You only need sit still long enough
in some attractive spot in the woods
that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns.
- Henry David Thoreau
I must confess, the idea of "sitting still" is one that doesn't usually hold much appeal. That's mainly because I often (wrongly) associate sitting with lethargy. That's not very fair and clearly sitting, taking time out, can encourage "being", something we maybe all need to nurture in our sometimes frenetic and fast-paced lives. I think when Thoreau spoke of sitting still, he was also talking about being still. There is a place for both.
Having made that admission, some of the most positive and uplifting people I've known over the years take great pleasure in movement - movement, under their own steam. But these same folks also know how to stop every now and again and take notice of the natural world they are moving through. Clearly, to do so is to be greatly rewarded - as Thoreau suggests, when we pause to take it all in, nature connects and introduces herself.
Veteran rock star, Neil Young, was quoted in a recent edition of the New York Times saying, "I've always been better moving than I am standing still." Me too, Neil. I think that's why self-propelled movement, whether it's walking, running, paddling, whatever...is not only key to good health but also to good thoughts, and good vibes. But pausing, amidst movement, brings wonderful gifts.
Yesterday, we walked once again from Arbroath to Auchmithie. Today, we walked from Arbroath to Carnousti, another Scottish seaside village - where there is a rather well known golf course. On both walks, we made sure to take time to pause, even sit. Some refer to the experience as, "smelling the roses". The following simple images are of a few wild flowers, plants, beach pebbles, and two adorable sheep. To use Thoreau's words, they all did "exhibit themselves to (us) by turns". And we were the richer for it.
As I write this, the darkness has come in Scotland. Stormy winds from across the North Sea are blowing sheets of rain sideways. Mighty waves are crashing against the harbour walls - our "hatches" are battened down for the night. Some of the flora in the images above will have now washed away, the stones are all deep beneath the high tide, and the sheep will have found safe shelter.
It was good that we "paused" when we did.