Wishing you a healthy and happy August! I’m writing this while staying in an East Sussex house that adjoins a farm. The sun is bathing the fields in light and warmth. Newly-shorn sheep and lambs are contentedly grazing and bleating at each other. There is a timeless quality.
Hello! July is happening. When the sun comes out I’ve been mostly hanging around in the countryside. The villages are pretty, the wheat fields are full of life. The landscapes are all familiar – but we are living in a very different country now.
Currently Covid-19 is slowing in the UK, which gives us a little hope. In the absence of a vaccine it’s frightening to think of a future where we can’t physically touch anyone who isn’t isolating with us.
‘Shinrin Yoku’ is a Japanese noun which means, ‘A visit to a forest for relaxation’. It originated in the 1980’s as a reaction to urbanization and disconnection from the land. I vote we add it to English!
Starting a newsletter during a health emergency seems frivolous somehow. But even in quarantine life goes on. So I sit in the garden, drinking in pale afternoon sunshine while April birdsong fills the air. Also the next door neighbour’s lawnmower fills the air.
The most valuable piece of advice anyone ever gave me came from a nurse called Michael in psychiatric hospital. He wore tinted glasses and had a loud, biblical voice. At that time I had been ill with M.E for more than a decade, and it had made me acutely depressed. He said all of us have a cross to bear. For a child in Africa it may be that they do not enough to eat. Other peoples crosses might be smaller, they may be bigger, but your illness is a cross you have to bear. If you don’t come to terms with it you end up in places like this. Or worse.