Ullswater, Lake District
I’ve just returned from a super holiday in the Lake District, staying in a youth hostel with some friends (girls on tour – too hilarious for words, just lots and lots of giggles and smiles at the thought of the adventures we got up to!) On one of our walks we trekked along the eastern side of Ullswater near Patterdale, and paused at the spot which inspired William Wordsworth to write his poem ‘Daffodils’. It is one of the most famous poems in the English language, so I’m told, but until this morning I hadn’t read it through (I was a bit of a day-dreamer at school, always wishing I was running around outside than sitting still inside!).
But I understand his sentiments completely: wandering in the countryside with little or no human company (although Wordsworth was walking with his sister at the time) and feeling rather lonely and disconnected. And then something catches your eye and your imagination and you have an epiphany moment. I’m not alone, because I am connected through nature to the myriad creatures and plants and rocks and water that are all around me. We are all earthlings together; we all- the rocks and plants and water- have our space on this Living Earth together. The water is vibrant and forever in its cycle of movement between land and sky; the trees – tall sentinels of the centuries, sturdy and strong – hug the tree trunk and breathe deeply of its rich oxygen; rocks so ancient and solid, holders of memories prior to human time, and the primeval lichens clambering over them.
And in this moment, all our times – that of rock and tree and water – converge into one amplified present. I am always connected. And I gasp at the beauty of it all and my place in it.
Some verses from the Tao sum it up rather well: ‘Ordinary men hate solitude./But the Master makes use of it,/ embracing his aloneness, realising/he is one with the whole universe.’ 
Thanks, Shirley for the great photo!