Soon I will be leaving the island for my long journey south to Jenny’s funeral. I enjoy journeys, especially by train and especially the first part when we travel through the wild bracken and the bonny purple heather. Bracken is the name for our land’s plague, although it redeems itself considerably once amber-dead, enough, even, to feature in sentimental songs about leaving and losing love.
The second part of the journey will be in the air, zipping through clouds with barely enough time to knock back an orange juice and certainly not enough time to prise open the hygienic packaging and free the currant scone.
Or, indeed, to re-locate myself.
Half an hour ago I was in Scotland, and now I am in England. Countries shouldn’t be crossed so quickly, as if they were hardly there at all. There is no time to absorb the change, the process, to consider a new culture, a new way to hold my fork.
This sudden way of travel may be convenient, but I wonder if it’s all it says it is. In any part of our growing and learning, our minds and bodies need time to sort ourselves out, to slowly absorb a new way, to consider what we do or don’t like about it, and to decide how and who we shall be in context. To travel too fast through a state of change, finds us leaving our self behind. We may understand at a logical level what it is we undertake, but unless we have allowed time (and that length of time is not something we can set in stone) for our senses, emotions, body and heart to join us, we will ultimately fall in the poo. No change works if only based on logic. Not a single one, and not at any age or level of brilliance or intelligence. It is, quite simply, un-rushable, a journey into change.
So how do we do this change thing, considering the fact that everything is speeding up in every area of life and we are failures if we can’t keep up? And there are so many of us who can’t keep up and when we find ourselves at the bottom of the pit, with nowhere to go, worn out and broken, we fall ill. But I don’t think there is a collective solution to this, I think it will take each one of us, on our own, to decide to look away from the world and its empty promises of success and beauty, and look for something higher. We know it’s there when things happen we can’t explain, like a coincidence. We might need to employ our imaginations a bit more, develop eyes that really see the natural extraordinariness of our world and a thankful heart, all day long, for what we do have, instead of wanting what we don’t.
My little grand-daughter has just returned from a family camping holiday. Each day they visited somewhere new with a picnic and the sunshine overhead. One day they went to a safari park, another to the river, another through the hills to a lochan for a swim and so on.
I asked her what animals she had seen, and which was her favourite, expecting her eyes to light up and her mouth to fill with names like Elephant! Lion! Giraffe!
Tadpoles, she said and the whole room lit up with her smile.