friend alighted upon quickly. This landscape helps people breathe life deep. And I recalled a poem I penned, on a similar walk, in the autumn of last year. A friend’s quiet seeking led me too, once again, into ‘a little bit of stillness’.

What of vast realities do I see,
gazing on lake and fell and drystone wall?
What do I hear here, deep in my soul in
this present, and my soul’s memory hall?

What calms and settles my undue haste and
whence the touch, smell and taste on the breeze?
What in wide and expansive openness
places me thankfully, deeply at ease?

What about this being here restores me
to an ancient and forgotten knowing?
Here in high magnificence I now breathe
life deep and am both come and going.

SRM

Storm Doris en route

Early evening weather-watching walk today, and I want to allow these photos their own space. Across six miles the sky invited poets to let their imaginations run wild. I’m astonished every day by how quickly the landscape changes. I’m often reminded that the Coleridges and the Wordsworths routinely walked distances that would make most of us blanche today. That’s where their poetry and journals came from.

As they were friends and companions for each other, so, too, they kept company with landscape, indeed with their entire natural environment. The met office reports tonight that Storm Doris is headed for the UK. The (bit of a) panentheist in me rather approves of the recent practice of naming weather phenomena. Though no new poem has arisen in my heart and head tonight, Dorothy Wordsworth’s instinct for journal-keeping nudges. I wonder what she’d make of twenty-first century blogging. Or motorised transport?

Thornthwaite

Morning reunion with M and C – and reflection since on life-elements shared: art, connections, education and experience, faith, France, friendship, hearts, homes, hospitality, memories and presence – infinite ripples that radiate from the concentric facts of each of us.

Heavy cloud, a stiff breeze and driving rain whipped the surface of the lake. Cloud sculptures scurried by at fellside half-height, and the Artist’s timeless beauty stirred us, homeward-bound, in winter’s graduated greys.

Clouds and fells, rain and rocks and rivers, mountain streams and lake’s depth, sodden soils and the sun’s persisting rays, and four friends: landscapes within, before and beyond time. Ordinary concentric circling communion. Holy ground.