Thursday, April 16, 2020

Simple things will save us

A walking meditation: this little route gives me hope

I start at the bridge, watching the water, thinking of now and all it is. Yellow is the colour, the colour of sickliness and fear, but here bright in granitic sand lining the stream bed, the gleam of mallows in the April sun. First thought: clarity and flow. Quick movements of nature while we slow down, a reminder of true rhythm.
The first path is through a small wood. I move into green. How this colour flows differently into the leaves of spring, the freshness of new beech spurts, the acid of moss, the deep vibrance of new grasses. Still the darkness of winter in holly and ivy. I have lost my closest person to the coronavirus, my grief is still green and new. It can only grow.

At the top of the path, I choose the right fork into the tiniest of valleys, down steeply in shade to a minute trickle of water, up steeply into dappled light. My knees feel the gradient, adding to the stiff joints of mourning. This small interlude is of everyday and the mundane, a beaten earth path, the basic ups and downs of life moving us between beauty and disappoinment, between heartache and love, these necessary intervals of heightened emotion and extra demands. My heart beats faster on the up. Breath is another sort of up and down. We are forced to relook our now.
Now the way is very narrow between banks. I think of confinement, a negative connotation, and then of boundaries, not so bad. Here the path divides a field just ploughed and a tangle of wild scrub. The tame and untamed, the contrasts of lockdown where we long for mad outstepping, and the needs of growing food through disciplined work and management of time. Both are essentials in their way. The making of land calls it. I long for the uncontrolled, but my need for rage is gently diminished, as I tread through.
At the end, I stop. A beautiful oak is getting ready to bloom, on a gilded spread of celandines. The next throw of the path is obscured around a sharp bend. This is a pause before new knowledge. My grief is soft and settling in the stillness. Things are happening quietly around and within. A bird reminds me of melody. An encouragement of song, that stirs my tired heart. Half life is on fire, the other half is burnt and gone.
Around the corner, the sense of more up is daunting. We imagine sunken ways downwards. I have the sensation that I have shrunken within these banks. Trees are huge sometimes. But I feel escorted, a ribbon of bluebells at my ankles. There is always path as long as we can walk. Here I am just the little brown thing waiting to green.
Second pause. Everything so far has been immediate. From this point suddenly I can glimpse across the valley the houses at the top of town, and my mind surges out. What is yellow and green in the world right now, what are the boundaries to be faced, the vistas cut off, the friendly access denied? If compassion were contagious. Any path can lead anywhere because our minds are beyond restriction.
Back to now and here. Ahead is a tunnel of foliage stretching uphill to where it will end at a little road, and just before that the rock that is my marker, my goal. I am feeling the rock from a distance through a fug of horse smell and the wasted effort of recently severed tree trunks. The rock is still, waiting for me. I can finish with the touch of a friend.
Meditation is over. I turn back, and at once the dog runs up for his treat, part of it all again.

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