Into The Woods

My favorite walk

photo by author last summer

When I feel a bit stressed or just have itchy feet, I love to go to the ancient woodland along the harbour.

Half the journey is getting there. I see birds, both waterbirds and the common or garden variety.

The scent of the harbor is the first awareness. The salt air refreshes the senses as if cleansing the palletThen wild orchids appear along with other plants and small shrubs. Buttercups, wild geraniums, flax, and blossom from brambles.

Then butterflies and bees and wasps make themselves visible, teasing as they alight and fly away, returning and repeating their dance of flight. Cyclists pass, it is all good natured, and time of day is passed with other walkers.

The reed beds come into sight. I see gulls actually diving for fish instead of eating dropped human food in the town. Swans and ducks glide through the apparent stillness.

Trees approach. I feel a relief, as if all my cares will be lifted by the boughs and leaves gently whisper their energy to me, softly, on the breeze. I go into the green embrace of ancient woods with gnarled trunks and thick roots. I wonder at the mycelium that created this wonder. Trees be. They are living and talking to each otherThey feed the needy ones and choose where a sapling will sprout.

The green is soothing. My soul finds nourishment. My eyes rest on twisted branches where moths restlook closely and maybe there is a bat. All is alive, even dying logs are teeming with life as beetles start the decaying process. I feel embraced and sheltered in the tunnels of green. Sounds of birds are music for the cathedral-like trees, majestic and strong.

Strange entanglements of wood and ferns and undergrowth. Sunlight is dappled through the canopy of green. It is peace and joy both at once. Uplifting but full of awe.

Gradually, I come out to meadow and must leave other paths unexplored until another day.

Published in Weeds and Flowers


Coming Closer to Our Souls

Our souls are expanded by experiencing difficulty. Whether one calls it the soul, the heart, the mind, or the spirit, humans grow as they encounter the trials of life.

Long before Freud, Jung, or any other psychologist, Rainer Maria Rilke, poet, said;
“That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter.”

He wrote this in a letter to a young man in 1904.

Poets by nature reflect on many things in life. My journey in this world has shown me the suffering of others and the difficulties they face.

I have worked in countries where children die of curable diseases because rumor are spread about vaccines being some kind of western poison. In some countries, like India for example, a visit to to the doctor is incomplete if they do not leave with medicine — most commonly antibiotics. This is tragic as we become immune to them and we can die of sepsis because of the immunity. That is a terrible death.

Seeing such mysterious beliefs and so much poverty, has caused great sadness. I embrace it because I am human and thus have compassion. Sometimes, all we can do is sit and experience sadness or grief, hurt, or rejection. This is the expansion of our soul.

When we do this, we begin to know ourselves

This increases our empathy for others. We gain insight to the human condition beyond our own. We become better humans. Better poets.

We do not need to hold hold onto these feelings forever. We heal, we are heard, mostly, and we can find solace in nature, gardening, walking, or making things. Knowing ourselves.

But our souls are expanded. Enhanceed. We gain wisdom from our experiences as well as our education and reading. We learn to make sense of our lives and the world around us. We have self-knowledge, and therefore we are of more value to the world, even though many may walk away from our growth

Published in Know Thyself, Heal Thyself


Thought for the day…

Yes . The lover you had. The horrid boss. The mother in law. Theperson at the photocopier. Every one.


Some Apprehension

Photo Credit: Unknown

Last night I took my last antibiotic and in about an hour I will take the last of the steroids I have been prescribed.

I don’t feel as well as I feel I should. So I have apprehension about the weekend, knowing my only source of medical help will be paramedics and that it will probably mean going into hospital if I need to call them.

Hospital is not as friendly as it once was. They are understaffed and now underfunded due to the austerity measures over the last ten years, since we all bailed out the banks. What an injustice that has been. The National Health Service is changing beyond all recognition, and will soon be like the American system, which I find appalling.

I am an activist. I lobby and protest, not always in person, but I stand up to be counted. This makes me much loved by some and despised by others. I get comments like ‘no politics please’ on my neighbourhood website, while others thank me for informing them and trying to stop big corporation taking over and smiting the poorest of us and the most vulnerable.

Famine is always manmade. War kills only the innocent.

I have limited my activism in the last few months because the lack of change has affected my mental health. I get such dark thoughts and self destructive longings. I cannot afford that. I need to keep hold of the joy in living, the wonder in things I see every day.

I am so full of gratitude for my lady who cleans for me. Sam brings me joy. I am grateful for Matthew, Ruth, Jane, Sheila, Frances, Performdie, Roly, Maggie, Judy, Tanya, Nick, Lisa, Robbie and so many others who love me and add to my life is their unique ways.

No matter what happens to me I have so much to be grateful for. I thank God that even when people have despitefully used me, others come to fill a void.

But aren’t we all made of voids and plenty? We all have holes in our souls as well as abundance. It is a question of keeping our spirits sweet, not allowing bitterness to take root.

My sister Pamela is missing from my life, my Dad and my dog. Oh my dog. My daughter’s visits are never enough.

Loving hurts. It is a choice we make and renew daily.