We all go through periods of our lives when plans are thwarted, futures unravelled and forgotten pasts unfortunately remembered. It is something we have to come to terms with for, after all, if there were no ‘lows’, we couldn’t have ‘highs’ either.
It has been a difficult couple of weeks although, in the grand scheme of things, I should not complain too much. My partner, who has suffered considerably and silently with a debilitating heart problem the past two years, has finally had the op long waited for. And it seems, a great success with glimpses, already, of the old energy that was there before.
At the same time, the first anniversary of my mother’s death has weighed far more heavily than I expected. We were close and talked frequently about all sorts of things and, in her last few months, of dying. As she often said, she had a great and happy life and reached 94 despite hating being old (“it’s no fun being in your 90’s, you know”). She was ready to go.
So here I am, feeling a bit ‘blue’ and why? My partner is recovering, my mother is at peace. And suddenly, I have no need to be rushing hither and thither. I am like a train that has run out of steam or, if you want to be less kind, moping about like a wet rag, if they can mope and I can mix metaphors.
Without love there can be no loss and without illness there can be no recovery. And without fall there can be no spring. And it is the spring that renews, not just our gardens and the landscapes that surround us, it renews the spirit inside us. And so it was back to the Chiltern Hills, where I grew up and spent most of my life, that I returned to be revived by the extraordinary lushness of their beautiful beechwoods.
The Chilterns are barely 30 miles from the Cotswolds, the two being separated by the low lying Oxford vale. So close yet so different in character. The Cotwolds is a landscape of gently rolling hills, little rivers, big vistas and skyscapes. The Chilterns is a secretive land of steep combes – the beech woodlands clinging precariously to the valley walls. Few rivers, for this is a chalk land, a dry place with few views and no large skies for the forest hides them all. Yet the light is magical and nothing is as blinding as the intense greens of the unfurling beech leaves.
How can one walk here without being uplifted spiritually and mentally, whether holding religious belief or not? And if the beech is struggling to kick start you then the sight of the tens of thousands of bluebells, with their gentle scent, cleanse the body and renews the energy within.
Life is good and I’ve only got one attempt at it. I feel refreshed. I’d better get on with it.
Yes, life is good. No complaints. Honest!
My mom died suddenly at 65 yrs., two years ago, so I understand your pain. You were blessed to have your mom so long. Everything has a season.You need to take some breathing time , some still time…time to be still.Also sounds like God is calling to you , maybe you'll now have more time to learn about Him.Bless you, beautiful photos, Gina
Many thanks Gina for the kind words.Johnson
Life is good, no matter what happens. wonderful post. jim
Your beautiful words soften the heart and bring tears to my eyes. Although you have suffered, you have also been blessed.
Gentle hearts are easily broken but gentle hearts are those that carry the world and all its glory. Missed your posts sir, welcome back.
Dear Johnson, How well I empathise with you at this particular time but am heartened to know that your partner has had a successful operation and is well on the way to recovery.The Chilterns which you describe here in such an evocative way are indeed magical, particularly in early summer with carpets of bluebells. I am so pleased that they have gone some way to restoring your faith and confidence at a difficult point in your life.Thank you so much for the very kind and thoughtful message left on my 'Explanatory Note'. It was, and is, greatly appreciated.
Hi Johnson, What a beautiful sensitive post you wrote. With tears in my eyes I read it over and over again. You said it all so beautiful: 'if there were no 'lows', we couldn't have 'highs' either". "Without love there can be no loss". Especially this last sentence touched me very much. I experienced loss now almost 9 months ago, although I lost what some people call: “only a silly duck”, but I'm still grieving. I hope that your partner will recover, I hope that you still may share a long healthy and happy time together. Enjoy life to the fullest!What a beautiful nature you have there at your place!Take care
My first time posting on your blog and I first want to say thank you so much for all the heart and soul you put into your blog. This post especially touched me. Some humans aren't complex, they're simple so they don't feel all the layers of emotions that com"e with both the birth, death and renewal. They just simply feel one general emotion, period. You're an artist and accept all the nuances of life…Thank you for another beautiful post. It reminded me of the Enya song, "How can I keep from singing?" If you haven't heard it, you might like it. Blessings to you and may your partner have full health recovery soon.
The landscape of Chiltern Hills is just lovely and I can see how it can refresh your spirit. I am glad you partner is already showing signs of recovery. The death of a parent is hard and it can hit you hard now and then…my dad died 3 years ago and sometimes it is harder then others.
Many thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts and comments which mean a great deal to me. When I wrote this post I was worried that it might appear somewhat self indulgent. I'm glad that you all found it worthwhile.Johnson
Hi, Johnson;Catching up on your blog tonight — sorry to find you out of sorts. Though I certainly understand the feeling. My own life has felt like a sweater unraveling. Things will get better. They always do. And… a ride on your horsie might set many things straight.
I already feel much better thanks Kate. And, yes, I really ought to start riding Barney again – I tend not to during the summer months as so busy with garden work. My partner is progressing well so life is returning to normal, thank goodness.Johnson
Hello Johnson, I am pleased you ended on a high note 🙂 I began to wonder where you were going! Walking is the answer for me 🙂 HG and I care for his father, 96, and like your mother, he says that it is no fun being in your 90s. But you have to laugh. I am pleased your partner is making a good recovery. Keep posting those glorious green trees 🙂
No need to worry, Chris, I'm back to normal now – assuming that's a good thing! Keeping laughing is all about you can do, isn't it? And walking is good to regain a sense of balance.I was back amongst the Chilterns trees today looking for rare wild flowers. A glorious day and some success. It's all in the next post, which I'm just about to write now.I promise it won't be glum!Johnson
Stunning pictures, just gorgeous. And a beautifully-written entry, as well. Very poetic and deep. I'm sorry for your loss…
Thank you, Traci. Very kind words.Johnson
I feel rejuvenated reading this post…while I watch the steady rain through the windows in Brisbane, I am also reading your blog and seeing all the photos…your posts provide hope and happiness to whoever reads and sees the wonderful pictures…There is something magical when the wild flowers bloom and the sun peeps in through the tree canopies…wonderfully captured by your camera :)keep writing and sharing 🙂 Varsha
Many thanks, Varshaa. We have just had two lovely day – warm and sunny – our first days of soring weather, although too early in the year for it to last. The first of the flowers are blooming but it will be several weeks before we get the vivid green of the beech leaves again.I always think of Australia as unrelenting sunshine – we are desperate for the rain here. It has been one of the driest winters for many years.Safe journey back home (assuming you are returning there after Oz).Johnson