Our walks over the past two days have been intriguing more for the things we didn’t immediately see than for those we clocked with only a casual glance.
Within the beautiful cluster of aquilegias, growing wild beside the storm drain, a bumble bee was busy, searching for nectar inside the wrinkled blossoms. I wouldn’t have seen it had I not thought to try to capture the intense violet shade of these delightful flowers.
As we entered the bluebell woods, I looked up at the large tree standing beside the gap in the ancient and ultra-mossy stone wall. A sleeping giant stared back at me, its eyes closed in deep repose. It was as if one of J.R.R.Tolkien’s Ents had been revealed to a fortuitously observant eye.
I wondered how many odd sights, imagination stimuli, we might miss if we too blithely careen through life. As a child I used to love keeping my eyes on the ground in front of me, hoping I might find a lost treasure or some trinket. That I rarely did achieve any real satisfaction somehow didn’t matter — there were always the next few steps ahead in which something new and intriguing might be revealed.
So it’s easy to get excited when the grandchildren bring their found treasures home to show us. And I was able to show them the sleeping Ent too, by WhatsApp for now, maybe in real life on a little adventure walk sometime later.
Today, however, if we manage to arise early enough, we’re hoping to jump on the bus doing its school run and enjoy a long morning of exploring in Dumfries. Somehow we imagine that the world-weary teenagers on their way to the DGC campus will be pre-occupied with their own waking-up routine so that the bus is likely to be relatively quiet. I hope they’ll not be losing their childhood sense of wonder, but of course everyone tends to grow up into serious sensibility.
But we might be on the trail of two writers whose imaginations still inspire us today. Apparently deep in the heart of Robert Burns country, we may be able to visit his grave in St Michael’s churchyard, or then again we might visit Moat Brae, the household and grounds that inspired J.M. Barrie’s vision of the undaunted Peter Pan, who refused to be bowed by the vicissitudes of growing up. There could be lots of excitement ahead, and all for the benefit of free travel to the aged pensioners!
So there are some perquisites to growing old, then.