Sunday, 25 November 2012

Linear Life

Linear; design, dimension, series, measure.

 In a moment of 'I need to get out of these four walls before I go mad' one day this week I found myself wandering in to the graveyard next to my house. This isn't such an unusual thing for me, to end up there just to get outside for a while. For those of you who know me well, you will know that this is the graveyard where my mum is buried and is a place of comfort for me sometimes. Yet, while walking around this one day, my mind powered in to overdrive and I couldn't help but connect some feelings and thoughts I had previously had there to now make some sense in my mind and in my heart. I'm not even sure that these thoughts didn't make sense before, more that I hadn't connected them in a way which I could comprehend enough to put words to them.

Linear. Regimented. Controlled. Organised. Precise. Fixed. Strict. Definite.

All of these words have quite interesting connotations, and as I walked around this graveyard they are the sorts of words that came to mind. This graveyard was so linear; every row of graves so perfectly formed, each grave spaced equally with the next, every road parallel, every stone carved precisely, each bench lined up with another, the site surrounded by a line of trees.

This is not how life is, not to me. This space is where I see life, life in all it's fullness in some odd way. There are hundreds and thousands of people's important stories that make that space what it is. This space would not be here if it weren't for the lives of these people who are now buried here. Not one of these people had such a defined life, a linear journey, a precise way of living. These people had lives full of adventures, relationships, let downs, emotions, highs, challenges, pain, love, surprise... Do we live one day knowing what will happen to us by the next hour, the next day, the next week? I don't think so.

This sharp difference between this graveyard where we are laid to rest is such a contrast in it's structure, in comparison to the structure of our lives as we live.

There are no answers to life here, just ponderings on how we live, and the importance of that journey we have the privilege of leading.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Nature Calls

When you go on a walk to find an ancient Yew tree, what do you expect? Well, I wasn't really sure of the answer to that question. After my morning visit I am still not sure I have an answer that words will fit to.

The tree was spread out, twisted, gently looming over us, encapsulating safety, standing tall and wide, creating a room within its branches, and embracing us within its grounding of love and care. It feels slighty odd to talk about a tree with characteristics of a human being, but it is oh so true. It is living and breathing and this can be felt while being surrounded by it.

After a lovely morning picnic under the looming branches the tree just called us to listen to it, to God, to the birds, to the ground, to the surroundings and everything that wasn't our own heads. A clear mind. How often is it we get time and space and chance to have a clear mind, truly clear? I know I struggle with that, a lot. But here we were called to stop, to just be. It is safe to be with yourself in a place like this, where nature surrounds you and the external busy world is kept away. The internal parts of us need to be cared for, and we, as human beings, are not always good at that. We often look to care for others, but how often do we honestly care wholly for ourselves? To take the effort to find a place, like this amazing yew tree, gives us the space we need to just be.

I am lucky that I have my special fallen tree just a 10 minute walk from my house, and now I have also discovered this tree a bit further away. It isn't easy to find these places, this space, but I encourage you to take time to find somewhere that you can just be. Just being is underestimated in the world we live in. I find it hard to take myself to these special places when life gets too much, but a wee bit of forcing myself is worth it. If you can get to these places, they will look after you, for a while. All we have to do is let them.