Hi Everyone,

After such a long cold wet number of weeks, we have had some much needed uplifting sun here in Yorkshire, England.

This is the patch along the cricket field at the back of where I live. We tread it almost daily and as we walk from a very busy front lane out into this, I breathe….and again…

My intention for this year is to live more presently, and to develop a greater acceptance of what is, now. I am a planner and organiser, and my day job heavily requires this (so it’s a good job I am!) but I it’s easy to live in another place and time and this is not what I want. Being able to stroll out in countryside re-sets me.

Something that I’m a little more aware of is how nature presents us with wonky lines, curves and interesting shapes in the way our modern lives don’t. I know the brain loves this, it finds it interesting and restful. I can feel at screaming point sitting in front of my computer screen day in and day out – the pandemic changed my work-place forever.

I find myself simply looking at a knobbly, wonky old tree and delighting in it because I’ve had enough of living in a square.

For a while now, my practice has been to find something on a walk, especially a daily, familiar walk, that holds a little delight, a new noticing. It never fails – try it. One day it could be the way the grasses move, or colours on stone, or reflections in puddles. Sometimes I pick something up that caught my eye, and I may drop it later, but the act of holding a thing brings it’s presence and attention. I have walked my local paths day and again for years and it brings a gradual intimacy that imbues a sense of place.

Last week, I found myself marvelling at some of the moss on the walls. It’s got this ability to dry out over summer and look completely dead but come alive again with the rain and at this time of year it’s really vibrant. Here are some shapes that caught my attention, how some shelters in stone and some doesn’t, and how it was imperceptibly, slowly covering branches to become part of the wall.

The grasses I used for my latest pieces of work are really very humble ones from my daily walk, ones I would not have noticed unless I had decided to notice. They are simply grasses and weeds, and they are not. I have found them marvellous and delightful as I worked with them.

I know how much being quietly creative saves me and the part Mother Nature plays in this, and wish the same for you as we start walking through 2022.

Longing is the voice of your soul, it constantly calls you to be fully present in your life, to live to the full the one life given to you. Rilke said to the young poet, “Live everything.” You are here on earth now, yet you forget so easily.?.. (be) aware of the miracle of presence within and around you.

John O’Donohue ‘Eternal Echoes’

5 thoughts on “Presence

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your words here Rachael. Having similar ‘walking practices’ I could feel myself relax and breathe deeper by just reading and studying your pictures – love moss!! What a wonderfully creative mind you have for interpreting your nature finds into art – so inspired by you 🙏

  2. I love your new little house and admire your use of ‘humble’ grasses , much neglected plants. For various reasons I don’t walk very much at the moment but am lucky enough to have a garden which goes its own sweet way. i never walk round the garden without finding a treasure – grasses and mosses included! I also love photos of paths, like the one posted above.

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