For some fifty years I lived in an attic flat in London, way above the tree tops. It had a roof-balcony and in the summer I would often sleep out there, gazing at the great scattering of stars, the movement of clouds and the changing patterns of the moon. Then, very early in the morning, I would wake to the sight and sound of a flock of birds winging their way across the vast expanse of the sky. 

How few of us these days look at the night sky or watch the sun rise! In cities especially, people seem so busy with their mobiles and iPads that they fail to notice the gardens, trees and blossom as they pass. And while we may occasionally take long walks, how often do we sit on a bench for fifteen minutes or so, just being very still and aware of life around us – of the trees putting down their roots into the earth and reaching with their branches up towards the light. Sitting still, birds may come close, or a stray dog suddenly present itself, reminding us that we need to relate to animals. We are surrounded by such riches and yet we are so rarely aware of them. If only we could make more time to ‘see’, and to practise Open Eyed Meditation.


6 thoughts on “Star-gazing”

    1. Living in rural Herefordshire, I am frequently allowed to marvel at the universe especially the milky way,
      I spend many an hour in my summer house enjoying the birds, just the other day a bullfinch came within inches to take the seeds from the small fluffy sow thistle outside the door.
      Blackbirds and Thrushes are constantly able to find food for their young from the lawn.
      I think it is unlikely for any reader of Jame’s words to not be highly aware of nature around us and the passing of time.
      I like to think that James is still surrounded by Hewel, John Hencher, and all his friends that have passed on before inc my late wife Lys who were kindred spirits, during those recent years of Bleddfa, and elsewhere.

  1. An exceptionally evocative piece. I often visited Jimmie and Hywel in the attic flat. Hywel would always take me out to the balcony. Happy memories!

  2. Thank you James
    Your words reminded me of Guide camps over 60 years ago.
    We always had a’ quiet corner’ away from the main camp. It was there that I learned the solace of the natural world his words capture so well. This need has never left me and my time spent in quiet reflection outside still brings me peace when I’m troubled or stressed.

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