1am on Sunday 29th June.
I spent this Saturday with my mother, mostly cleaning my car and
organising schoolwork. We did some washing and she went to a Nursing
Home to collect one of her best friends who is staying there at the
moment - and who came for the afternoon and stayed 'til late. It was a
useful and peaceful day but I was later leaving than I had intended.
I was last at Mum's on Wednesday. That evening she took me to see a
footpath in the village which has been cleared and re-routed slightly.
There's a meadow in the middle of the village where in times past we
used to hold the village fete. It's always been a meadow with soft,
tussocky grass. I don't know who owned it but two ancient footpaths
used to cross it, passing diagonally from corner to corner and
intersecting in the middle. That's a pattern associated with medieval
fields, so some people call it 'The Medieval Field.'
My attitude to the footpaths is that we are custodians to these
ancient rights of way and should keep them as they are, ensuring they
are maintained well, known and used by as many people as possible. But
an 'incomer' to the village, living in a house made from a converted
barn close by, has bought some of the 'medieval field' and fenced it
off for his horses. He does not want people climbing over his fence
and crossing the corner of his paddock. So he applied for the re-routing.
Although I am not happy in theory about loosing what as a child I used
to call 'the envelope field' (because the paths made a pattern like
the folds on an envelope) it has been good for the village. All the
discussion involved means everyone knows where the paths go now - and
where there was an impenetrable thicket in one corner - where the
hedges from several fields met and two paths crossed a little stream,
but walkers had to detour as at that point the path was completely
overgrown - the hedge has been cut back and a neat new bridge built.
Along all the paths hedges have been trimmed and there are new, sturdy
stiles in all the right places. The paths are clearly being well used now.
Mum and I enjoyed our walk and on the way back home, up the hill past
barley fields, we were thinking of all the colours you would need to
try to paint them. Mum said it was like a Van Gough painting, full of
streaks of different colours, many shades of greens, pale
yellow-creams, light shades of silver, even pink. (If you ever saw the
film Gladiator and remember the opening scene, where the hero is
walking through the ripening barley you will know how beautiful it
is.) That's what is happening right now in this part of England. The
barley-fields are 'turning' as they say, the grains set, the heavy
ears arched over and the myriad hues of green turning, changing hue -
but not yet taking on their harvest colours. I used up the battery on
Mum's camera trying to capture the different shades but I don't think
they will come out as the light was fading as the hazy sun dipped down
to the horizon and out of sight.
Just three days have passed but now that field has changed so much.
The heavy, curving ears of barley-corn with their long rough whiskers
are now predominantly an even, shade of silver-blonde. This shade is
so predominant in all the ears it asserts a new sense of confidence as
all the shades of green are leaching away, their tones less
contrasting, no longer seen in the ears themselves but only in the
leaves and stems below.
As I set out to drive back to London after sundown the barley-fields
were pale, reflecting the evening light and making the landscape look
quite different to how it was just three days ago.
Well, what has all this musing on the changing colours of corn to do
with Pavitrata's new website? Just that at school on Friday I was
checking back through the past pages of Inspiration, looking for the
postings about Ekhart Tolle - with a view to passing on information
about his book to a colleague in response to a conversation in the
Staffroom. While looking back I noticed references to Pavitrota's site
and looked at it for the first time. I was delighted. Not only are
there the great albums of Guru's photos and photos from the Albert
Hall concert - but there is an album of combined photos and aphorisms,
called 'Aphorism Cards' (many of which I printed out immediately to
use for display and extension work in my classroom) - There is also
another album just entitled 'Pavitrata'.
I was too short of time to look at all the albums on Friday, so when I
reached home tonight I thought I would have a 'quick peek' before
going to bed. That was just after midnight. I found the Pavitrota site
full of all kinds of lovely photos including studies of swans and
cygnets - a stone angel weeping in the rain - and a range of images,
street-scenes, people, flowers, a bee and atmospheric landscapes with
fascinating information and anecdotes written around them. Then at the
bottom is a row of stories all of which would make fascinating 'posts'
on this site. They deserve to be read by many and I would love to
share the insights of other readers arising from them.
Tonight I read just two of these stories - 'The McGuffin' and
'Ladislav and the Spirroo.' Somehow the intensity of observation and
the depth of human feeling in these stories reminded me of the way the
year is passing and each day is so full of growth and ripening. It
reminded me of the barley and how my mother at 89 refused to let me
help or steady her as she climbed over the stiles as we followed the
footpaths through the village. She was showing me how she could still
swing her legs forward and over the top bar - although she did say
that they should build a lower step into the stiles and include a long
post to hold on, for any villagers who may not be so mobile.
Pavitrota's stories reminded me how each person we meet is special,
each conversation significant. There are more but I will not read more
tonight. They deserve to be savored, not rushed or crowded out with
new images and events. I will keep them for another time - and
besides, it's now nearly 3am and Centre in the morning. I don't want
to be falling asleep in meditation.
Thankyou for your lovely website, Pavitrota - for the photographs and
the stories and for being such a generous-hearted and insightful
brother. I wonder if you have you any photos of the ripening barley.
It would make a great Aphorism Card.
With love to all,