“How I go to the woods
Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.”
― Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems
It's early — real early for a Sunday. I'm in the groove again — lucky ol' me, eh!
The coffee is poured. Sadly, it's not my normal brew but it's OK for now.
And I've got some nice music playing through my headphones — the ones they gave me from work with brilliant noise cancellation.
What could be more perfect?
Well actually, and I know I'm truly blessed, my walk in and with nature, which routinely happens at around 7 am or sometimes a bit earlier, depending on how much time I spend online and then stretching and exercising in the lounge.
I'll say it again. . In fact, I'm lucky as hell; but then again, I did make the choice to move to Devon in August 1992. I could have stayed in London working but it didn't feel right on so many levels. (I'm not sure it ever did.)
I suppose then, at heart, I'm a country bumpkin.
For the record, even if I didn't have the majesty, as the above picture amply demonstrates, of my current locus in quo, I can guarantee that wherever I was in the world I'd seek her out — nature that is.
She's my superpower:
1. She enriches my soul;
2. She steadies my nerves;
3. She fills me to the brim with creativity;
4. She takes away the pain;
5. She doesn't ask anything but gives in abundance;
6. She never judges; and
7. She's my (our) God whether that's in a giant oak or the smallest insect.
Sadly, ordinary life isn't like that. I survive at best; and sometimes I feel broken, especially when I'm with and around a lot of people. To cope (it's part of being an introvert — yes, believe it or not) I act up; I play the fool; and I make myself the centre of attention. It's all very draining.
To be honest, I've known this for a very long time. When I think back to some of the most hurtful episodes of my childhood, they're heavily interspersed with long walks around the fields and woods where I used to live. When I was told, as I so often was, to take a short walk on a long pier, I'd always lose myself in nature.
The trouble is, this CV19 pandemic and all its restrictions, including my daily walk and everything it offers to me (and Alfie!), reminds me how much working in an office and dealing with the normalcy of office life drains me. It makes me so weak. That's why I'm adamant that I'm going to make one hell of a fuss when it comes to calling time on my little sojourn at home. It's not a case of pitting myself against the Bosses — I'm not that daft — but I want to find a way of explaining how much more effective I am working from home. Also, how nature — which will always be part of my working day — helps to make me better at my job. Period.
Of course, I'm acutely aware that (a) some people don't have so much as a blade of grass to walk upon and (b) might actually come out in a rash in spending time with all those creepy crawlies. I don't know what to say — to be honest. I'm sure you have some way, though, of regaining your superpower and if that's been taken from you during this pandemic then I've very sorry. No, really I am. I'm so sorry that you're driven to despair by not being able to do the one thing that brings you greatest joy.
One last thing.
Nature isn't ours. In fact, I see myself always in service to her brilliance. How that shows up is that (certainly of late) I'm taking time to sit and pray, contemplate and meditate on the oneing I feel when I'm bathed in her spiritual sunshine. In short, I say: "Thank you for everything you offer me and the world."
There could be a postscript to this post but I'll say it here to give it its rightful importance. When I die, I've given instructions to my children to scatter my ashes in nature. I've given Floz, my youngest, the clearest instructions by dint of pointing out not the exact spot where I want them thrown but close enough to make the task as easy as possible. Previously, I wanted them scattered on the top of Owley Beacon but a dear friend of ours had her ashes scattered there and in respect to the family, I wouldn't go to the same space.
Anyhow, that's it for now.