When I was a gawky angst-ridden teen, I had a teacher who must have taken pity on me. Mr W was my maths teacher, a wiry, effervescent character who had a dry sarcastic wit, but also, belying his mathematical, logical brain, or maybe because of it, was something of a poet. He introduced to me this poem, possibly the loveliest poem I had ever read back then as a 17 year old, and 27 years’ later and have yet to read.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree – W.B. Yeats, 1865-1939
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning, to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with the low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
The idea of Innisfree, “where peace comes dropping slow” has stayed with me all these years, and maybe has become something of a quest. The notion that there exists a corner of the land where all is peace and still and calm is something I have held on to, certain that when I found “Innisfree” I would know it in my heart.
Our home in a lush, green corner of East Sussex is the closest thing to Innisfree I have found. I’ve lived in California and Asia, home to some of the most spectacular sights, sounds and smells, but here, surrounded by unbroken views of the 500 hundred acre wood and the Ashdown forest, all is calm and quiet. It was this view that sold the house to us. No two days are alike, the sky is an ever-changing canvas on which nature paints its picture. I can stand in the corner of our paddock looking out for hours, and get lost in that view. And yes, we have a bee-loud glade.
Mindfulness seems to be the buzz-word right now. What that means in essence is taking notice of now. When I am outside, walking our dog D, or feeding the horses, every sight and sound and smell keeps me in the here and now. It is a very mindful place.
Just for today is written in recognition of the many daily moments that keep me in the present, enriching my life constantly, calming my soul always,