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Experience the Remarkable

sign at ASHA Centre

One of the joys of the past couple of months has been cycling to work on quiet country lanes and noticing the signs of spring at close quarters, watching the progression of the year unfold. When the lockdown began daffodils were out in the hedgerows, which gradually gave way to dandelions, then red campion, cow parsley, and red clover. The ever changing display has been a delight and a thrill. It got me wondering about the timings of the natural world, and why some flowers bloom earlier, and some later, and why some birds breed sooner than others.

On Thursday I went to sit in a beautiful bluebell wood to meditate, and immerse myself in nature. Just observing my surroundings helped me understand a bit more something about the interconnectedness of the natural world, with animals and plants having their place in a natural sequence. As an example, when I saw the bees amongst the bluebells, I realised that they have a very short window for flowering. They have to bloom late enough in the year for the bees and other insects to be flying, so that they can be pollinated, but they need to be in flower early enough for the trees not to be in full leaf, which would make the woods too dark for them to flourish. For bluebells, then, there’s that brief interlude where it’s their time to do what they need to do. The woods were alive with birdsong, so I turned my attention to the birds, and what might drive the differences in their timings. I remember learning once that blue tits have to time laying their eggs exactly right so that the chicks hatch out just when the caterpillar population is at its peak, so that the parent birds can feed them. Too late or too soon and it would be disastrous for the blue tit population. And it’s actually more interconnected than that. Moth eggs need to hatch into caterpillars to synchronise with leaves coming fully out on trees like the oak so that they have a big enough food source. Left to its own devices nature has a way of orchestrating events. There’s a criticality to the timing of the natural world, a pattern to it, a bigger picture, whether we understand it or are aware of it or not.

It got me wondering about my place in the timing of things, and what part we play in the bigger picture of the world in the timing of our lives here on earth. In that quiet, gentle, soft place that often follows meditation, a verse from the Old Testament of the Bible, that I haven’t thought about for years, floated into my mind, and it was this:

‘Maybe you were born for such a time as this.’

That was it. ‘Maybe you were born for such a time as this.’ That’s something we could say every day of our lives, but maybe there’s a special significance to it now in this time of global pandemic and disequilibrium. Maybe we’re right here, right now for a purpose, even if we don’t fully understand what that is, or how our presence affects other people and events. Maybe we are just called to be our essential selves, the ‘I’ that’s faithful, the ‘I’ that’s a seeker, called to bring forward the qualities that are in us of patience, courage, creativity, generosity and love.

So, maybe we were born for such a time as this.

Valerie Sonley