2012: Friday Walks, The Shining Shore, a meditation

The day begins with a run, then showering and then packing my lunch before heading off to The Shining Shore. Quietly alone. Sarah is walking too, but elsewhere today, on her pilgrimage walk.

This has been an interesting week, but today I’m emptying my mind of all that’s happened and all that might. Trying to anyway. To give it peace. Give it a rest. I used to meditate regularly, sitting more or less still for up to an hour most days. These days I prefer to meditate walking, to the rhythm of my heart. Mostly around familiar places in Liverpool. But today my being alone here gives me the chance to  walk silently around a place I now know as well as Liverpool. A place I could walk around in the dark. Today I will walk around listening for the silence.

And I notice, how could I not, that the hedgerows are now seriously heaving with berries.

The slow ripening of the blackberries this year.

The colours of autumn.

The jewels of the hedgerow.

Nature showing off.

Red berries as far as the eye can see.

Reaching tiny Thurstaston village, I can smell that the grass has just been cut before I turn the corner.

The last mowing of the year?

And how many times have I taken this picture? And how could I not? The church in early autumn.

Reaching the lanes, growth is not quite as dense as when we last walked here, late in August. Things are dying back.

Dying back, the ferns.

And yet also, the determined unfurling of new growth.

And I find my mind drifting to thoughts of dying back, and therefore to mortality.

Catching a first glimpse today of The Shining Shore.

And wondering if this might be the place. The place for my ashes.

Then bringing myself back to the present. Realising I’ve drifted off into thinking on thoughts brought about by the course Sarah went on last week, learning to be a funeral celebrant.

Turning down the hill into The Dungeon, the mud is squelchy and deep loam smelling after all this week’s torrential rains.

And the stream is full. Gurgling and rushing into the ravine over the rocks and tree roots.

I stop in the wood for lunch, eating the bread and the eggs and the chocolate I’ve brought.

But not the mushrooms that are all around me. I’ve no idea how you tell which ones are edible.

And I notice that the canopy cover, so dense from early June onwards, is now thinning.

‘The cattle are lowing…’

And I’m distracted again…’the baby awakes’. Singing ‘Away in a manger’ and thinking people will soon be doing Christmas again, I’m soon back musing on the passing of time and the dying back of autumn and Halloween in a few weeks time.

Until the salty smell and the faintly cold breeze blowing in from the estuary brings me back to now. I put my extra top on, more layers with me today than for the last few months, and walk out to the estuary’s edge.

To the bench where we’ve so often sat.

And it’s here I write most of this post. Usually I write posts when I get home. Straight into my computer. Today it’s that old way of writing. With a pen and paper, and in the place the writing’s about. Imagine that.

And writing, it’s like I hear me saying very clearly to myself:

‘Don’t forget now. For all this autumnal musing on mortality, don’t forget now. Death will come, and death gives life its value. But death is only one moment. So don’t miss all these moments of now. This light in your eyes, this wind in your hair, this life, this day. Don’t forget now.’

Half an hour later I’m down on the shore.

Driftwood on The Shining Shore.

And the afternoon sun catches the full beauty of the boulder clay cliffs.

The fragile beauty…

You want to reach out and touch…

But you know you’re dealing with an unstable cliff when the ‘unstable cliff’ notice has fallen off it!

And soon I reach some rocks where we often sit. So I sit. Thinking maybe I’ll have a read.

But I don’t.

I look at the rocks and the clouds, and time goes by.

And half an hour later, realise that I’m at peace and still. And haven’t thought of anything but the joy of now for the past half hour.

Thank you. I got what I came for.

And soon I’m back in the car, back in the busyness, back in the what next? And I realise how much I need and love these quiet times. How much I need and love The Shining Shore.

4 thoughts on “2012: Friday Walks, The Shining Shore, a meditation

  1. Mandy

    Walking or gardening is the best of times for meditation and nothing is better then the feel of a sense of well being. Mortality seems a soft and gentle thing out in the open. This was a lovely piece and the photographs reflect that contemplative mood you were in – and the blackberries were magnificant and did I see sloes as in gin ?

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Love what you said about mortality. It does seem soft and gentle when it’s quietly acknowledged.

      And Sloes? The plant identifier wasn’t with me, so I just saw lots of different coloured berries! Aren’t sloes the black ones?

      Reply

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