Day 9 - Tuesday
I woke up this morning to sunshine. Hurrah! The wind is down and the visibility out to Lundy Island is good. My morning is spent doing all the washing I had meant to do over the past 4 days or so. I also decided early that this would be the day/night for a camp out on the beach tonight. This would be a break from the bothy as well as a 'must do' for me in terms of being out in nature at the real 'front line' - spiritual connections with flow of water from the ocean and the majesty of the stars above.
I walked down to the spot I have chosen previously and set about making it 'home'. It took me around an hour and a half to fully prepare my 'space' and the efforts were rewarded with glorious evening and later, a wonderful dawn. The tide did not come up as far as I thought it would, but even so, as the dark came in so did the sounds of crashing waves - some 50 feet away. I cooked up some seaweed with my butter beans and sauce as part of a stir fry on a roaring camp fire. There is something ethereal and special about a fire burning from driftwood. The colours of the flames are punctuated with blues and purples from the salt embedded in the wood. It was magical.
I attempted to remain awake throughout the night, but after midnight or so I fell asleep looking at the stars whilst trying to ponder how we as humans fit into all of this immense space above us. What we have above us is absolutely awesome.
The most convincing argument about the enormity of space? I like this one: There are more stars in our universe than there is sand. On Earth. all of the sand, all of it.
Now imagine a beach; a beach is like a galaxy, but instead of the grains of sand being mere millimetres apart, imagine expanding the beach so that each grain of sand was about a mile from its nearest neighbour. Everything else is gone: no water or rocks or trees. Nothing. That’s how much empty space is in our galaxy.
Now, imagine a beach on the other side of the world. That beach is the nearest galaxy to us. But that’s just the nearest galaxy. The farthest reaches of the universe aren’t on Earth or even the moon. On this scale they’re still billions of miles away. And what’s in between those incredibly isolated beaches? Almost nothing.
When I woke at 4am the temperature had dropped a fair amount and the wind had veered around to the north again. Luckily for me I had my deerskin with me, so I was plenty warm in my sleeping bag. The clouds started to build and with it grey skies, so after a quick clean up, I headed back to the bothy and a hot cup of tea followed by a couple of hours of sleep.
Being under the stars by the sea was extremely relaxing and peaceful. I saw no-one and only heard the waves and sea birds. Bliss! It just goes to show how we humans value being outside a building and in the 'wilds'. That's when you get a real connection with nature, no matter how long you stay out there.
Day 10 - Wednesday
It was cold and grey after my quick ‘power nap’ but by lunchtime, the skies began to clear and the sun made the occasional appearance. I decided to get out and go walking up the back of the bothy. I had always planned to do as much walking as possible whilst on my 40 days - it allows me to think a lot as well as being out in the countryside.
I came across an enormous badger set under a very old and ancient oak tree. Clearly both animal and tree were in harmony on that hillside. The trees then gave way to scrubby land with gorse bushes dotted about with wonderful splashed of bright yellow. The views out to sea were incredible and I got out the wind to sit down and just watch for a while. The mist was beginning to roll in and Lundy on the horizon began to slip away from sight, as if a painter had splashed a grey wash over it. It was not long until drizzle started so I walked back to the bothy to find 'no tail' the pheasant sitting on the bench outside the bothy! The evening set in and so supper was a short biscuit and cheese affair and I was asleep by 8pm. Seems I am sleeping much earlier than I normally do when inside a house.
Day 11 - Thursday
On awaking to the dawn chorus from the birds I went down for an early walk to the beach. It was low tide so I potted around the rock pools hoping to see sight of some crab, but nothing to report. Came back and made breakfast and then did some washing to hang out on my makeshift clothes line. The weather doesn't seem to know what to do with brilliant outbursts of sun mixed in with heavy cloud. By mid morning I decided to get on and make mushroom soup with the mushrooms kindly delivered by Buffy. I added breadcrumbs, wild garlic picked from the back of the bothy, fern leaves, red pepper and onions. Despite taking an age to prepare and the fire refusing to light for a while, the whole treat was worthwhile.
Again, it reminded me that when we think that something is very simple to do, in order to do it well, it may take time but that it also needs to be made with love. Later, I walked down to the beach to read. When the sun did come out it was surprisingly warm.
I have adopted a little ritual which I do first thing in the morning on waking, and last night at night before I blow the candle out. It involves 6 parts:
1. Compassion and kindness - I ask that I may show compassion and kindness in the day ahead.
2. Gratitude - I state how grateful I am for the life I have and the people around me and all that I see and hear.
3. Forgiveness - I ask that I may be forgiven for any silly, stupid or non compassionate things that I have done, either in that day, or the time to come.
4. Vision of the future - more a declaration invoking the law of attraction for me to find peace throughout the day and to be a better person towards those around me.
5. Today's intention - a statement about what I would like to achieve in the forthcoming day and in my personal development be it through action, reflection, mediation, dreams all declared with a positive intent.
6. Blessing - finally, I offer a blessing to all those I know, family, friends (real and spiritual), the creatures of the planet and the planet that I walk on.
In the next post I will cover how I discovered the joy of meditation, which I had previously found difficult to achieve without getting distracted!