It has been a busy week, the finishing stage of the Tour de France and very good news for British riders and now the Olympics. But in between I managed to get out in the countryside. We have a country park less than 2 miles away so I charged up the battery on my mobility scooter so I could go there with my friend Simon who walks while I ride!
It was a lovely morning, still cool but the sun was starting to appear. It was so good to get out there and despite a few hiccups on the path we managed to get all the way around the park stopping for a cup of tea at the park cafe. Many others were out too, lots of dog walkers (it is popular for these) but it was so good to see the water, the ducks, the trees and wild flowers. I love to breathe in the energy from all of nature and this was a good way to do it.
In the afternoon, I was able to go on a tree walk organised by the Town Estate in the town park. This was a gentle stroll which I could manage, again with water and some beautiful trees including some sequoias. I really felt I had been blessed and my energy levels were raised high after such a time outside in nature. Here is a photo from the country park.
I am an avid watcher of the Tour de France and this year has been no exception. But what has this to do with druidry?
In my younger years and especially in my teens and twenties, I rode a bike every day. I rode to school or work, out with a club on Sundays and training session in the week as well. I was fit and healthy and loved being outside. Many times we cycled over country tracks and in the lesser known parts of the countryside. We felt free, breathed clean air and in many ways we communed with nature. When I look back I sense the freedom of those days, the enjoyment and fulfilment after a long days ride. These were the days before mobile phones, indeed a land line was a luxury and a colour TV was only for those with money. But we did not need these things, we had the open skies to see, the rivers to sit by and often wade or cycle through and clean air to breathe. Mobile phones, DVDs and other technological items do not compensate for the enjoyment and freedom of those long ago days. Many of my cycling friends still cycle in their 70’s and enjoy the great outdoors still. The photo for this week is a very old one when I was about 18. I think it is a print taken from a colour slide, the ‘in’ technology of that time! Watching the Tour de France, I also took in the wonderful landscapes around. So much to see and enjoy and I have a dream to tour France when this great cycle race is on. Any takers out there?
I was lucky enough to have another trip out to Launde Abbey this week, having lunch with my local WI members. It was a beautiful day for once and I was able to take advantage of the weather after lunch. The spiral I had found in the woods was now finished and had become a labyrinth with a couple of very sharp turns. One of these passed around a holly tree which had drooping branches. There was a notice at the entrance explaining the purpose of the labyrinth and in the centre was a bowl of stones with a notice asking you to take a stone to represent something you wanted to give away. You were to take the stone home with you then dispose of it perhaps by burying it or putting it in a river. Then you would have given away the thing that you had wanted to give away. Launde Abbey community is a Christian community so I found this labyrinth very refreshing to see.
For me personally I enjoy walking the labyrinth and finding the silence that comes with this. It is an amazing place to be and the whole area has lovely energy which both refreshes, calms and brings creativity and peace. Here is another photo of the centre of the labyrinth.
If you follow a spiritual path, does this help you through the bad times? It is a question often asked by some and discussed by others. I know that my spiritual path has helped me through difficult times. There was a really bad time several years ago when I often thought that if I did not wake up in the morning it would be fine. But, something helped me through this patch. Was it the thought of what I still needed to do with my life? Was it the thought that others would be hurt? Whatever it was, I came through this bad patch much stronger and more able to cope when the next bad patch arrived.
I hear of young people taking their own lives and find this very sad. We are failing our young people, we ignore them and do not listen when they need to talk. Our communities have long gone due to the lack of work around our home areas so people move away and leave behind their families. Some families split because of arguments and feuds and leave the most vulnerable of the family members without support. We need to look at what community really is and how a spiritual path can help. I am not talking about God in this spiritual path but the way we live our lives and see the connections between us all and our landscapes and those that live on it. A good community supports every one when in need and this is sadly lacking in our current world. Think, listen and support should be words we use in their widest sense. Listening to someone who is hurting is a way of healing and it is free to all of us. Taking a walk in nature is healing too and can bring peace to troubled minds. But it is not that simple I know so please do what you can to help those in need.
Photo taken by Simon Hall in Bourne Woods
This week has been an amazing week for unusual weather. On Thursday there was what has been called a superstorm with hailstones as big as golf balls and flash floods in unexpected places. Travel was brought to a halt as landslides carried away the railway lines and schools were flooded bringing a halt to education for several days.
Cars were damaged by the hailstones and gardens trashed. The power was put out in several places including supermarkets and there was even a small tornado.
In the US, wild fires rage destroying property and woodland and fleeing animals have to find new homes.
What is all this telling us? It seems to me as if there are lots of small wake-up calls going on here. It is only when tragedy strikes that people start to see life in a different way and look at how they live their lives. Our world has become greedy and very materialistic and we need to change our ways of living. If you have had damage from these storms, look at your life and see what you need to change. Nature is more powerful than any huge banking consortium! This weeks photo is of a river in North Wales, not in full flood, but showing its power nonetheless.