The Monday after the Workshop I was in Sheffield, sharing the day with Stuart who had booked a day off from work. It was a grey morning after the weekend’s sunshine, the sky overcast and nondescript. We were both in that odd state, rather dazed yet buzzing, sort of hungover… and that had nothing to do with wine. It gets you that way.
After reluctantly parting from our Companions on Sunday afternoon, we had driven to the Barrel Inn on the ridge above Great Hucklow and simply sat staring out over the valley towards Peter’s Rock for a long time in near silence. It was enough to simply drink in the beauty of the landscape and let it mix with the magic of the weekend. There was a pint on the terrace, then we knew it was time to go.
I remember little of the drive back to Sheffield… a tad worrying as I was the driver… only the golden glow of a spring afternoon. And that I drove with great care, trying to concentrate. To be fair I remember little of the evening either. We probably ate…we must have done, as Stu had skipped lunch in order to dismantle the temple… a chance to simply be, alone in the space made sacred by those who had worked there in love and intent. There is a certain sadness in taking the place down, seeing what had been overlaid, to the inner eye, with something beautiful return to the mundane world. Yet it is right… for the work we do holds no value unless it touches real, everyday lives and hearts as well as reaching up with childlike arms to that which is greater. There is a sense in taking down the space that what has been contained is set free to work in the world.
Emotions were rather like that too… on the one hand elated, energised, at peace with a quiet joy… on the other… well, it was over. Our friends had departed and some we will not see until well… next year.
So Monday morning passed in a kind of haze. We sat in our accustomed positions… Stu on two legs of a kitchen chair, me on the step… talking over the weekend. Something pretty new for me as every other weekend or workshop has entailed a long drive home in silence and no-one to share the experience with face to face. Not that I would have been up to the drive on Sunday, not a cat in Hades chance! Remind me to tell you how it feels from the inside. The French have a phrase for it… “marcher à côté de ses pompes”… to walk beside one’s shoes. It is pretty apt.
It wasn’t until we went out into the sunshine that we began to come round. The bookshop we had in our sights was, however, closed. So we sat outside a pub till it opened for lunch. Now don’t jump to conclusions… they had wifi and we had coffee. We may have eaten… I can’t even be sure of that. I do know our next stop was another pub, where we didn’t have coffee… it was a research trip…. And then we passed through the portal of trees to check on the Wood Stone, an enigmatic slab of rock carved with petroglyphs more intriguing than any I have ever seen. We have theories, and these we sat and discussed in the little glade, where bluebells danced in dappled sunlight.
I watched a squirrel dive through the treetops as if playing in the rays of the sun. It had been a solar weekend. Full of fire and the truest passion lived aflame. But here were trees and stone and the rich aroma of earth. The cool of evening began to close in. We walked on, breathing the fresh, green air of spring, pausing a while beside a stream and listening to the soft rush of water. Banks of celandine and wood anemone starred the earth., sparkling in the sunshine. Yes, all the Elements were here… earth and air, water and the fire of the sun. It was as if all was laid out for us to take what we needed to find balance again… or begin to do so.
Dinner was perfect… cream cheese, crackers and jaffa cakes. Not healthy, of course… but perfect. We sat and talked some more… not that we had stopped really… then decided to go and look at the moon. The 14th was the blood moon… but little could be seen above the rooftops and the obscuring trees. We grabbed coats and camera and headed off up the hill.
In the midst of a city we found a place of darkness and silence. Sitting on stone with the soft rustling of small creatures in the undergrowth we waited as the clouds crept clear of the full moon, seeing it play hide and seek behind the seven veils as it danced with the darkness. A fox crossed our path, we had seen one there before. I tried to capture the moonlit clouds with the lens and a rather unconventional tripod… But it was the silent companionship of moonlight that brought us back to something approaching a sleepy normality.