This week I have been watching the Tour of Britain cycle race on the TV. I love the views from the helicopter looking out over the landscape. Thursday’s stage was in what I call my home area, beautiful moorlands, rocky outcrops, hills and dales and water. This landscape calls to me strongly and it is hard to describe my feelings as I view it from afar. The memories of cycling, walking and driving in that area abound as do the feelings of oneness with it all.
There are other areas which call to me as well, the mountains of Snowdonia, the Lakeland fells, the sea especially when it is rough and full of energy. But all of our land is wonderful, even the cities with their small areas of parkland. What is it about the landscape that calls to me? How do you feel about it and what types of landscape call to you the most? All land is sacred and even though I am only viewing from afar I can still feel that connection to it and feel its sacredness. The feeling of being One with the earth is very strong. Tell me how you feel about your landscape.
This week I am adding a sketch I made in 1973 of one of the rocky outcrops known as Hen Cloud.
A definite feel of Autumn in the air. Chilly mornings, darker mornings and darker earlier in the evenings. A slight touch of frost the other morning. I love this kind of day when nature can be seen at what I feel is its best, the colours of the leaves as they change each day, the clusters of berries ripening on the trees and hedgerows, and the dewy sight of spiders webs.
Summer is officially over and it is time now to look at what we have already harvested in our lives and what is left to harvest. It is a time of gratitude for all we have received whatever this is, friendship, food, healing, creativity and many other things I am sure you can think of. We are moving towards the Equinox when day and night are equal and we need to take time to look at what we have achieved too reflecting on this and seeing what we need to change in the future.
This weeks photo was taken some years ago in a small park in the town of Leicester just as the leaves were starting to change colour.
Lots of changes going on in the world at the moment. The energy around us is a bit chaotic to say the least. Everyone I know has had some kind of upheaval or upset in their life this month and we are only at the beginning of the month. There have been separations in relationships, illnesses and financial problems. But we must look at the positive side of all this. Any upheaval or upset makes us look at our lives in a different way. What is it that has brought this to us? What can we do to change our perspective? How can we live differently? All these questions arise when disaster strikes. We look at how we are living our lives and find ways to change. We make new decisions so that we live each day to the full. Every upset is a challenge to deal with and this is a part of life. The weather does not help when it is grey and dismal but yesterday we had three thunderstorms in the space of a few hours. These seem to have cleared the air for a short while at least.
When disaster strikes we need to take the time to find some inner quiet and listen to what our inner self is saying. It is hard to find time for the inner quiet but it is essential if we are to move forward to a new life. Take a walk in the park and sit under a tree. You’d be surprised how different you feel!
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.