|The forest returning|
There were a couple of areas that really stood out for me. The caves were disappointing, but the rest of the estate made the entire walk worthwhile.
|How did this tree happen?|
Heading up along Sron Badan nam Meann there were more trees that stood out, this auld granny in particular.
The other hint of the power of this auld granny was the ground flora underneath her. In the wider area surrounding the tree were the remains of last years' heather, hare's-tail cottongrass, purple moor-grass and sphagnums. Underneath the pine was a blanket of blaeberry, cowberry and glittering wood moss (Hylocomium splendens - if you know no other moss, know this one); remnants of the old forest maintained by the longevity of the pine.
Overall a heavenly walk. There are times in life when you need to be able to breathe, when you can feel as though you're being crushed. It doesn't take much to escape the rest of humanity and to find a place where the world sings to you again. It's essential to us all, I think, to have some place that is an escape to us, and I think it should be mandatory that we are allowed to do this.
My brother, not a spiritual person by any means, always finds a place by water to sit and contemplate while he's out walking. There do not have to be words to explain this, but an act like that can be all that's required to keep you at peace with yourself and the world around you. We try to fit so much into our lives in these fast paced days, and we leave ourselves no room for error. This was brought home to me recently when I carried out my first conservation week for TfL. I was so critical of myself and how I had been that I was reaching the stage where I thought I was unable to lead these weeks, especially gutting when you realise how many years I have wanted to be part of the great focaliser tradition for. It took listening to others to realise that maybe I hadn't done too badly after all. I was by no means perfect, but it was the first time I had ever led a week, and it's always good to have room for improvement, is it not?
It's good to have a reminder that we're okay, but it's beyond essential to have an escape and to be able to leave the world behind. There are some people that seem to be okay without this, and there are some, me included, that are most absolutely not okay with this precious solitude lacking. There are few people that I can be around for a long period of time, and one of those people is the one that I wish I was with right now. Preferably up a mountain, feeding a wee wood mouse.
Earbsadh - gaelic for confidence, trust, hope, reliance