The weather has been very wet this last week and I mean very wet. It has rained and rained with heavy downpours for a lot of the time. But there have been intervals when it has been fine and sunny. So I had to take advantage of these breaks in the rain. There was gardening to do, a lot of tidying up of dead flowers and scattered leaves on the ground. Then there was the shopping and getting out when I could.
Using the time when I was stuck indoors gave me a lot of choice with things to do. The usual housework and cooking but time for other things like starting new projects and deciding what to do with old ones. I wrote a book some months ago and it is ready to be published but having struggled with a US tax form from amazon I decided not to publish the new book but to write it in my history blog as several posts. As my wordpress sites are free they will still be there when I am gone and will be there for others to use the information in the blog posts as they wish.
Deciding on this action enabled me to start another local history project which has been in my mind for some time. This will be about the children who ended up in the workhouse during the 1800s. From what I have already researched there will be some sad stories but also some tales of achievement too.
One day I did manage to get out with some friends and we went to Bradgate Park. This area has been a park since at least 1241. Bradgate Park, renowned for its fine herds of deer, is the only remaining enclosed medieval deer park in the East Midlands and contains the oldest rocks in England. It is also the birthplace and childhood home of the nine days 16th century Queen of England, Lady Jane Grey. There are ruins of her home there too. There are also some magnificent oak trees which are at least 500 years old as well as a small river running through the park. It is a popular place and always has a lot of visitors. But that break during the week was really good. I enjoyed being outside, in the open air with the deer, the oaks and the life in the river. By the time I got home it was raining again! But I think I have used my time well this week.
Equinox, a time of equal day and night, a balance between the two. But everything around us seems out of balance. I do think that the Equinox also signals change as we prepare for the darker days and the colder weather here in the UK. I look around me at the chaos in our world and try to stay balanced but that is hard to do.
After my time out I felt energised and able to do things I had needed to do for a long time. That soon came to a halt as my body decided otherwise and some tiny movement unwittingly triggered a sequence of pain in various parts of my body. So much for balance!
There are definite signs of autumn in the garden as the flowers die back and the hedge has had its annual trim. I have a wonderful thick hedge left over from when this area was farmland. It consists of hawthorn mainly but there is holly and elder also in it. It provides a wonderful home for many birds and also food for them as brambles also grow there. It is still thick and high though and the birds still love it. They give me enjoyment too as I can sit and watch them for hours.
At this moment as I write this blog, the rain is pouring down heavily. We do need the rain and I am sure when it stops everything will look brighter and greener as the dirt and dust is washed away. Rain is so cleansing. But I do not like the dark days as I find them depressing. Trying to stay in balance is hard then too.
This week I was working at my table when something outside caught my eye. A dragonfly which decided to sit on my garden path. I tried to take a photo through the window but it wasn’t very good so took my camera outside hoping that the dragonfly was still there. I then discovered there were two of them having fun mating on my path. I don’t know where they would go to lay the eggs but I am not too far from a small river and lake in the nearby country park. I felt quite privileged that they had chosen my garden path for the their mating union. A positive end to my ramblings. The dragonflies can be the photo for this blog.
My time out has obviously been good for me. This week I had enough energy to do things that have needed doing for several months. This included a lot of sorting out, recycling, giving away and generally disposing of things no longer needed. It feels good to have done this and I also feel much lighter. There is still more to do and more decisions to make but I am half way there.
I have spent some time reflecting though, taking the time to sit by the large window and watch the activity in the garden. There are plenty of birds around and there are still some butterflies and the occasional dragonfly. There are also lots of bees around as there are still flowers in bloom although we are getting to the end of the summer season as autumn is approaching now.
Another thing I have been doing is making scrapbooks. I buy rather nice blank ones with a brown cover and brown pages inside. Very earthy! I sorted out photos, got them printed and decided which photos to go in which scrapbook. I have made scrapbooks before and they are good as memory books. I like looking back at places I have been and what I did in those places and what I saw. It makes me appreciate how much travelling I have done in the last thirty years even though I only stay in England nowadays.
The scrapbooks are also a way of recording the different butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies I have seen as many are specific to certain areas and are not widespread. For me it is also about recording the beauty of our natural world and allows me to stay grounded and strong while the outside world is crumbling down around us. Whatever happens in the future, I will have records of what it is like now in our natural world. The photo is taken in my garden where the cosmos flowers reign.
It has been an interesting few weeks since I decided to take some time out from my busy world and just look after me and just be me, if that makes sense. Much of this time was spent at home, resting, watching the birds and butterflies in the garden and doing as little as possible. Yet I still felt tired and had no mojo, no inclination to do any creative work.
So I listened to music especially that of Einaudi, a minimalist composer who has written a lot of piano music. I found this very soothing and restful and there was a little thought that maybe I could compose music like that. But I just sat there and listened and meditated and did nothing else that did not have to be done.
This last week I spent three days on a retreat at a nearby retreat centre. It is owned and run by the Church of England but all are welcome and there is no pressure. I have been going there now for some years and have always enjoyed it and benefited from my stay there. The food is good and at regular intervals and the gardens and woodland as well as the surrounding landscape are beautiful and peaceful. There is no phone signal although there is now wi-fi and internet access in all areas.
I spent a lot of time sitting by the pond waiting for the dragonflies to appear. I did see them but getting photos was hard to do. However the robin and the squirrel posed beautifully for me. I walked in the woods and explored the labyrinth in the grounds behind a walled garden. The labyrinth was not at its best as the meadow in which it is situated had been mown and the grass and wild flowers were hiding the path around it. But it was good to sit up there looking out over the countryside and enjoying the peace of it all. But my mojo returned and one day I wrote several poems, something I have not done for some time. I also ate far too much but returned home feeling much better and ready to do things of a creative nature after catching up with all the other stuff.
But coming home can be quite hard. In many ways I am lucky to live alone so I can take my time assimilating myself back into our chaotic world. Others do not get the same privilege if they have family. I am also now being able to stand back from the chaos and look at the wider picture. I am able to watch the ‘dark’ elements of our world come to the front so that we awaken more to what can be and are able to give out more light. There is hope but the future might not be what we expect.
The photo is taken from the bottom of the woodland looking out at the Abbey where I stayed.