For a number of years now I’ve watched the coming in and the going out of the tide on the Medway river. It never ceases to fascinate. It seems to me that the river is most at rest when the tide is out. I think it’s a bit like breathing – exhaling is always easier than inhaling, emptying easier than filling; and then there’s that brief in-between moment of sheer rest before the next inhalation. Today, as on many days, I saw this brief moment of rest and felt that in the tidal nature of my own breath the Medway and I breathe as one.
The fields of barley around us are being harvested. I love watching the harvesters. There’s a sanctity to their work. It was fields like these that inspired Sting’s beautiful song, “Fields of Gold.”
Yesterday, I was standing in our backyard watching the sun going down, when suddenly in the stillness, two birds started calling out to each other. The rolls and chirps and melodious song were beautiful. They echoed under the red and expansive sky. Communication was going on, something beyond my comprehension, yet recognisable to a part of me that in itself is a mystery. A thin veil had been lifted and I was staring into a reality, both mystical and ethereal.
This morning I got up with a heightened sense of touch. I felt the softness of water on my face, my wife’s loving embrace as she left for work, the tug of the leash as I walked our little dog, the brushing of a gentle breeze on my cheeks, the enfolding comfort of my favourite chair and the warmth of a strong cup of tea.
Again it reminded me that the earth and everything in it is naturally sensual. I’ve found that the more I’m in touch with this, the greater the joy I feel. So, I’m going into this day, as I try to do on most days, with a deep desire to offer time and awareness to all that I will touch, and to all that will touch me.
There are moments of rest in life where we stop moving and grasping, where we confine ourselves to one place and simply let our sails down. Here we contemplate where we are and what we’re really all about. These moments inevitably enable us to reset our sails and to move once again into greater meaning and purpose.
I was gazing into this Winter scene of the woods, when suddenly two birds started what was obviously a territorial fight. It was fierce and at times quite violent. As I watched I couldn’t help but think that “being territorial” is part of who we are. Is it right or wrong? The question, I think, is far too simplistic. It’s neither right nor wrong. It’s simply one of life’s paradoxes which we all need to negotiate. The truth is somewhere in the middle.