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.