Sunshine

"Familiar or not, getting outside and into nature has a way of shaking up one's insides"

There is something so invigoratingly-uplifting about spending time in our wild outdoors, pounding the sometimes concrete-and-loose-stone-d, sometimes grass, other times bare-as-it-was-born earth with the slap-tread-stomp of our footsteps. Familiar or not, getting outside and into nature has a way of shaking up one's insides - tugging loose the knots of worry, pain, or bored-out-of-your-mind frustration that can appear when a particular way of living (a way you aren't entirely enamoured with) becomes routine – or turning one’s day (or, as is often my case, frown) upside down.

When the sun comes out, an excited 'could it be?' escapes my (taught, pursed) lips, and a small smile spreads, upturning corners and birthing happy-to-see-you eyes. My day takes on a different kind of feeling - from one that has settled itself into the now accustomed-to soft sigh of 'this again' to an amped-up roar of a 'let's make today happen!' peppered with tingling toes, heart knock-knock-knocking, and an insatiable thirst for life. When the sun comes out, I pack up my bag (camera nestled deep inside), inhale the stale, and exhale an almighty gust of wind that loops itself under my arms and drives my feet forward, catapulting me out the door.


"I slipped quietly between the shadows of towering trees, my footsteps soft and forgiving"

On Wednesday, yellow-hot, ‘can you forgive me for the grey?’ rays met my eyes closed, tilted-towards-the-sky face, beckoning me to join the outside-my-window world with its summer promise of music-to-my-ears bird chirrups and the sweet smells of warmed-through air.

I took to the pavements with a gusto-and-a-half, the heart on my sleeve offering up smiles and murmurs of joy and happiness. Along I shuffled (my steps slow to soak up the surroundings), enjoying the company of nature’s most rewarding-for-the-eyes palette of blues and greens and flashes of jewel hues that decorated bushes, trailed along walls, crawled up the sides of buildings, and darted across fields of grass.

After a magical encounterwhen the air hummed with a heady mixture of breathless wonder and hold-my-gaze curiosity – I slipped quietly between the shadows of towering trees, my footsteps soft and forgiving, stealing glimpses of the yellowed-façade, and breathing in the silence (that was occasionally punctuated by children’s grown-from-the-belly laughter), my camera lens tallying up the moments-after-moments that my eyes – alert and awakened – darted between.

And then…hope blossomed – its petals unfurling within my chest, relieving the weight that had buried itself deep, restricting the room to breathe – and I felt something inside of me shift, felt the worries that had flooded my body – seeped into my blood – begin to dissipate and expel themselves from my skin where the sun touched. I stood, in that moment, feeling comforted. Happy. My mind a whir-a-minute machine of thoughts and ideas and what-could-be’s.

So much promise.


Friends -

What does getting out in the sunshine mean to you? Are you one for warm weather, or does rain-drenched skin, cool to the bone, appeal more? 

Starting anew

There is a feeling you and I both know well - a feeling that lies, sometimes dormant, often bubbling, in the soft depths of our stomachs - whose presence is so powerful it can immobilise us with just the faint whisper of an appearance.

Fear.

For so long now (in fact, I'd hasten to add, for too long now), fear has ruled my head and heart. What started with self-imposed writer's block back in January snowballed into a black space of nothingness into which worries and emotions were poured - their aggregate force settling itself under my skin as the black-shadows of fear - and ended with 6 months of silence.

It began as just a flutter - an anxious, what's-going-on-here tug that bowed my head...made me miss a step or two. But, then? It grew. And, as fear does, it stuck around - becoming a consistent, lingering whiff of what if's and why bother's and quiet exhales of promised disappearances, and of deceptive brief partings that ended with it's inevitable slow creep back into my world; light steps that tickled goosebumps from my skin, straightened my back lumbar by lumbar, and clouded my mind with poor judgements and I can't's.

And so, I gave in.

I let the skies cave and close, and dimmed my lights, becoming what (I convinced myself) it had wanted from me all along: a shackled-by-comparing-myself-to-all-the-others creature around whom walls were built, for whom doors were locked, and - thus - hope was shut out. 

Until.

A crack was split-through by the words of a community I adore, appreciate, and admire with a fiery passion that stirs my blood, and stacks my bones, and boosts me high-high-higher.

Words that made me realise that I just couldn't stand for it any longer.

Determination began to build - in almost-too-small-to-be-aware-of-their-existence increments - that gathered a force of its own. My thoughts shifted, and I came to understand that my viewing fear as just the enemy - an all-encompassing figure of great strength, that bent and shifted and manoeuvred me without reason - was my downfall. Because, in reality, it is not that fear has to be on one end of my scale, and being/doing/succeeding on the other; my fear can be used to propel my actions forward.

And so, I let it. 

I'm here.

It's no less scary. It might even be more so. But these butterflies that flap, and flurry, and cause ripples of tear-through-my-heart-anxiety? They won't settle unless I encourage them to. And the best way for me to do so? To take this step. 

To start anew.


With great thanks to this piece from Esmé, by which I was encouraged to record audio of my post.