THE BEST MEDICINE

“I haven’t got the time” I often tell myself as I focus on the different tasks, required to run house and business, fearing that if I interrupt my flow that I will drop all the balls I am trying to juggle. I love working, it gives me a sense of accomplishment and purpose. However, Jules and I both work from home and when the school holidays kick in, work mixes with Christmas shopping, household chores and entertaining the kids to become what is another rhythm in our life.

It was the day before Christmas Eve and Jules and I both woke with the urge to stop; stop working, stop shopping and to venture somewhere wild.

The suggestion of a walk was met with something akin to animal groans by our two boys, who since breaking up from school have been comfortably esconsed in front of the computer – yes we do feel guilty! and as much as we have tried to instil in them a love of adventure, they love the comfort of home and see legs more of an accessory only put into use out of necessity.

Winter clothes on we ventured to Mersea, an island off the coast of Essex and drove to the east end of the island. Upon getting out of the car Jules and I breathed in deeply and could feel the cobwebs being blown away. The kids immediately started running and jumping, flinging their arms in the air, and kicking out their legs, their imaginations ignited and we watched them play for ages, animated like dancers on top of an old pill box silhouetted against the low winter sun.  I got out my camera, and Jules his binoculars and we were off exploring.

We were surrounded by a bleak environment of grassy sea walls, behind which hid a shelly beach covered in sea grasses. Large flocks of golden plover and black tailed godwit flew rhythmically to and fro across the sky. which turned from dark and foreboding to sunny and back again. The sea was energised by the wind and encroaching on the shore. It felt as though we were exactly where we were supposed to be. After spending some time on the shore we had to jump back across channels filling with water to avoid being cut off by the incoming tide, but even this was exciting. We felt alive.

We arrived back home physically energised and mentally regenerated and I found myself wondering why I find it so hard to give myself permission to stop; go for a walk, visit an exhibition, get in touch with nature, because these things are like nourishment. They encourage me to look at the world from a different perspective, if just for a while and come back feeling more purposeful and focused. It seems that taking the time to stop is sometimes the best medicine. And what was really great about our day was watching the kids come alive, in all that space with just their imaginations and no TV or computer in sight.

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