Saturday, 11 October 2014


I wish I had a photo of the grove I found today. I wish I had a photo of a lot of things, but sometimes your camera battery runs out, you think you left your mobile at home and you accidently delete the photos you take, anyway.

One from today which did not happen to disappear back into the space of pixels.

Those are just wishes and mistakes to do with photography and searing this adventure into my visual brain. Though really, it's more the minty after-taste of memory which you remember. I mean, how often do you actually dig back through your 5000 plus photos?

When I'm in dire need of some photoshop entertainment and I am lacking in current images to play with, yes, but generally, no. You move on with life. Every day has something different happening. Even if you did have a picture for every second you stepped, you still would just have a minty after-taste of memory. Nothing is the same as sitting on that wood bench that is so far off the ground, a height of 5'7'' still leaves my feet (being rather a bit sore from a four hour hike through parks, side-streets and a highway halfway to the nearest village), dangling in contentment. The ground is literally a blanket of leaves, dirt and acorns, plys five or so squirrels hoping in and about the scenery. Green bark trees stretch and scraggle their way into a yellow sky making it look as if their branches were a Japanese ink painting.

Today I learned the real meaning behind "going on a journey." I meant, when I stepped out of my door, to go to a particular nature park that sits a couple miles outside of Bury St Edmunds which meant it would take around an hour and half to walk there, so long as I stayed on the right path. Just past the centre of town, as I slowed my lopping walk, I panicked. I had forgotten my phone. Now, note that I dug around in that pit of receipts, notes, 20 pence, used tissues, a jacket, camera, tangled earbuds and other odds. I did not upend the thing or properly dig about. I sighed and went on. I did not want to waste time searching for it, and hey, I knew the general direction, right?

Wrong. Well, not entirely. I came to a five way which terrified me, as most multi-way stops still do around here and I judged the sign pointing down the street I was meant to turn too. I waffled. These signs are not very clear and streets like to change names halfway down them. I convinced myself it was up one way and not continuing down. My inituition twigged. But I trekked on anyway. I eventually found myself in the direction of another park and I knew I had gone off course. I could still backtrack though, just lower down and through that park. It would work out. I discovered bits of amusement, like a field of sheep and perfect paths with tree tunnels. I ended up in a residential area I had gotten lost in back in September but I knew I was still moving in the right direction. I kept on.

On and on. Until I passed a sign stating I was leaving Bury St Edmunds and I began down the highway, which, in general are never the best places to be walking. In England it's just as shifty as any other place where vehicles are allowed. Except they can go faster here. Also, it was open farmland, few signs and place names I recognised but wasn't comfortably familiar with. So I turned back. And I walked and walked. Up and up. Into more residential areas but I kept on because I knew I was back in the town, I had passed the River Linnet, which marks the south end of the area and eventually I should get back to familar territory. Thing is, when you map something out. Look at a map. Or even picture paths in your mind, they always, always look a lot shorter than they actually are.

On and on. Up and up. The only thing that vaguely consoled me that I wasn't getting caught in the tangled masses of residential side-streets, alleyways and walking paths was the water tower in the distance. I couldn't see the abbey though and that's been my main compass point until now.

The houses, as character-driven as they were, still left me on edge.

I was biting my lip and checking my watch, it wasn't anywhere near dinner time, but when wandering off my track, I get nervous.

There I was, in the astoundingly hot 17 degree sun of October, distracting my mind with "what a pretty garden...oh a castle."

A castle.

On a side-note I'd like to mention how, since coming to England, there are certain things that are still so amazing but so common that you cannot wrap you mind around it, and so, like a character thrown into a chaotic battle in a fantasy novel, you just go with it.

Whatever. It's a castle.

Que me zeroing in on the building.

Wherein I found a sign pointing down the road from it stating "town centre," finding the castle to be part of a university I didn't know existed here and then the aforementioned bench in the middle of a copse of trees where I spent some time chatting to the foliage and musing on journey's.

I wondered where that street that went down from the five way stop would have led me if I had gone on it. I wondered if I had kept trekking down the highway going away from Bury, where I would have ended up.

Then I realised all that wondering did not good. I could wish, wonder and muse all I desired but nothing would change from how things went until that very second.

I have always said I love to explore and wander and yet I always find myself, even when I leave full days for it, getting nervous, worried and concerned when my directions take me to entirely unexpected places.

Ironically I later realised I had my phone in my purse the entire time, and I had kept going on the highway, I would have ended up at the 200 acre nature park I had originally been aiming for.

Instead I wandered in another park and through the west side of the city more.

I was somewhat disappointed. And yet, had I not ended up doing what I did I would not have found that glorious bench, in that entirely deserted copse of trees on that universe campus where I had the revelation that no matter what I do, it does not deserve or receive fantastic fanfare. No matter what I do, it is just stuff. No matter what I do, it is just another day. Nothing is special.

I have always been so concerned about making things count, of making the most of situations, of being curious and adventurous and pushing myself to extremes, all in the name of building foundations toward something great.

The thing is, nothing I do is anything better than anyone else. Nothing I will do will be better. The key is how I live it.

I haven't quite figured out who I really am, under all the things I have become, but hopefully I'll dig it up one of these days.

I was told recently by a fellow teacher that the best way to get anywhere with some of my struggles with the students' behaviour is to act. I need to practice the art of putting on a character in order to better control the situation.

And yet, today, the earth-bound character I am, attached to a phone like it's a life-line and attached to accomplishing certain things, or else a day is considered a waste, is not who I am. Not really.

I am an imaginist who sits on benches and has a conversation with the trees while feet kept snug in lace boots, swing back and forth and I feel like I am ten years-old and pretending I am everything from a detective, to a secret agent, to a space explorer or a faerie.

But is even that who I am?

After all, that is I when I am alone with myself and me. Who am I when it is just I?

Brain racing faster than the Orient Express,

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post Moony. Makes me think of that powerful quote, "Be still and know I am"...meditate on that while you are swinging your feet on the bench. Everything is unfolding exactly how it is meant.