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Walking Weekend – my impressions

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    • #2971
      Peter Adamson

      Mindful Malverns

      Beacon Hill and British Camp, the Iron Age hill fort with paths on its flanks, aridity and stony tracks, dead yellowed grass, stone waymarkers that point in all directions, but no time to stop to inspect as we weave single file through the Malvern Hills, led by a local Boedicea, her staff cleaving a path for us to pass silently through, whilst general public greet us cheerily on the way, little knowing we have taken a vow of silence for the weekend, though later they may recall there was something odd about that group of people.
      We are a disciplined unit observing silence, the better to be aware of ourselves and our surroundings. In the evening we revert to our normal chattering selves. Our campsite hosts provide a campfire: bone dry logs readily ignite to give a crackling inferno of flame and sparks. A talk is given to heighten our awareness of what mindfulness is. Eventually, one by one, we peel away to our beds, listen to the owls screeching the whole night through, then at dawn more melodious song of blackbird easing us into the new day.
      Dry, dry, everywhere dry. Baked campsite soil laughed as tent pegs bent rather than slide easily into the ground. But breakfast is leisurely and ample supplies of food and drink fortify for the day ahead. Once breakfast clean-up is completed and camping baggage loaded, we gather to retrace our steps back the way we have come. Forming into a circle of nine, we bow to each other and unspool into a single walking thread of outward calm. Cool and fresh now, as we pass under the shade of trees, but most of the day will be spent out in the open, under a hot sun.
      Uninterrupted vistas east and west, shades of green and of dry yellow. But too many people all out on the same day. It’s Piccadilly Circus on a sunny Sunday in the Malvern Hills. Silently, we walk on. The wake we leave is hopefully a ripple compared to that of others. A lunch time break beckons. Taking care to find a shady place, most of us lie flat out, floored by the intense heat of the day.
      Then we are shouldering bags again, forming a circle, so as to unspool our thread of mindfulness once more.
      We stop at a quarry which holds a body of water. White lillies lie on its surface. A cool and shady place for us to pause. At swim, two dogs barking and splashing, the noise they make echoes around the quarry.
      The final leg of the walk is a little arduous, and one of our group is having difficulties. We halt to give the person time to recover. Wet cloths applied to head and neck help them cool off.
      Before we know it, the walk is over. It is marked by a spout of spring water housed in a visitor centre. Our party gathers around it to splash cooling water over hot faces.
      Having shared each other’s company for two days, there is some sadness as we disperse back into our everyday lives.

      With thanks to Khema and Kaspa, and our campsite hosts, Toni.
      Namo Amida Bu

    • #2974

      I love this piece Peter. So glad you all spread Dharma over the hills…

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