stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Alfresco bokken

Its the first day of a new term of t'ai chi lessons this evening, and we are back in our summer quarters. In the open air!

Last summer, as an experiment, we carried on meeting after the summer term indoors ended in June, on Monday evenings down by the lake at Kingston Maurward. We got permission to use the grounds after normal closing hours, as the mansion now houses a thriving college. The lovely grounds are open to the public during the day, but the only people we encountered were some local volunteer firemen roaring down the grassy slope to train, using the lake as a water supply! And several agricultural students taking a short cut.

The flat ground at the bottom of the slope makes a wonderful practise area. Its absolutely blissful doing t'ai chi in the open air, with a calm lake in front of you. So very tranquil. And do you know, last year right the way through July and August there was not one rainy Monday evening! Today's weather is looking good too, which is as well as we are starting at the beginning of May this year. Rather optimistic.

There is also the remnants of aVictorian attempt at a Japanese style garden next to it too, no English stately home was complete without one. Its just a small shrubbery with a stream going through it and several stone lanterns. Rather sadly, last year, one of the yukimi-gata (snow-viewing lanterns with a broad flat "roof") had been decapitated. I took photos of it, but its too sad to look at! Hopefully it will have been repaired now. But use of a few acers and bamboos gives a pleasant enough Japanese feel. Quite appropriate really, nothing like wielding your bokken in the calm of an English summer evening. I bet the designers never envisaged that!

10.29pm : It was a glorious evening! They HAD mended the lantern, so I took a photo with my phone. The fresh leaves on the acer looked dainty, and there was a huge magnolia tree which completely carpeted the grass with fallen white petals. Later we had a meditative stroll right around the lake as dusk fell.

A spring feeds the stream, which is just to the right of the clipped hedges. Nice to see the area is being cared for again.


At 5:26 am, Blogger vishwa said...

Val...reading through such descriptons makes me start daydreaming about the ambience you are surrounded with. I'd love to live in such an atmosphere, amidst nature---at least in my imagination for the time being.

Tai chi---would love to practice that. Seriously considering it.

At 9:53 am, Blogger Val said...

What a great venue for t'ai chi, with a Japanese garden thrown in. I remember the first time I saw people doing t'ai chi, I hadn't heard of it or anything about it. I was walking through San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and saw one of the big meadows filled with people doing this slow graceful stuff. One of these days I must get into it but am still too into aerobics classes with lots of jumping and fast moves and loud music.

At 9:54 pm, Blogger David Barltrop said...

I would have taken that last one from the waist. Good photograph though!

At 10:08 pm, Blogger Val said...

Oh David, that's a very good point (even tho it would have been more difficult with a phone at waist height) " From the waist" - I think I am guilty of laziness, and only thinking of one viewpoint! As often in the past, a comment from you makes me think deeply about how I view the world in general! *a bow of thanks*

At 3:07 pm, Blogger Kerri said...

Sounds like a really peaceful place and it looks gorgeous!
My computer is playing up. May have to get a new one, but managed to post this morning. I've been missing visiting all my friends!! :)


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