I was at the Tate Britain the other day and saw this wonderful portrait of Margaret Sweeney, the Duchess of Argyll. It was painted by Gerald Brockhurst 1890 – 1978.
As I looked at it, I was mesmerised by her gaze. To me her eyes communicate engagement, but also a kind of detachment and distance, as if she is assessing you and trying to grasp something of your character. It is a connected gaze, but cautious and discerning. Just an outstanding portrait.
There’s something about the flow of a river that touches me deeply. As it winds its way through bright open fields, shadowy woodlands and jagged mountainous rocks giving life to everything around it, I always sense an urgency in it, even in its stillness, to ultimately find its rest in the all embracing love of the sea. Whenever I’m beside a river I think of the words of Norman Maclean who wrote, “A River Runs Through It.”
“Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
There are places and spaces in nature and elsewhere that are full of mysterious presence. To be in these places is to feel and experience an almost otherworldly and awe-inspiring reality. I felt this as I stood in this particular section of Rochester Cathedral.
Blossoms always remind me of bursts of inspiration and unfolding ideas. Who would not want a mind overflowing with blossoms.
“If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” Well, I’m not so sure about that. I took this shot on a walk recently and it has all the characteristics of being Autumn. But it’s not, it’s Spring.
Assumptions! Assumptions! I have to confess I’ve got it so wrong at times in spite of it appearing so right.
across ancient seas
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.
Perceptions – probably one of the key aspects to living well. To see and not to see, is the issue. To try and see things from a confined and dark room will always be problematic and in many cases dangerous. The world behind the window is small and cramped, but the one beyond it is wide, open and welcoming.
I put the leash on my little dog, Broddah, donned my jacket and cap and walked out into the crisp Spring air. The morning was bright, the sky blue and I could feel the spring in my step.
As I walked along the path with Bluebell hill before me, I could hear the birdsong coming from the trees – beautiful! Strange how the chirping and singing of birds has a kind of echoing sound in the countryside. I’ve never been able to understand this, but I love the sound. Like sunlight on water is to my eyes, so is birdsong to my ears. I also watched a grey stallion in the paddock to my left celebrating the morning by galloping around and proudly shaking his head and arching his neck, then, throwing himself onto his back and rolling around with glee. It was something to see.
I eventually got home and crowned it all with a cup of tea and two Rich Tea biscuits. Nothing like an early morning walk to start your day, especially with a little friend who enjoys it even more than you.
To ponder upon distance and spaciousness speaks into the freedom we all yearn for, which surely is the birthright of all humanity. I felt a sense of freedom and exhilaration here as I gazed out to the misty horizon and felt the expansiveness of the sky above me.