Riding the rails
Yesterday was a bit of a day. I have a weekly morning appointment that often leaves me feeling very emotional. I’ve been travelling there and back by train while I’ve been on holiday. However, next week I return to work and the early morning train journeys will cease as I will have to get to work asap after my appointment. I went to the Forum Coffee Lounge in Merthyr Tydfil for a pot of tea and some cake – I settled on a flapjack this week. It has to be said, the Forum has the most gorgeous home-made cakes and traditional puddings, and they are very reasonably priced.
After enjoying the tea and nibble and recording my thoughts in my Luddite-journal,I decided to get a Day Ranger ticket, and travel around South Wales. The day was turning out to be a beautiful late summer day, the world lit with a soft golden light that presages Autumn so wonderfully. I thought it would be nice to just to watch the world go by and for nothing more than the joy of moving from place to place, a chance to get my thoughts and emotions back into order, and to take a day out. And so I did. And it was lovely and relaxing. I wish my train had been a steam train, like Sir Nigel Gresley, an A4 Pacific. But the haulage by various diesel units was adequate and did the job of allowing me to relax.
I do find train travel relaxing. I can’t run away from what I need to examine internally or work on creatively while travelling in such a way. I have my journal with me, I write in it as I need to and work my way through things and find my balance once again. Steam engines I love, but any locomotive will do in such circumstances.
The world is certainly moving towards Autumn in these here necks of the woods. The quality of the light is changing, becoming more golden as the Sun’s strength wanes as we move further away from the Summer Solstice towards the Autumn Equinox. There’s plenty of strength in the Sun to warm the Earth during the day, but the early mornings, late evenings and nights have that wonderful chill that heralds the coming of the magnificence of Autumn.
It really is my favourite time of year. I adore the glowing warm colours and I start to eagerly look around me for signs of the changes, and yesterday I saw them.
The profusion of red haws on the hawthorn trees like seeds of the fire that will blaze soon. There were the very occasional flash of bright yellow leaves on the beech trees. My ‘flame’ trees (some kind of maple or sycamore I think) were crowned with darker green leaves that had hints of a deep burgundy in them. Ferns were beginning to turn yellow and then brown after being baked by the Summer Sun. Fluffy seeds from rosebay willow herb. Just hints, promises of the beauty of the colours yet to come.
The cycle of the seasons
I’ve always felt a close connection to the cycle of the seasons. Without knowing why, I’ve always felt a deep ‘attachment’ to the solstices and equinoxes and have had an understanding of how they link to the cycles of human life and experience.
I have my own way of observing these astronomical (and astrological) stations of the year, ways that have developed over the past few years since I started to explore and find ways of expressing my spirituality and beliefs. It has always seemed natural to me to acknowledge these stations of the year in some way. As I’ve developed, so have my practices, sometimes I feel guilty about not spending as much time on them, having abbreviated them to the pure essence of what they are about, but I work hard on reminding myself that as we change, grow, develop, so must our practices and the way we do things. When we learn something new, we do it with great attention to all the details, learning from this, but as our understanding and skill develops, we learn what is truly essential and leave out those parts that are superfluous to ourselves, our individuality. Of course, they may be incorporated once again later if they are found to be required once again, but I do believe that by cutting away a lot of the faff and fluff you get to the core of the practice and the focus and intent is greater as a result. The more in tune you are with the process, the less fuss is needed to make the connections that are needed. But that’s me …simplicity wherever possible.