A light summer rain delicately touches the many trees around me. Through the warm summer air the faint drops of water fall - just enough to create a softness of sound that fills the space. The diverse shapes and greenness of the many trees in the ornamental park form a frame for my field of view with a water lily filled pond and a soft close-mown lawn before me. Wood pigeons coo amongst hidden branches and tits and blackbirds flit here and there. A few butterflies, undeterred by the rain, create the only other movement on the otherwise motionless vista. Meadowsweet, one of my favourite wild flowers, borders the pool with splashes of cream. I love to perceive spaces around me. It is not just the observation that inspires me but the sense that I can sort of feel the whole 3-dimensional existence of the space. I can sense the shape and form of all that is around me and imagine that I am like a bird: able to fly and explore the space rather than being limited to the static place from which I observe. I suppose it is like imagining an out of body experience where it is possible to float up, touch the top most leaves of a tree and experience the place from all angles. There is so much to look at. I always remember as a child being fascinated by looking out of large windows onto the garden. I could sit for hours and just look. There is none of the draw that digital media exerts whereby emotions and adrenaline are fuelled by the desire to know everything about the world and who is doing what, when and to whom. This takes a different sort of seeing and fulfils a different visual and psychological appetite.
Why does this being still and just looking appeal to me? It is a form of meditation that requires me to forget who I am and experience the presence of 'others'. I have been thinking a lot in my daily journalling about the idea of beauty and awe. It is something that I am learning to find in everyday things around me, not just the big and wonderful. To me there is almost more beauty and awe to be found in a roadside verge than in a stunning Lake District view. Places where nature is visibly evolving in ecosystems independent of man's involvement.
The sketch of the tree was just a bit of playing around on the iPad when I arrived here. As I look around me I am deeply aware of the colours and patterns made by the different component parts of the vegetation. I notice how each of the plants occupies their particular space and habitat around the pond. The rain has stopped now and the light is brightening. I wonder what I can learn from this place? I want to walk out and dance barefoot on the soft damp green grass before me and experience the freedom the space provides. And you know what? After a week of being sat in front of a computer screen in a stuffy office I am going to do just that!