Casa de Campo Grasses

A few mornings ago I cycled up to the top of the Madrid’s Casa de Campo wild parkland, to a quiet spot between two great oak trees. I found myself looking at the parched grasses moving gently in the wind. They stand there quietly, in peace, free from worries and concerns, and when the time comes they’ll fall to the ground, returning to the earth that holds and sustains them, mixing with other organic matter to give new life to the trees, or next year’s grasses.

So they are not worried at all, they are from the earth, the earth holds them with a sort of gentle completeness, and it will help them later to return as something new.

If we have time to look, the earth offers us the same gentle completeness, and we can be as quiet and peaceful as the grasses as we move around on it. Why rush and fret and suffer at the mercy of wants and time and timetables? There is no reason not to live in stillness like the grasses, reassured by the solid, regenerative earth beneath our feet.

A few mornings later I left the house in despair, after receiving difficult words in a family argument. I went to the quietest suburban street near our house, and walked quietly, remembering everything I’ve ever learned about dealing with strong, difficult emotions like despair. Breathe, pay attention to your steps, come back again and again to the present moment, look at the wonders around you in the here and now… and I heard the wind in the trees, and saw the blue of the sky, and growing on the curb, a host of gently swaying, dry wild grasses. So beautiful! So peaceful! I stopped to look at them for a while, then carried on walking, returning home later with no more despair.