August 31st, 2013
As the wheels of time roll on, we all turn the matter that we gather into the matter that we are. So it is wise to gather well.
What have I learned from all this? What will I take away? To be frank, I have not learned much I did not already know. But when it comes to the nature of ourselves, and of others, nor do any of us. We just chip away at the disbelief until the underneath is exposed long enough to remember what we always thought was true.
A journey – Life being the greatest of them all – takes you through cycles of daybreak to day’s end. It takes you through landscapes, through textures, through processes. Kindness is offered. We learn much about our natures through how we receive it. We meet people, and they stay in our hearts and minds bound up with the landscape and the resonance of their story. Problems are encountered, and how we deal with them determines how many more cycles it will take for us to learn that lesson.
There is a pulsing silken thread that weaves and wefts the fragments of our lives together. With it all we build a house for ourselves. One that is ever changing – with new material being brought in, and that which no longer serves us well, being cast out. It is strong, variegated, fragile, and beautiful as a wasps’ nest.
From the landlady of The Northmore Arms in Dartmoor, I learned to accept kindness when it is offered. I had gone off onto Dartmoor intending to bivvi, almost desperate to sleep outside as so much hospitality had been offered which often meant I was indoors or in a tent. I had gone there to write my blog, and left in the dark & drizzle, having been offered her spare room. A little way down the road, I realised that to accept is as much a part of kindness as to give, so I turned on my heel. She cooked me some supper.
From Fergus ‘the Forager’ Drennan, I learned how joyful someone’s character can be when they spend their lives outside, learning from and eating of what nature has to offer. I learned to make paper out of mushrooms and to not be afraid to try.
Ronnie Aaronson, a natural beekeeper, reaffirmed my instinct to trust what comes into your path, by offering me her mill-house as a base in Devon without knowing me. Such a place of transformation as a mill is a fitting abode for a wise woman who talks to her bees and plays the flute to her willows, which are transformed into wood chip to warm her in the winter. And a fitting place for me to come back to as I turned several cycles up in Dartmoor.
Meeting Rima Staines, I was reminded that the best stories are true, and that healing can come if we are patient and trust that it will.
As I watched a slug, making my way up a hill to the place overlooking the Wye Valley where I would spend my final night, I truly appreciated what it is to cross terrain fully, with senses opened wide.
I have had the good fortune to have two full months, two moon cycles, dedicated to listening to the spoked voice over and over and over again. I finally came to understand the engraving in my wedding ring: TRAUST (Icelandic ~ trust/solidity). Trust, full trust, will give rise to an indomitable solidity of spirit, even while material existence seems anything but.
If there is one thing I ask of you, dear readers, it is to give yourselves the space to wander. It is not as hard as it seems. Once you are doing it you will wonder why you do not do it more often. Do not have a plan. It will be alright. It will be much more than alright. Life is no more linear than the branches of a tree. It is so much more interesting than that. It will be magical.
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Sarah Thomas is Penguin's Wayfarer and she'll be walking and writing for us all summer. Follow her journey here!