Day 31 - Wednesday
I woke up to the familiar sound of the dawn chorus, and looking outside, it was foggy everywhere with a sea mist and not a breath of wind.
After my breakfast of muesli and 2 boiled eggs, I took my rod down the sea. The conditions with no wind was ideal to try out some fly fishing from the exposed rocks. As with the two previous occasions I caught nothing, but it was so quiet and peaceful fishing in the fog. I gave it my best shot for an hour and a bit, but with the tide going out rather than coming in as I thought it was, the likelihood of catching anything was remote. I packed up and walked back to the bothy to do some washing in the hope that the sun would eventually burn off the mist.
I also for the first time turned my attention to the maps and the route that I would take starting on Friday. Crikey, that was only 2 days away!
I basically was going to follow the south west coastal path as far as Lyndon, then turn south to get onto Exmoor. I would walk the length of the moor until I reached the Quantock Hills before dropping down onto the Somerset flats and across to Glastonbury. It was going to be a good walk in terms of distance and variation.
The sun came out around lunchtime and it soon warmed the place. It will be interesting come Friday if the warm weather continues. I had a quick look at the clothes and bits that I must take with me, and went up into the woods to take down my 'hide'. There seemed to be a lot of stuff to carry, so I had another 'weeding session' to get the weight down.
I also wrote up some notes on my intended route for Buffy, so at least she had an idea where I was proposing to go - of course that might change once I get going, but the basic route is there for her. The evening sunset was magnificent and since I had not caught anything, I had delicious mackerel fillets courtesy of Buffy with spicy chilly bean salad. Exceptional!
Day 32 - Thursday
A wonderful dawn greeted me with the sun flooding over the tree tops early. It will be a hot one today I fancy. Today is my penultimate day here at the bothy. It's amazing how this passage of time has crept up on me! I will miss the place I know, but I am ultra excited to be going home which I miss much more than being here at the bothy! My thoughts are also turning to the walk home, but for now, it is now and my thoughts rest in the moment of the environment that I am in.
After an early breakfast I walked down to the beach and sat there in meditation, the sounds of the waves helping me to reflect on my time here. There are many emotions and feelings that I have brought up in myself and some of my observations are as follows:
1. I have learnt (at last) to meditate and reflect in such a way to have discovered the way to bring to mind something, or an event in my past, but to be able to see it now in a wider context, accept it, honour it and then let it be.
2. I have slowed down measurably - almost in everything I do, cooking a meal, walking a path or just breathing. I have not felt inclined to do anything at ‘pace’ at all.
3. I have accessed deep connections, either through dreamtime or of the present awakened now. These connections are particularly strong with Buffy and my family circle. The connections have been vibrant, energetic and colourful.
4. I have experienced some emotions of deep sadness and of loneliness at not being with Buffy - these really started to 'kick in' from about 3 weeks onwards. These feelings were strong and for me, unusual in that they did actually make me depressed for a while.
5. I have 'confronted' episodes in my life that I have not been happy about. These recurring past events have affected the way I normally walk my path, and I was hoping that I could reconcile and finally put these to rest. By using second and third perspectives I was able to recognise, understand and honour what was happening to the Mike at that time, but I had no need for that or those experiences anymore. I was not that Mike.
6. I am in constant amazement of the beauty that beholds us all in nature - the woods, the stars, the animals and birds, everything that surrounds me, and I am grateful for that awareness. Time in nature has again reminded me that everything has a role on earth and how we interact (or not) will have consequences somewhere to something or somebody.
I was remembering reading an article about how the ecosystem in a large area had been totally affected by wiping out wolves – largely because of man's irrational fear of them. As a result animals that would normally be the prey of wolves, flourished and ate more vegetation, which in turn caused erosion, which in turn again altered the physical landscape. Mudslides and flooding followed and plant life started to become extinct. Insects left for other areas and were soon followed by the birds. Environmentally the area had become a disaster. 50 years later they reintroduced wolves and the landscape changed and natures ‘law’ was resumed. What affect man can have (and still does!) on the place he calls home (earth).
7. I also had a better understanding and the lasting effect of how the nature of 'now' is. Now is supremo, and something to cherish and hold - so rather than dwell on the past or speculate on the future - neither of which you have any say or control of, live for now.
Today is all about preparing for my next journey - both physically in the walk home, but spiritually in how I want to live my life from this point onwards. I turn my attention to the respectful actions that I will undertake in thanking the spirits of this environment that I am in, to thank them for this time. I will conduct a farewell ceremony in the garden tomorrow before I set off. Part of this preparation to leave was a swim in the sea, to cleanse the body with the oceans natural flow and the mind. It was cold but exhilarating!
I started to really pack both foodstuffs and clothes for the walk home - it seemed like a lot and weighed a ton, still it would get lighter as I walked...the important things to me were the cooker, shelter system and food/water. Providing the weather was kind, then I did not expect to have to use all my spare clothing, but it would be daft not to set off without them. I would put faith into my energy of walking 'light' and with the weight (burden) of the pack I would tell myself it was like a rucksack full of helium - instead of being a dead weight it would be an active source lifting me as I walked.
I lit my final fire at Peppercombe Bothy. It was a vibrant fire with flames licking the night sky, and mirrored how I felt - purposeful, excited and energetic. The colour of the flames were beautiful – blues and purples as the salt in the wood from the sea ignited. As the fire embers glowed in the dark, my mind started seeing a group of misty figures all walking around me in a circle. They were extremely tall with enormous heads and were humming a tune of some sorts - without doubt these were the guardians of this place saying farewell. Mixed in with the tall figures were horned animals (deer perhaps), I should not have been surprised as I was staying close to Horn Cross! I felt humbled and it was a wonderful and fitting ending of this particular chapter of mine. They had been with me of course all of the time, watching over me since I arrived some 5 weeks previous.