I am back in Capel Curig in north Wales for a while. I’m outside, and have walked the relatively short walk from my little cottage, Tŷ Gwyn (pronounced ‘tee gwin’, meaning White Cottage or White House), to an area that, for years, has been known to me as Drws i fyd arall. It’s raining hard – the ‘gift’ of storm Georgina that is sweeping across the United Kingdom.
Soaked, I sit on a felled log. It’s still about half an hour before sunrise.
‘Drip down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down…’ Isaiah 45;8a, The Book
And I feel wonderful, expectant, in awe at the two, old, trees in front of me. I sat there looking at these two trees, so different to the others around them, as these two trees had grown in a way that they bowed towards each other to form an arch. As children we noticed this, and I and my friends had called these two arched trees Drws i fyd arall (pronounced ‘droo zi fid arrah’) which means ‘door to another world’. Such was the imagination of us children that we played endless games by jumping through the arched trees, and in our minds eye believed that we found ourselves in strange new worlds. Star Gate, the tv series, was still many years in the future. We got their first!
And, now I’m sitting in the middle of this delightful forest, in suitably rain-proofed attire, and though its cold and there’s a great wind – I’m protected from that wind by the high trees around me – but not so from the rain. It’s raining even harder, and I love it.
By my feet, raindrops converge into puddles, multiple puddles and some of them quite deep, and as the puddles fill up with rain some of them join together to form even large puddles around me; and for a moment I am mesmerised by the sight of the rain splashing on the forest floor and into puddles, and by the soothing, continuous, hypnotic patter of fresh, cold, wonderful rain.
‘If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.’ Loren Eiseley
As I gaze at the large puddle in front of me, joining with another, and then being ‘syphoned off’ into a larger deep depression on the ground inches to one side, I spied that water takes on the shape of that which it fills, and reshapes itself umpteen times, yet it still remains water.
‘I find inspiration in the movement of water. Sometimes I think about the journey the water has travelled, reconnecting me to the larger cycles of nature.’ Janet Echelman
How we could learn from water. If you’re like me, it is oh-so-easy to take on board the opinions of others sometimes; to be caught off guard and to be affected by their bad words and actions, and perhaps want to metaphorically strike back; or be adversely affected by ‘bad’ situations. Water is not changed by what it fills. It changes shape, but remains faithful to its nature. It loses nothing. How we could learn from water.
‘I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.’ John O’Donohue
Mark Nepo talks of this sort of awareness of nature. He calls them ‘quiet teachers’, for that is what they are: nature opening itself up to human awareness for the connection, which surely already exists, to be made understandable (at least in part) to us, in a quiet, authentic manner
And so this puddle, this ‘quiet teacher’, a puddle at Drws i fyd arall taught me that water adapts to fill the ‘shape’ of its surroundings, but remains faithful to itself.
And, in a ‘flash’ as I sat on that felled tree, I realised that, as humans, we are should (or perhaps, are encouraged, is a better way of putting it, to) adapt to situations in our daily life, albeit some tough events, or situations brought on by ‘difficult’ people, and yet remain faithful to our ‘humanness’, our core. It is possible to adapt and not take on board the negative ‘stuff’ around us.
And then, I experienced another ‘flash’ as if lightning had filled the sky: it dawned on me – our body and soul may be seemingly affected, but the lesson of this ‘quiet teacher’ was that that need not be the case, but it came to me that our soul, our being, our very essence is never affected by it at all – we just think it is. There is something in us that ‘higher’, still. And from ‘that place’, a place of Love, we can have compassion on others, and bear tough situations come what may.
I had to sit on the felled log for some time to ‘unpack’ those two ‘flashes’ of thought(s) from Beyond.
‘…the work of compassion: to embrace everything clearly without imposing who we are and without losing who we are.’ Mark Nepouiet