This is somewhat of a tradition for me, no religon holds me in its grip, but a need for contemplation is important, so my walk in the great outside world of nature must be a reflection of a spiritual need to connect the centre of one's being with the centredness of the earth. The mind opens to the stony path that winds before me, the graceful hedges leaning down to greet you, the chatter of the crows in the trees. Autumn and its death are rather strange this year, leaves are falling prematurely, some still green, the mist is light but the clouds are heavy with greyness, there is a sombre mood that has descended on the earth.
Nothing to remind me on this walk to the Langridge barrows of the first flush of spring, then summer, hedgerows spilling their flowers on to the stones of the path.
Now the bare trunks of the trees entwinned with ivy and the long loops of old man's beard are on show. I keep coming back to this green lane, its history must stretch back to the neolithic age; it is a small thoroughfare joining the two halves of large downlands which are divided by a narrow valley. Its roughly cobbled surface must date back to a medieval period, or perhaps even earlier, to the romans, who mined and had villas up here. History has rumbled over these stones, they are mute, hard to the feet, the clatter of wagons would have been loud on the air.
There is a an old bench in the field, miles from anywhere, 20 years ago the farmer of Lilliput Farm placed it here, so that one could admire the beautiful tranquillity of the valley below. Its inhabited this valley, half a dozen small houses, and a couple not so small, but its at peace with itself, cows and sheep are dotted in the field like a childish representation of how they should be.
Up on the far hill, its called Freezing Hill, the faint lines of iron age terracing can just be discerned, the hill itself runs back smoothly farmed, hardly broken by fences, but it is crowned somewhat incongruously with a row of tall trees.
The problem with meditating on nature is that there is no stillpoint, life and death are all around, the one complementing the other. Life is movement, the birds flying in the sky, death is stillness, a slow brown crumbling into the earth. The dog chasing with great happiness the dozen or so pheasants he has found in the fields has no need for religion or meditation, he will come home and lose himself in sleep and dreams of careering down a hill with flying birds squawking in all directions, his paws will twitch as he reruns the day's events through his mind.
But where does it leave my mind, refreshed of course, strengthened with the willpower to go on, but answers there are not. No god, pagan or otherwise bounds down the hill, Silvanus is not hunting in the woods below, and the sky above its thick cloud only leads into the endless universe of unknowing. Perhaps there lies the truth, the reconstructed gods and beliefs are no more than wisps of fancy of a race not at ease with death, self seeking is an extravagance that would be better laid aside and the mind concentrated on the present.....