Seeing With New Eyes

Earlier in the week I spent time with my American second cousin who was visiting England for the first time. What a pleasure it was to see and appreciate England through her wide open and receptive eyes and heart. It didn’t take long before I was as excited as she was about sheep and cows, stone walls and old buildings built of stone! Really, England is amazing at any time of the year and thank goodness the weather held. We ‘tooled’ around (as she put it) narrow lanes of Lancashire, she was especially enthralled by the vegetation being so lush and so close to the roadside.

We did the statutory garden tour but with a difference. Levens Hall has a historic  Topiary and quite unlike anything I’ve ever encountered anywhere. This area of the gardens had us both disoriented and longing for some order and symmetry. It really was the strange experience to be walking amongst this disjointed collection of ‘bush art’.

I’m left with a sense of gratitude for our time together filled with family stories spanning several generations. In skilled hands it could make a best seller! The pain and sufferings (and joy and fun too) were real enough however in the telling something has dissolved. Perhaps that’s due to a deeper appreciation and acceptance of what they are. Just stories which have no substance, much like air.

The photograph of the Lancaster street seen anew is for Jessica and her daughter. Thank you for opening my eyes to what is commonplace and still magnificent in England. And for welcoming me into your life and history.

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