This is where the path emerges from the woods to a fence that surrounds the field next to Billinge Wood. This is where we would run, me and my two mates Sally and Jenny, during fantastical summers where life in Hong Kong morphed into life in Lancashire. We would leap over the style at the top, and up onto the Yellow Hills and views stretching as far as Blackpool Tower. I knew nothing of winter, cold. I only knew of flourishing meadows, wild flowers, adventure. Long days that seemed to last forever. Hiding and playing and entering a different world where we decided the rules.
I think it's important to remember this imagination, this play. It's important to not get too bogged down by 'reality' and ordinary eyes. Who says that the world is a boxed in set of normal, boring forms? Who says that everything we think must therefore exist? Who says we are right, when we see what we see?
It reminds me of this year's summer, not spent in the woods of Lancashire, but in the sanctuary of the Kadampa Meditation Center, New York. I am reminded of a walk I took there, on my last full day of the 2-week working visit. I finally decided to try out one of the signposted paths that reached in – from the ordered, manicured lawns of the temple grounds – into the depths of the forest.
I walked into those woods and spent half an hour in a muted, bewitching place. There were no straight lines. There were no constructions of the human mind. There was magic everywhere. Deer quietly munching leaves. A canopy of tall trees dappling light into the green-toned air. A knee-high expanse of ferns. Squirrels shaking branches... and this quaint little trail, winding through it all, over fallen trees and around circles and snake-like directions.
I walked, initially full of fear (I am a city kid at heart, who is not used to being out in the wilds on my own). But soon that fear gave way to wonder. Something different was at work. I felt like I was connecting to something ancient. The way of the world when humans aren't dictating everything. It didn't follow the structures of the human mind. All those architectural forms and flower beds and law and order, and TIME. No, it was different. An expanding feeling, an opening out.
It's important that we step back into that ancient world every now and then.
Or better yet; what if we were to train our eyes to see that timeless, extraordinary world - right here, right now?