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The Gift of the Stars and the Ground Beneath our Feet

How well do we know the ground beneath our feet? As a young child, I lived in Cornwall. I seemed to know every inch of the garden that surrounded our house, as well as the sloping path that led down the stony road to the river. I remember sitting under a bush at the end of the lane where it overlooked the main road and smelling the scent of the buddleia. In summer the shade was dappled and cool and the flowers were a haven for butterflies. My best friend lived just across the road and we used to spend hours playing together, dreaming up stories of dragons and princesses. Sadly she is no longer here, but I can still see her in my mind’s eye calling ‘see you later alligator’ over her shoulder as she walked home.

I can still remember so much about my early years; I can remember where the robin nested in the hedge just beyond my playhouse, the Christmas trees planted each year by my father, and I can remember seeing a slowworm laying motionless on the grass; dark and shocking to me as a child though quite harmless. I can remember having tea-parties with imaginary guests and making them perfume from fallen rose petals.

The busy world went on around me, but I was only concerned with the freedom of the outdoors. Perhaps as children, we had more time to discover the magic in our surroundings, the simple joy of collecting shiny pebbles or building camps. As adults, we tend to ‘fit in’ a daily walk as necessary exercise, something to add to our mandatory 10,000 daily steps, often forgetting to look around. Perhaps it is time to reconnect with our surroundings. The natural world has, since time began, been one of the most important ways of connecting with something greater than ourselves, with God, the Universe, or simply with all the amazing beings with whom we share this incredible world. There may be so much still to learn, but there is also so much healing coming from the atmosphere that we can absorb just by being a part of it.

This week, we have been beset with raging storms and unsettling news. The world can seem grim. But if we focus on the ground around us we will come to know that even when the storm IS raging, the summer flowers are only sleeping under our feet, and are waiting to bloom again.

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Carrying the Light

How do you feel on the days between Christmas and New Year? Do you mourn the passing of Christmas or are you glad to get back to normality if there is such a thing now?

Walking this morning, I noticed some blow-up Santas laying forlornly in neighbourhood gardens, deflated and folded in on themselves. ‘Poor things’, I thought, and tried not to feel deflated myself.

Well-meaning articles suggest we embrace the quiet period between Christmas and New year, take walks in nature, pamper ourselves and catch up on our favourite books. We should also catch up on our sleep and get back into a regular routine. Yes. Done that. All good advice.

However, I am still not ready to give up on Christmas just yet.

I remind myself that the twinkly lights are still shining. After all, Christmas is not over – it continues for twelve days. The lights are there to remind us of the presence of God, or a higher being in our world. Light illuminates us and bathes us in good feeling, and reveals our surroundings. As the daylight fades in the sky in the afternoon, the lights soften the landscape around us.

Whilst I may take a few decorations down before long, I am going to focus on the light. I will leave a lantern in the window and light it at tea-time. Perhaps we will have hot crumpets and butter to cheer us up. I will welcome January but I will try and keep the feeling of Christmas in my heart all the year round. After all, every day should be special.

Be the light!

Happy New Year!

Ocean of Light

The day was cold and grey,
The wind blew hard 
And held the friendly blackbird
In scant regard.
The ground was white with frost
And frozen hearts
Cried for what was lost
And torn apart.
But under our feet
Summer flowers were only sleeping
And across the fields
The sky welcomed the night
And filled it with stars,
Bringing an ocean of light.


Lmh

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Hold On To Your Dreams…

The world turns and with every turn there is more to consider, more to weigh up, more to cope with. Some days we may feel small and inconsequential and who can blame us?

Can we really make a difference? Can we make our own personal mark on this world with all its complexities? Yes, we can, because we can act on our dreams, and we can follow the path that knows kindness, that shows tolerance and fairness.

When we feel worried about the world and can’t see an end to all the unrest and disease that frightens us, it is good to take a step back and look at our beautiful world from afar. There isn’t an instant solution to what is happening at the moment and we know that, but looking from a distance helps put things in perspective. Imagine looking down at the world from a space-ship. What would we see? Only rugged land and great expanses of water. No big barriers and no big banners or labels. No big names written across the landscape. As we approach land and hover above the towns and cities we would see a blur of people going about their everyday business. We wouldn’t see one looking more important than the other. We would just have an aerial view of humanity. Looking from above, we wouldn’t judge anyone or be judged. How could we be?But we might realise that we are all equal in the eyes of the Universe.

Back down on Earth with our feet on the ground, we will feel the push and pull of everyday ups and downs, but it’s good to remember the ‘big picture’, and remember that big or small, we all have our hopes and dreams ….

Look to the sky now and again…

We are all made of stars they say….

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Where Did Yesterday Go?

Do you ever think about the passing of time? We all mutter those phrases about time passing – ask ourselves ‘where did those days, those years go?’ Time passes in strange ways I think. Especially now, when a lot of us have been enforced to spend our time in different ways than we are used to. It’s as though days morph into one another. Time is moving slowly, yet paradoxically, flying by. There is that strange phenomenon too, about clock watching making time stand still -perhaps when you are waiting patiently for an event and the hands on the clock don’t seem to move, and the times you are waiting for the kettle to boil and a minute seems like an hour. Or when you are waiting to hear an answer to an important question. And think about the times you lay awake at night wrestling with a problem that has taken on momentous proportions in the darkness; sleep will not come and it seems like the morning will never arrive.

I was looking for some essays and blogs about time and how we view it. Interestingly enough, there are many blogs about time management out there. Many suggestions for making your life better, strategies for maximising productivity and taking control. Suggestions for finding ways of being more efficient. Okay, it may be helpful to organise our time and keep a watch on how we spend the hours in our day, but that isn’t really what I was thinking about here. When we enter the Golden Gates, do you think there will be someone standing by with a report card, ready to tick the box marked ‘efficiency’? Or the one marked ‘excellent strategist’? These are probably useful attributes but not what really what make us tick (okay, dreadful pun).

Right now, is the clock that reliable anyway? Perhaps it wears two faces; ‘objective time’ – the time of timetables and calendars, and ‘lived’ time – time where we live and love and feel and act. It seems to me that the familiarity of the days is re-setting our clocks somehow. We don’t have so much use for objective time at the moment, even though we normally seemed to be ruled by it, but we are noticing our lived time more than normal. We notice the difference more; the change in the way our days are passing, and perhaps feel a strangeness and a discomfort. But actually, the calendar now is not too relevant, except in certain circumstances where we still need to keep to essential appointments. Of course, we all need to refer to our diary’s at times, but perhaps we will come to realise that timetables and charts and routines are external inventions thrust upon us, some of which we realise we can live without. We might even say that the pandemic has given us an insight into the fundamental nature of time.

 Yesterday 

 I must have got up yesterday 
 And the day before that,
 Had the morning cup of tea
 And the usual chat.
 I must have looked at the sunrise
 Checked the skies for rain,
 Avoided listening to the news;
 The same old sad refrain.
 I must have cleaned
 And cooked and swept
 And dusted the corners
 Where the umbrellas were kept.
 And I must have rumbled
 Through my mind
 A thousand thoughts 
 That were left behind
 From the day before
 And the day before that;
 A veritable swirl
 Of this and that.
 And I must have gone to bed once more
 As the day turned into night,
 And realised another day had gone
 As I turned off the light.
 And as I lay upon my side
 A lonely tear
 I tried to hide,
 Along with the growing fear
 That I can’t turn back the tide.
 But, then I must have noticed
 The moon was full and round,
 And Its silver face was smiling,
 Sending moonbeams to the ground.
 He didn’t question if he should shine
 Or worry about the passing time,
 Or ships that pass us in the night
 Or whether 
 What he did was right.
 And so I must have settled down to sleep
 As the Universe took charge,
 And I dreamed of all the days I’d keep
 Filled to the brim with stars.

L.M.H