Of Gorse And Men…Or, How To Do The ‘Spider Dance’

160824 of gorse and men STANDARD THOUGHTS

Ah, last evening was one of those wonderful, August, balmy evenings; the air was warm but the temperature was dropping, and the sky was cloudless, and a dark shade of twilight-blue was replaced with a darker one, with each passing minute. The dog days are truly here.

The secret and the sacred are sisters. When the secret is not respected, the sacred  vanishes.’ John O’Donohue

As I sat in my garden, as the ‘shade of liminality’ sped over the earth above me, at one thousand miles per hour, and as I sipped thistle and green tea, I looked at the garden, and with distant mountains on the horizon, all felt right with the world. Ah, bliss.

I mentally reviewed the day.

Random thoughts.

I had a lazy day yesterday, I noted in my journal.

At the far end of the garden are a few yew trees – old and gnarled, my favourite, and some gorse bushes, that over the years have ‘moved’ – by a process of consecutive seeding – from the wilderness to ‘invade’ my garden at the far end. They didn’t really invade, because I could have always cut them back. But, I didn’t want to. It felt good to have part of the wilderness from a distance come closer, to colonise part of my garden; it was like a ‘horticultural French kiss’, and humbling that it wanted to move a little more closer to me.


Perception. That’s the word that continually came to mind as I sat around the garden table with my, now cold, cup of thistle and green tea – which, by the way, is an excellent drink whether it’s hot or cold!

From someone else’s perspective the gorse are invaders and should destroyed. To me, they ‘knocked’ and I ‘allowed’ them to come in…though the agreement is that I can prune them occasionally, and so ‘manage’ them. But, to others they are like weeds, not to be tolerated. But, not from my perspective. They remind me that long after I’m gone, nature will continue to do just what it likes. I know my place.

At the far end of the garden, regarding  the gorse bushes, I noted in my journal, ‘Today, I did the spider dance’.

From someone else’s viewpoint it must have looked as though I was having a fit, but not so from mine. For some reason, this time of the year in the UK, the spiders go berserk, and even little spiders – no bigger than a penny – will cast webs that span 5 yards/metres or more. And, in my garden, these spiders seem to do it just to catch me out. Oh yes, it’s a conspiracy. Forget chem trails. It’s spiders!

Webs everywhere.

I walked straight into a web. Hence, the spider dance. It’s not a joyous dance. Not visually appealing. It usually consists of me whirling around frantically, like some demented Whirling Dervish, with my arms flailing about (like that robot on ‘Lost in Space’, when it uttered a warning: ‘Danger, Will Robinson’), and the occasional wiping motion of my hands across my face, and spluttering, and all accompanied by a minor vocal exclamation of surprise (or words to that effect, if you catch my drift). Having a fit? No, from my perspective, it’s only the spider-dance. Have you ever danced that dance?

But, I learned one thing yesterday:  I need to improve my dance steps. No Rudolf Nureyev, here.

Ah, perception.

I thought to myself how nice it was that the gnats and mozzies were not here, flying around me at dusk. If anyone gets bitten, it’s me.  I move, they move with me. Ah, but no mozzie-dance tonight for me. No mozzies.

The garden table is only a few feet away from a couple of well-grown, mature lavender bushes. They’re planted quite close to one side of the cottage’s wall, and in these parts lavender is well-known as the plant to plant if you want to attract the fae to your garden…or butterflies. Okay, from the ‘scientific’  perspective of a twenty-first century ‘modern’ person that sounds ‘as soppy as a box of frogs’, but there’s part of me that warms to that view. It’s romantic. It’s other-worldly. It’s different.

Maybe, it’s fae flying invisibly around me that are  keeping the gnats and mozzies away? And, from another perspective, it’s also known that gnats and mozzies are deterred by the scent of lavender. Which viewpoint you choose, is up to you. The outcome is the same. I like to think I can hold both views in balance. Ah, an ‘amphibian’, that’s me. Able to circumnavigate both worlds. An edge-walker.

‘I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened..’ Ephesians 1:18a, The  Book


But, its all to do with perception. How we look at things does  determine the outcome. Seek and you will find. Don’t seek and you wont find, probably because one isn’t looking in the first place. Look for facts, and you will find ‘surface’ facts; look a bit deeper and you may just catch the merest glimpse of the Prime Mover (Latin: primum movens), the One behind it all.

Yr hen a ŵyr a’r ifanc a dybier, is often said in these parts. It means, ‘The old know and  the young suspect.’

It’s pronounced: ‘Ur hen ah ooyr ah’r eefank ah dub-yerh.’ There will be a test later, to ensure you are fluent!

But, its all to do with perception. How we look at things does indeed determine the outcome.

‘We often remain exiles, left outside the rich world of the soul simply because we are not ready…

Our lack of readiness is often caused by blindness, fear and lack of self-appreciation. When we are ready, we will be blessed. At the moment the door of the heart becomes the gate of heaven.’ John O’Donohue

So, take the next step: reserve judgment and look a little deeper.


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