It's difficult to write about this event because it's so close to my heart. I experienced an awakening of the senses, time spent with strangers (and one very special friend), relearning the secrets of the wood that I thought I already knew. Listening, listening, listening and learning to trust senses other than sight.
Learning the technique to walk silently through the wood, causing minimum disturbance. Learning to see more with the eyes without having to constantly move the head. Learning to find the stillness inside. There was a sense of community too, a sense of being together in the woods, and also alone. Activities were about being alone. Build your own shelter, out of sight of others. Find your own sit spot, out of sight of others. Track, seek, find, relax, sleep, be.
I built a shelter out of branches and a fallen over Scots pine. It was nestled in the crook of the branches below the canopy. A wren watched me build it and grew used to my presence. My shelter wasn't very good, I will freely admit that. It was holey, and too open and I didn't manage to create actual bedding so I wouldn't have managed to stay warm, but I did want to try it and so I allowed myself my sleeping bag, on my bed of heather, and I slept. I slept so well. There was something about being cocooned in that shelter that I don't think I've ever experienced when sleeping anywhere else, even in a tent. Don't get me wrong, I'm a good sleeper, in fact I would go so far as to say it's a skill I have, to be able to sleep anywhere, but this was something else. A sleep of the mind, body and soul, perhaps?
So I slept. Some time later I was woken by a living alarm clock. The wren, the same one as the day before was alarm calling about a metre from my head tchickk chicckkk chickk chtckk so much louder than a body that size should be able to produce. I sleepily checked the time - 5am. Thank you, I said, but could I just borrow your space for a couple more hours? The wren left (I think, I couldn't see him for the angle of where he was and the room available to me) and I slept again. He returned at the back of seven and woke me again. This time I got up and made my way to camp. Refreshed, exhilarated and excited. I love my tent, but this was something else. Imagine being woken by a wren!
So, tales of the woods. It's a new world out there, one that my eyes were closed to. To be able to be a part of nature is something hugely special. I have experienced wonderful sit spots since then, found salvation for myself in those times of peace. I can not recommend these techniques more. Why not look into this and try and find out more? I was led on this week by Ludwig Appeltans from Earthways and we had Greg Somner and Dan Puplett as trainers. There is also an online programme called Kamana which is available for free at first. Well worth a go!
Have you tried these techniques? Let me know!
PS. I apologise for the poorly written post, but this year has been the least productive in terms of posts since I started the blog and I figured a post was better than none!