stepping stones of truth

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Essence of Kyoto

And its all the more perfect with friends who can share the experience.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Green grass of home

I've been back at work for three days now, my case eventually arrived back and I think I have. I am still dreaming about Kyoto every night, but at least I now wake up at 6am rather than 4 or 5 (i hope that continues!) My good friend and alternative therapist (massage and reflexology and all sorts of other lovely healings) did wonders with a remedy massage oil for jetlag which includes peppermint and geranium I think.

I heard yesterday that I shall have to leave my lovely cheerful office and desk by the windows with the panoramic view of trees and skies for a cold grey room with a small window. I feel quite sad and bleak. But today I walked a labyrinth which was a restoring experience.

Helen Raphael Sands has visited Ioana and many sacred sites as well as churches and village halls with her large canvas Chartres labyrinth. Even though this was indoors, the act of walking meditatively without having to make choices (it's a maze, where you have to choose) is always interesting and rewarding, and seems to bring about a change. I must say that I found myself driving home humming a cheerful song and smiling at the green valleys in the sunshine.

The sunshine prompted Youngest Daughter and myself to go for a walk. We realised she hadn't been to Eggardon Hill - an Iron Age hill fort only twenty minutes away towards the sea. We drove through our next village and picked up newspapers and a bar of chocolate each, and enjoyed the drive along the narrow lanes and green hillsides, and onto the old Roman road. Strange things have been seen up here - ghost legions marching, wild boar and a white deer - all by friends and recently.

We were driving into very dark skies ("its black over Will's mother's" is the Dorset saying) and as we arrived the heavens opened. So we sat in the car, munching and reading till it blew over. Its an amazing place, high up, and the ramparts are very impressive and the views out to sea over the landscape are breathtaking.

It was blowing a gale and we did get caught in the edge of a fierce shower, and we could see lightning in the distance.

The views made me realise the softness and green spaciousness of the English countryside, compared to the concrete cities and mountainous terrain of Japan. No wonder the created sacred havens of tranquillity around their temples are in such contrast to the outside world. I feel I am home in both places- the gardens and temples of Kyoto and the Dorset hillsides - both ancient and deep. I can't quite bring myself to post about my recent trip yet, experiences still need to settle, like pebbles sinking toward the bottom of a river. But some images may start to appear over on The Dewy Path.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I am back ...

.....but my luggage is not!

It was a calculated risk. My onward flight from Amsterdam to London City airport had been cancelled, but they could get me on an earlier flight - leaving now. "Fine by me, I can make it. But will my case be able to get around Schipol airport to my new plane as fast as I can?" "Sure" said the confident KLM person. Hmmmm.....

Once in London, all I wanted to do was to get home to Dorset and my bed. Its a long day when there are thirty three hours in it, and many of those had been spent in planes. So I didn't wait the two hours for my case, but said "send it on".

Its now two days later and I am going back to work in an hour or two, but I still feel in limbo as all my clothes, toiletries and camera accessories, etc are still travelling. But I have managed to get a couple of photos out of the new camera. The photo above is of a seki-mori- ishi. A stone, bound with black twine, that signifies No Entry in a Japanese garden, placed on path. That's a bit how I feel right now somehow! Stuck and unable to move on.

But it was a wonderful, wonderful time.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Normal service will be resumed.....

....when I get back from visiting the delectable city of Kyoto in Japan. Instead of English lanes and small town streets, I will be wandering along roads like these - not to mention the city centre streets thronged with people at night.

And sipping tea in a hillside café, looking out through a window like this.....aaaahhhhh.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday morning stroll

That was a sort of photo diary of a very gentle stroll around the lanes and woods. Unedited and as it came out of the camera - wire fences and all.To be honest, I was checking the camera's batteries - I tried some new ones, and all of a sudden, any battery only lasted four photos. Disaster! Especially in view of my trip to Kyoto, when an average day will see fifty photos, at least. I am thinking of replacing it with a newer, slimmer model that I can manually over-ride - rather than just point and play.My only ever other camera was a Retina IIIc, which the model that they took on the first successful climb on Everest (did you know it should be pronounced Eve-rest, like the guy it was named after?) It was lovely, with a Schneider Xenon lens, that had the front part interchangeable. And very light. I loved it.

The sun was warm this morning, but the air is still chilly. I think everyone is making the most of the sunny spell before the mists and murk of winter take hold. It was very restful to lean on the bridge over the river, and watch the leaves being carried along in the clear water. The bridge replaces an old ford, and when there has been heavy rain and strong currents you can see the old paving slabs on the bottom. Today though the water was clear and shallow, and the Youngest Daughter (who, in her late twenties, is beginning to appreciate the delights of walks in the Dorset countryside) pointed out that there was some other underwater stonework much further downstream that we had noticed before.

She also noticed that it was impossible to walk through the drifts of dry leaves without your feet making a kicking motion to add to the sound. Correct!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

First frosts and last fruits

Well, not fruits exactly - walnuts. There are many traditions in Dorset about helping walnut trees bear fruit abundantly :-
" A woman, a rose and a walnut tree -
The more you beat 'em , the better they'm be!"

I am glad to say that The Husband does none of those things, and was up the ladder in the sharp wind, harvesting rather than beating (pronounced "be-atting" in the old Dorset diaclect) But we do know that you have to wait years and years for the trees to provide walnuts. It was well over twenty years ago when we planted it as a small sapling.

Since then it had been pruned by our hungry horse several times. The sheep can't reach over the fencing but Timothy was very interested in them. Although, after smelling it and "lipping" at it several times, he declined my offer.

Last night we had the first frost of the season, inevitable as the clear skies of the days continue into the night. The moon looked sharp enough to cut through the black velvet sky last night. All was very crisp. I knew we had something interesting going on - as I stepped out of the door this morning I could hear it. A persistent gentle thud, almost too quiet to hear. The sycamore tree had been frosted, and had given up holding on to its leaves. As it does every year, it lets them all go in a matter of hours. Fascinating to watch, but I had to get to work so couldn't stand around watching the whole tree turn to a skeleton in front of my eyes in the now still air.

I was hoping we would get some cold weather before I go to Japan, so as I could feel the benefit of the temperature difference. So its all my fault. Luckily the heating at work starts on 1st November. Just in time!

Even the lowliest nettles were trimmed with silver.