Edwardian houses line up clean streets with flower baskets hanging symmetrically on doors, as if keeping things in order. It has classic and elegant look to things. Every time I go somewhere I am taken back by just how different each place feels. It evokes particular feelings in me. This place has always drawn me in with its sophistication and class running through the theme of its buildings, streets and the overall posture of the place. It is all standing tall and proud and I find it very reassuring somehow. I am here for two reasons, to see if the feeling I get is still intact and positive, and I am also on a trip in search of silence away from the noises of planes and roads, which lately has been overwhelming me. I find myself struggling with the constant buzzing noise in the air wherever I go.
As I step into the woodland I am full of hope and anticipation of finding a new space where, may be, just may be the buzzing stops. I find none for quite some time going on a path and off at regular intervals trying out different spots in hope of it taking me away from the noise. Eventually I stop and a tinge of disappointment comes over me. There is no silence here, it is nowhere to be found and instantly I begin to crave places in the Highlands where air stands still and silence is ear-piercing. I become nostalgic and sad with an instinctual reaction of wanting to run away. I recognise it well, as we all want to escape sometimes, but the question remains and comes forward strongly, how can we find silence amidst all the noise of life without having to run to the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. I stand still and tune into myself and focus on maintaining the stillness as much as I can and then slowly continue on a path holding on to a sense of ‘don’t give up’. Forest always has the answer in my experience. That I never doubt and today it is no different. I become mindful and finely aware of the details surrounding me, forest floor, most on tree trunks, crow’s calls overhead and scattering of squirrels in the fallen leaves. I touch the ground under my feet, I hold on to a tree and I smell its bark. I close my eyes and here it is – silence!
Silence is at the heart of the earth, inside and around things within the system that is the natural world. Silence is in going off the beaten path. It is inside a tree, on the ground. Nature doesn’t rush or despair, it is as always simply being and in that it holds on to its own silence and peace, in knowing itself inside out. On contact with it all I find silence amidst the buzzing noise overhead.
I also notice often while in a forest that there’s a lot to be said for staying on the path when it feels safe and knowing. Going off the path can also serve well when the familiar is in chaos and direction is lost. Then getting lost can bring you back to what life is like and what feelings one need to acknowledge to find yourself. Nature reflects that perfectly to us wherever we are in that moment in life. It can always find a way of answering questions we carry if we are still enough and willing enough to explore and listen.
I also get an answer to why this area draws me in now and again with its elegant and classic presentation. I get to see that it is a shape of a square, which is curious, and what comes to me is the feeling of complete containment. It is orderly, strong and holding, which I deeply resonate with and often need reminding of.
And at the end of it all, of course, comes gratitude, which is the last word and a paint stroke on everything that I work on. Gratitude has an ability to transmute everything into its natural form and state. It is like the Earth that always leads to the truth of things. It always brings things back into focus and centre within.