The wonder and mystery of woods has always fascinated us. They are the stuff of fairy stories, legends and much of our English literature. Those that are left, like the New Forest (above), are ‘the guardians of our dreams of greenwood liberty of our wildwood, feral, childhood selves’. (Roger Deakins)Continue reading “An Elegy for our Lost Woods”
It is early morning on the banks of Ireland’s wild river—the mighty Shannon. The rising sun is just beginning to light up the water. The earth is awakening.Continue reading “Still Listening with St Patrick”
A few years ago, during the BBC TV programme, ‘The Monastery’, based on Worth Abbey in Sussex, one of the monks was showing a group of school children around. Standing with them in the quiet chapel he stilled the children’s chatter: ‘Shush ! Can you hear that?’ he said. There was not a sound to be heard yet he continued: ‘Do you know what that is ? It’s called ‘silence’! He went on to explain to his young visitors what discoveries can be made when we open ourselves to the wonderful world of silence, with all its possibilities.
There’s something very special about early morning. Ivor Gurney called it “day’s most sacred hour“.
Night has passed and a new day is beginning and I’ve been sitting, with a cup of tea, looking out on the garden.
I’m the only one awake in this house and it appears that there’s no sign of life yet among the neighbours. The ever present sound of traffic through the village near by is at a minimum. As far as I am concerned it’s just me alone with the dawn. To sit and take in the quietness and the stillness is exhilarating.
The birds, of course, have beaten me to it. It is surprising how many different songs I can still hear in the surrounding gardens. All my senses are involved; as well as the silence and the stillness there is the smell of the wet grass and the scent of ‘productive decay’ among the carpet of leaves, still lying where they fell a few weeks ago. It’s a heavenly moment.