Last night my Internet connection came back in my house, after a long spell away, which is partly why I am finally now sitting down to write a new blog post.
Only partly though – mostly it is because it has just taken me this long to get my thoughts in order enough to produce a semi-coherent passage of writing.
It feels like so much has been happening inside me that at times it is all I can do to simply hold my head together and keep moving through life with some semblance of CALM.
One of the things I’m constantly reading these days in terms of advice for self care, is that we all should spend more time In Nature. For me, at least, that advice doesn’t do much good. A walk in the park is not enough, and in my opinion does not count as Nature. Living in a city centre, although I may take time out once in a while to spend Time in Nature, it is not enough of a substitute for how I grew up, which was just having it around me. It’s only now that I’m beginning to know just how lucky I was.
The photographs here are from almost a month ago now, the last time I visited home and went for a long walk – but to be honest the world doesn’t look all that different here to the way it did at that time. The seasons are not as pronounced in Ireland as they are in other places – we are “protected” from them by the kindness of the Gulf Stream – or rather they are kept from us. I wish we had more seasonal weather in Ireland – and especially in Dublin. Here it feels as though we have just one season all year round, a long, permanent Win-tum. It never gets very warm, but neither does it gets properly cold. I would like some proper snow and ice, please!
At least when I lived in the countryside there was frost in the mornings. I could feel the days getting colder; leaves changing and blowing down were all around me, the fog shrouded the nights and to watch it slowly, gradually clearing away in the mornings felt like being there as some kind of mystical ritual was performed.
These days I am not able to go home to the fields and the sky as often as I used to be able to. I am finding myself longing more and more after it, for various reasons that are partly tied up with some other shadows in the heart (perhaps a story for another day.) For now, here is what I miss about the countryside, and also some ideas to try and help ease the longing for it at times when I can’t be there.
I miss :
- The changing seasons all around me.
- Small stresses and problems shrinking to insignificance as I look up at the sky.
- The sense of permanence, or rather the gentle, imperceptible changing of the world around me as I move through it
- The smells of leaves and earth and wet grass.
Ways to find calm: advice to myself.
- Sit in Churches. Although I don’t attend Mass anymore, I used to go into chapels just to sit and savour their particular quality of quiet. It reminded me of the quiet at home in the fields. I got out of this habit and I would like to take it up again.
- Savour the moments that you do spend among trees and grass, take photographs of them, and look back.
- Take care of your home. Try and create the sense of peace and calm within it that nature gives you without. Take time for cleaning and tidying (I’m so bad for this, especially when I’m stressed and/or busy.)
- Try and connect to the wider world through meditation and yoga. It’s so, so difficult for me to do this – but keep trying.
- Use food like an earth-wire to the land – smell and touch the produce you are cooking and imagine what it looked like as it grew. I am lucky enough to have access to vegetables directly from a farm near me, so this connection can be even more direct.
And I remind myself that I have a choice. I don’t have to always live in the city. I don’t ever have to live in a city, if it means that much to me. I always have a choice.
On the subject of feeling a connection to the earth through food – I’ve been playing around with food photography and a little while ago I photographed one of my favourite comforting-and-easy recipes that I make all the time. I’ll share it on Thursday. Until then have a beautiful week – Eva X.