Walking in gratitude

winter-walkIt’s a chilly, frosty morning, the lawn is white and spiky, the dogs’ water bowl is full of ice, but the sky is a multitude of peachy pink hues that bleed from behind the trees on the horizon, seeping towards the heavens, as the sun rises lazily. I woke this morning with Leo curled up into my chest, as Poppy came bounding on to the bed to lick my face awake, whilst Platon waited patiently from his protective post on the sofa. Poppy is always the most impatient for the day to start, and bounces about, ‘talking’, as she demands cuddles, and pleads with me to get up. She goads Leo into play, and once he has unsnuggled himself to respond to this whirling dervish, I give in and leave the warmth and comfort of the duvet. Having thrown on a big snuggly jumper and shoved my feet into cosy slippers, I let the dogs out and stand at the patio doors watching them and the sunrise, whilst waiting for my coffee to brew. Then twelve paws need wiping, and I fill their breakfast kongs with kibble, before settling down on the awesome sofa with my latte.
Today Platon lies on my legs, a mirror of a memory from this day a year ago (thanks Facebook for the reminder), when I was so grateful I could feel this lump of love on legs that I was at risk of losing all feeling of, (prior to my spinal surgery for Cauda Equina). And as I savour his warmth, and reassuring, loving presence, I am reminded that the little things really are the big things. As the sun breaks through the clouds, a pool of sunlight spills over the wooden floor, and Poppy stretches out to sunbathe. The dogs have taught me many valuable lessons; living in the moment is one of them. They keep me grounded in the now, with their joy at simple pleasures, and ability to love and trust so much, after the abuse each of them has previously suffered. The sun also highlights the dog hair that peppers the floorboards, and the smeary nose marks at dog height on the French windows. Our home is lived in and full of love, these are tokens that go with the territory, I am reminded of the poster saying ‘dull women have immaculate houses’, and smile at the notion.

Beyond the smeared glass, our view is typical English countryside, unmarred by a single building, as paddocks of horses are framed by the wintry silhouettes of the spidery branches adorning majestic trees in the distance. Behind the trees, hills of fields rise to meet the skyline, and it’s a view that I appreciate every morning. We only moved here about 6 weeks ago, so I am still discovering new things, and yesterday a new friend showed me a lovely walk for the dogs beyond the line of trees, up a muddy track to the gallops (we are on a large farm estate with both a professional yard, and amateur stables), where rabbits darted bravely across the wide open spaces before disappearing for shelter, into hedgerows of thick undergrowth. Much to Poppy’s delight as she danced around like Zebedee on the end of her lead. Platon was trusted off leash, but thankfully was too busy in his own game of bounding around, to notice the vulnerable wildlife, apart from stopping periodically to stick his nose in the ground or bushes, sniffing at trails. Leo pottered along patiently, sniffing all the new smells with excitement, and periodically leaving his own ‘eau de pee’ to enhance the fragrance.

I have moved here looking for a more dog friendly home, wanting a private paddock and plenty of safe country walks. This has taken me over an hour away from my friends and family, the familiar places I grew up in, and the proximity to my old home in London. It is a new adventure, and after a year of many changes, I have a lot to be grateful for, including reconnecting with friends who live in this direction, and grateful for dear friends who have come to visit me. The dogs are happy here too, and wait patiently for their morning walk and playtime, so I’m going to wish you a beautiful day, get dressed in lots of warm layers, and hope you notice those little things that really are the big things, and what you are grateful for too. Many blessings, Hxx

{Photo credit, via Pinterest (but so similar to my view it is uncanny), Words by me, Hayley Darby ©2017}

Smiles and sun salutations

beach yogaGood morning everyone!! Today I woke late, and snuggled back under the duvet searching for remnants of the dream that I was waking from. I caught a fleeting glimpse of a favourite grin before it disappeared around the corner, a little ray of sunshine that left me with more questions than answers, and I sat watching the sea again and wondering. I miss the sea dreadfully.. something not lost on those that know me. Yesterday I met darling DA for a breakfast, and as we caught up on news and gossip, he informed me that I was lacking a little sparkle, and asked if he could tempt me with a flight to a beach destination, as if temptation is ever a problem! DA works for British Airways, and flights are answers to all those tricky questions, don’t you just love those friends who know what you need to make things better!? We perused a few possibilities, fanaticising about sun salutations on long sandy beaches, as he quoted me prices that generously include his staff discount, whilst I tickled Tosca (the dog) under the chin where she likes it. DA made me laugh, and when he declared with a flourish that really I’m not the sort of woman that should fly economy, and I suddenly wished he was straight; because seriously I could fall in love with a man that thinks like that! We giggled over almond croissants and coffee before I left with promises to dog-sit Tosca whenever required, and walking home looked skyward, searching for vapour trails and inspiration.

Today the skies are blue, bright and sunny, stretching as far as the eye can see, beyond the proud resilience of the bare branches of trees by my window. It’s a wonderful day for a walk on the heath, and I’ve already been on the phone to LS, arranging a rendezvous that involves warm scarves and walking boots. The sun pours into the living room, spilling pools of light on the awesome sofa, a suitable hot spot for enjoying my morning latte. I remembered another snippet of my dream, noticing a feeling more than a situation, and smiled at the clouds in my coffee. DA is right, I have been feeling a little lack lustre recently, probably just still recovering from flu, the January blues, and let’s face it everything feels more difficult when the days are short, dark, and cold. However from now on, each day will stretch out a little longer, as spring draws ever closer. Dear DA is right, flights to sunnier climes are terribly enticing, but the best medicine for everything, are the friends that keep us smiling : )) I hope you’re blessed with people who put the sparkle back in your smile, and that your skies are sunny and blue whatever your weather this weekend! Blessings & love with hugs, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}