Having considered lots of more culturally-oriented possibilities, I voted (solid majority) to spend my last day in the UK in Kew Gardens. So glad I did. Everything was so exquisite, so perfect— I was so in love with every aspect of the landscape— I could have spent the whole day crying, my heart melted into an ocean of love. How I will miss all this! I feel so deeply nourished by the trees, flowers, rivers, all of it, awed by all the love, celebration, beauty and peace the plants and trees (the root families and standing tall ones) pour freely into the world. Sad to leave, but off I go tomorrow!
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Monday was tour day in Glastonbury, hosted by the gifted musician and lover of local legend and earth knowledge, Michael. Two other completely delightful women were in our small group. Both from Miami, and one was big into the Earth. I’m hoping I tempted them to come to Santa Fe some day. In the morning we climbed up Wearyall Hill, where Joseph of Arimathea planted the first thorn tree. Also fantastic 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside and the Tor. It was wildly expansive up there. The Tor was once an island, surrounded by wetlands, which I found fascinating. You could only get there by boat. Then back into town, with stops at another ancient chapel and the local goddess temple. Then back to the abbey, with much discussion of ley lines and earth energy lines and the patterns they form throughout Glastonbury. I am sorry to report that I did not retain much of that. Then ducked into lunch just before the rain started. By the time we finished, the rain had stopped and the sun came out. So, essentially I enjoyed a rain-free day. Then off to the profoundly beautiful and peaceful Chalice Well and gardens. Drank the red water and then just enjoyed being still. Finally, another steep hike back up to the Tor to see the sunset from there. A perfect way to close the journey. The light, both subtle and visible, was amazing. What a special place! I am still kind of integrating all that I absorbed. Back to London today. A walk along my beloved Thames. Tomorrow—back to Kew Gardens. Yaaayyy!~
On Sunday, I wandered around the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. Housed in lush parkland, with the now usual array of ancient and huge trees (I never tire of them). The earliest version of the church was built on the site where Joseph of Arimathea built the first church (wattle and daub) in the UK. Many local legends around all this—including— visits by both the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene, and Jesus’ burial somewhere in the abbey grounds It burned down twice—once by accident and once courtesy of Henry VIII, who was busy destroying all the abbeys and acquiring their wealth.
The site now holds a Lady Chapel, where I had a love-saturated meditation. Then wandered through the remains of the rest of the abbey. Tho little is left, each remaining wall and structure has a grace and sculptural beauty against the sky. The church claims that Arthur and Guinevere are also buried here. And then, guess what? It rained! Hiked back up the hill to my truly lovely airbnb.
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Photos of Glastonbury Tor. Got to Glastonbury (which the locals call Avalon) in time to climb to the top of the Tor—quite a steep
Trail. No rain but a cold wind and lots of people at the top. I had some interesting memories and a deep dive into the expansive and loving energy there. But I am still sorting through all that. Locals are pretty far out. Haight Street in the 60s and then some. They were having a fairy festival this weekend and lots of people were dressed up in their fairy best! The climb to the start of the trail to the Tor was once again thickly green and filled me with bliss. The people who live in these countryside towns are so fortunate and they work to maintain their sublime environment.
Friday—the day for Stonehenge, Avebury and 2 charming Cotswald villages—Lacock and Castle Coomb. It rained and poured and the cold wind blew. Much as I had wanted to hang out with the stones at Stonehenge and Avebury, I was wet through and through from the first 15 minutes of the journey and the cold wind gusts didn’t help. Not the best conditions for contemplating the mysteries of the universe! Did get to see filming sites for several Harry Potter and Downtown Abbey episodes, albeit in the rain! I was sooo saturated by the time I got home—wet down to my skin and through it to the internal organs!
Bath proved to be surprisingly (becos I didn’t remember it that way) beautiful. The river Avon runs right down the center and it is surrounded by green hills. The Bath Cathedral had a long series of intricate and large stained glass windows. I found a small but powerful chapel towards the front. Just one big candle on the altar at the front and I had it to myself. Such powerful divine love, very feminine in nature. I didn’t know how I would ever get up to leave! But then off to the Roman Baths. I discovered that the springs that filled the baths were well known to the early tribal peoples as a source of healing. The structure built by the Romans attracted thousands of visitors, many of whom had great faith in the healing waters. The healing was attributed to the goddess of the waters.
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Last day in Cambridge. Brilliant walking weather. Found the “Backs” of Trinity and other colleges (where they back on to the River Cam). All so exquisite and perfect in the autumn light. Last photo is of the Wren Library, famous for its light-filled architecture. Wandered through Pembroke College as well. I wonder if the students get lost in the beauty and forget to study. This is the atmosphere I was looking for, away from the chaos of the city streets.
Monday, October 17, 2022
Saturday’s train ride through the countryside to Cambridge was gorgeous, as the leaves were turning under the autumn sun. My first afternoon in Cambridge was very disappointing, as I seemed to have wandered through the main part of town on a shopping day. It was more crowded and intense than London, not at all what I had expected. The day was redeemed by the evensong service at Kings College Chapel. The many stained glass windows were exquisite, but the stone ceiling, designed by Wren, felt so light, it seemed it could lift off and fly away. The Kings College choir is world famous and they lived up to their reputation with gorgeous harmonies, amplified by the church acoustics. Totally inspiring. On Sunday, with the continued good weather, I wandered through a more inspiring version of Cambridge—more like the one I had hoped for. I headed for the River Cam, walking happily along its peacefulness. Nearly all of the Cambridge colleges back onto the river. Eventually I took one of the punt boat rides, which was heavenly. The boat person (punter?) shared a zillion stories, both historical and fun, as we sailed along beneath the many bridges (each had a tale to tell) and along the richly green shores. Walked awhile more—it’s very hard for me to stop walking and exploring! Today, the day started with a 90 minute tour of some of Cambridge’s colleges (the exterior), which gave me a great orientation to the meandering narrow streets that house so many of the colleges. I did get to wander through Pembroke College, which had beautiful gardens and just the ivory tower atmosphere I had imagined. The academic work here is extremely demanding, but the colleges do provide a sublime environment for their students. One more day here, then a mad dash back to and across London, to catch a train to the Cotswolds, where I will visit an
old friend. The day will end in Bath. And now some photos.
Friday, October 14, 2022
I can’t believe it, but today was my last day in London (except for one day at the very end). It feels like it should go on forever. I am so grateful for my green and graceful neighborhood and the easy proximity to the Thames, where I have continued to walk almost daily. With time passing so quickly, it’s time to write again, or I will surely forget everything I have done. Wednesday, guess where I went again! Kew Gardens of course. I can’t quite seem to get enough of the place. It really was a perfect and perfectly beautiful day. I discovered more paths through their varied woodlands, more truly magical trees and groves of trees, and spent time in at last some of them, to soak in their specialness. Came home feeling totally fulfilled. Next day, I finally went back in to central London to meet another dear friend, Frances Knight. I will include her photo for those of you who know her. What a divinely sweet and beautiful being. We started at the Royal Academy (of art), visited a gallery and wandered through Green Park. Green Park holds Buckingham Palace, but you know me. I was more deeply impressed by an effulgence of huge and happy trees. A cool and rainy day today, I headed out to the National Gallery and remembered that I really do enjoy looking at art. Constable is my favorite for English landscapes and Turner my favorite for skies and the sea, especially stormy skies and seas. And then an array of Impressionists, whom I always love. Spent a bit of time at the love-filled church called St. Martin in the Fields, famous for its concerts. And finished the day by having tea with another wonderful friend Eleanor. This morning as I walked to the tube station, I could feel that a lot of transformation has taken place, tho I don’t have words for it yet. Stay tuned. Off to Cambridge tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Continuing with a fantastically fortunate run of perfect autumn walking weather. I’m continuing to ignore all indoor options such as museums and historical spots, as I only long to walk and walk in the gorgeousness that is here. Yesterday a lovely time catching up with an old friend, including her input on many old English friends whom I have not seen for 30 or 40 years. Great fun! Today, decided to sample the London city parks, especially Hyde Park and Green Park. I know I am being a boring person, but I was once again caught up in the huge and ancient trees and flower gardens. I seem to have lost all interest in the human history part, which is interesting because I used to find it fascinating. Now—it’s trees—and the Thames. Well, so be it. The good weather may run out at the end of the week when I go to Cambridge. Oh well. I will celebrate the rain as best I can. Got to watch the late afternoon rowers on the Thames. What a nice way to live!
Sunday, October 9, 2022
This is definitely becoming a pilgrimage to trees, gardens and water—the Thames in particular. Blessed with perfect autumn weather, I cannot even consider doing anything indoors—no museums, not even Westminster Abbey. I am soooo loving wandering among the trees, found most everywhere. Yesterday, I went to Hampstead Heath. Acres and acres of trails and thick forest. Huge, ancient trees. Sometimes a grouping that calls me to sit among them. So beautiful and nourishing and magical. Hampstead has no trail markers whatsoever, so getting lost was inevitable. This opened the door to conversations with at least a dozen people, about three-quarters of whom were also lost. So many good-natured, funny and helpful people. The fabulous British sense of humour is always waiting for a chance to show itself! Then today, a long walk along the Thames—what a great river—to a place called Chiswick Park. Again, acres of woods, with the occasional sculpture appearing out of nowhere. A huge conservatory and large and complex kitchen gardens that were first planted in 1742. Imagine if you had started your garden 300 years ago. These days it is care for and enjoyed by the local community. Saw gorgeous flowers and very happy looking vegetables. Then a delicious walk home along the Thames.
Thursday, October 6, 2022
Day 2. Kew Gardens today. One of my favorite places on Earth! So endlessly lush and beautiful. (Wish I could add photos). Hundreds and hundreds of huge and ancient trees—oaks and chestnuts and maples and cedars and evergreens. Walked down a path to the river lined with enormous trees with blue sky at the end of the path. I fell in love with each and every one. I felt like I was falling in love a thousand times an hour. It was almost too much. And circles of trees, creating their own magic within them. And then the ponds and the flower gardens. I stopped and gazed and filled myself with all the beauty many times. It was such a perfect day to be outside and just wander. My favorite thing to do. OK Got the photo part to work.