What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.
My fallen comrade, a tree, which dominated a field boundary.
The eve of the Celtic new year, marked by what feels a new cycle in my life. The eve of the first day of winter, the land marked by the passing of Storm St Jude. The last 24 hours is like a rollercoaster of creative connections, like pieces of a jigsaw, connections fall into place, revealing the picture of solutions to long-standing challenges such as business branding and the direction in my life.
Escape from death
I returned to my camp site in the wood, the nighttime temperatures fell to a new low of 5 Celsius, I am testing my limits in nature, I passed the night challenge comfortably. I had enclosed the camp on all sides with a boundary of branches, cut in half by the fallen tree, a victim of St Jude. I previously considered locating my tent under the tree, had I done so, potential death. Had I been standing under the tree at the wrong moment, for I had stood under it as St Jude smashed into the wood, I would be dead. I am thankful for good fortune of life, the fallen tree and my escape from death teaches me about the impermanence of life, that life is a risk.
Spirit of Place
I believe all places have a spirit, essence, or life. When I camp I ask the spirit of place to protect me and my belongings when I am there, for life is partly random chaos, thus there is a risk of harm from random events. I would like to think the spirit of place watched out for me, I suffered no harm from the fallen tree. From challenge, a hidden blessing, the fallen tree offers satisfaction of needs for a seat, protection from the wind and a place to hang clothes. This morning I made a dedication to the spirit of place in the Roman fashion:
“To the Spirit of this Place, Alexander faithfully fulfills his vow.”
A gift from ancestors
This morning, I cut through Cymbeline Meadows, in a field I find a tool from my ancestors, at least 3000-years-old. The stone tool shaped like part of a pickaxe, the sort one might use to carve out a hole in the ground to plant crops by hand. I shall visit the archaeologists to get their view on this tool. The find is ironic, for today I was planting acorns.
Visit to a fallen friend
I pass where the oak tree I named “Castle Tree” fell, a tree whose death I grieve. There are thirteen cows in this field where the tree fell of mixed variety, some with horns, that like to shelter near the fallen tree from the weather in what is a field exposed to the elements. I practice mindfulness and respect for the cows, who are at the other end of the field, mindful to what the cows do, and respect for their unpredictable nature.
A pheasant flies away at my approach to my fallen friend, another unknown creature is moving amongst the fallen branches. It is a sad scene of destruction. The tree stump stands tall at the field boundary, a monument to my friend. I look for acorns on the ground, there are none. My mindful attention notes the cows galloping towards me, forcing me to run to a gate in an adjacent field. The cows gather like watchful guardians on the other side of the gate, wary of me, sniffing at me as I talk to them, rejecting my offered grass.
Gathering of acorns
On the other side of the gate I find acorns that I was seeking from my fallen comrade. I collect fourteen acorns, all brown and cracked, some with little roots seeking life-giving anchor into the earth. Like a loving parent I place the acorns into my breast pocket. I climb over several gates to avoid the watchful cows, I make my way to civilisation.
Challenges and Blessings
In civilisation I find pots and compost, I plant and water fourteen acorns, placing them at a location I thought was safe.
I visit a retail store in Colchester, purchasing two items for £2.00. I tender £10.00, I leave the shop discovering I have been given £13.00 as change. I look at the strange blessing in my hand, which should have been £8.00 rather than £13.00.
I return to my home in civilisation. A challenge, as my landlord has been gardening and has disposed of some of the planted acorns. I am upset, I keep my composure, there are no arguments. I recover acorns, but one acorn is lost, I am now down to thirteen acorns. The landlord offers additional pots and compost – a hidden blessing.
Thirteen appears a significant number today: thirteen cows; thirteen pounds(£); thirteen acorns.
The challenge over the acorns reveals another hidden blessing, the delay means I am available when a business customer turns up with little warning at the door with the final items that completes a jigsaw of a major business project.