So many learning opportunities this week and chances to be with discomfort and difficulty! Having just returned from London a week ago writing this blog, I had no idea what the week ahead had in store. There’s a tendency to think that we know what’s going to happen in the steady rhythm of our lives but of course that can be way off the mark. As it turned out, my future held: battering storm force winds; snow (lots of it, which is extremely unusual for where I live); both my primary school aged children marooned in different locations because of the snow; having to mount rescue attempts in weather you would normally stay indoors during; being cut off in our village with dwindling supplies of food, due to the snow and the sea claiming the coast road (during the storm and the full moon induced high spring tides); being forced inside with my returned children by the weather and experiencing cabin fever; and the latest is that we have no water.
When you are in a difficult situation it is easy to feel that it will be like this forever. Sat there, as the wind whipped past feeling like it was shifting the house and not being able to see out the windows for the snow and salt spray, and wondering about how to stretch the food that we had, I found myself imagining I was in for months like some northern Canada or Siberian winter. But everything changes. Today the weather is calm and it seems improbable that this wild weather event happened at all, apart from the devastation left behind. It is shocking to look at what is left of the coast road, and I never imagined I would feel sadness about a road, but of course it is more than just a road. A lifeline for many and will mean even greater change in its wake. We see change on every level of our experience, from the birth and death of stars to the fall and rise of governments and civilisations; environmental and climatic change, right along to the changes and losses we experience in our own lives. Change can be hard to accept when we feel as if we are not in control of it and it brings with it pain, discomfort and difficult feelings. It can also involve the ultimate discomfort: a confronting of our own mortality and that there will be the final change at some point, that we will cease to be one day, shuffle off this mortal coil, be deceased, passed on, no more...to quote Monty Python. All the more reason to live the best, most authentic life we can while we're here.
We exist on a living and breathing planet, that ebbs and flows and changes. As humans, we often think we run the show but as has been aptly demonstrated this past week, that even with all our incredible innovation and technological advancement, we ignore nature at our own cost. Particularly in a relatively safe, western country we can so easily forget this. Elsewhere in so many places in the world, people have to cope with this kind of situations all the time: no running water; a lack of food; storms that break up homes and take lives. It has been a difficult but useful reminder to be thankful for what we do have and to take care of it.
This past week has also been a perfect demonstration of people looking out for each other and helping each other out. I have witnessed a pulling together, a wonderful community spirit, and I know that I am blessed to have some wonderful friends and neighbours. So much to be so grateful for. It is a beautiful world, sometimes we have to take a breath and look more deeply for it, but it is there. Nature has such strength, both as has been seen in the power of the sea but also along the coastal roadside that still remains, the willow and gorse both in flower. It seems incredible that the tarmac is gone but these stunning plants and reminders of spring remain. I can take comfort in the daffodils that have somehow miraculously come back to life and the shoots that are still present now the snow has melted. Spring is there, renewal is there, and life goes on.
“I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” Anne Frank
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