No matter what is happening elsewhere, the rhythm of the valley continues.
Indeed this year, more than any other, the natural world is establishing its own tempo. Unhindered and unhurried.
With only Steve, me and the dog out and about, the shyer inhabitants are coming into their own around The Waterside.
The beautiful Goosanders appear to be staying. Our two pairs of Canada Geese are well into their mating routines. And the heron continues to grace us with his presence, on occasions.
Our alpacas are grateful for fresh hay and dried peas, thank you very much. And the rhythm of their day has more ease as they can wander freely up the valley. Nibbling green shoots and new bramble leaves as they go.
I suspect for most of us, the pause we are entering still feels uncomfortable and disjointed.
We’ve wanted a pause, a reset, for a long time. But not like this.
This pause is accompanied by fear and confusion. More like a free-fall than a melodic rest. And we aren’t sure if we have the wherewithal to be ready for what’s next.
So let’s stop. Step back. And breathe.
The reality is we are not in control. No one is. They can’t be…
And this is a shock to our sense of who we are and how the world is.
The pause we are being offered is not the ability to see the future. It’s the opportunity to inhabit the present.
Who do we want to be, now?
What do we need to let go of to be here?
What is our individual and collective role in the ongoing creation of the world? Starting from here.
Because we can only start where we are.
As a musician, I appreciate the internal re-orientation that’s required when you shift into a new time signature. Especially one that is rarely used.
I also know the sense of dislocation when you have to change from a familiar style of playing to a new genre.
It takes a while. It feels strange and you have to practice. Because it doesn’t come naturally – it’s not part of you. Yet.
But it will if we recognise the opportunities of the time we are in.
There are great tips and resources surfacing everywhere to help us adjust and make the most of this time. I am glad that conversations about mental well-being, gratitude and connections are alive and well. Do seek them out and keep yourself nourished.
Here, I want to notice the natural rhythms all around us as a means of grounding our being in this time of unpredictability.
The earth keeps rotating and the sun, moon and stars still appear. This bigger cosmic rhythm is awesome. And maybe we will understand ourselves more within its orbit during this time.
Seasons, which we’ve so often insulated ourselves from, are here to teach us about the cycles of life. Today we cannot flee or fight their presence. However, we can appreciate their dynamic interconnections and distinctive beauty. Which most of us have been too busy to notice.
And what about the smaller things? The natural world that is right here with us?
The rhythms of our animals, or co-inhabitants of our homes (in a farmhouse we have so many…). Or our plants – inside and outside – and trees in sight of where we are?
The reality is their rhythms have pauses. Spaces for rejuvenation and restoration.
And here’s the thing. Rhythms aren’t a single note, played continuously. They are a pattern of beats, with different duration, and a sense of phrasing.
Rhythms come to rest and start again. They breathe and change.
Because without them, this would just be noise.
Thanks for reading – go well
Has continued to open up new choices, whilst letting go of much that is familiar.