Friday, August 15, 2008

Box Hill

How to describe the effect of Box Hill?

Yes, you do need to 'lift up your eyes unto the hills', the action evokes recognition and awe, and in this age of democracy, equality and debunking it's beneficial to acknowledge that there is something/someone higher than you are. But you also need to reach the top of the hill in order to gain stillness, perspective and understanding - or so it seems to me.

Rupert and I spent most of our holiday on the hill, or by the river - walking, watching, buying postcards - and, after returning to the hotel for tea, went back up onthe hill in the early evening just to 'be'. Sitting there, it was curious to realise how it takes time to fully appreciate all there is around you. At first you take in the obvious - the trees, the grass, the view - slowly, as time passes, and your mind quietens, you notice the harebells, the ripening blackberries, the droplets of rain from a recent shower, the scented air, the vastness of the sky.

You hear the wood-pigeon coo, and wonder just how long it has been cooing. And you are taken aback by the wonder of the clouds - such incredible, magnificent shapes, so many different varieties all scurrying across the blue and, below them, the shadows chasing across the grass. But, more than anything, you become aware of the enormous sense of presence. It grows on you. And, as it grows on you so it, in itself, becomes more and more substantial. Ultimately you recognise that the presence is far more substantial than all the seemingly more tangible things that first caught your attention. But what iscurious is that the moment there is activity - such as a group of children running past - the presence dissolves and retreats, rather like ripples disturbing the serenity of a lake. Than, as quiet returns, so the presence re-establishes itself. And you don't want to leave, because you have this growing conviction that the longer you staythe more you will be a part of the presence, and the more it will become a part of you.

As we sat there one evening, held captive by our surroundings, there was a minor explosion behind us and a woman with a dog burst through the bushes. Stopping short, she stared transfixed at the view. "Oh ... gosh!" she exclaimed.

I don't know why I've been wittering on. That says it all!