Permission To Relax And Breathe Again
The Chinese believe that water in the landscape enhances health.
The Chinese, it would appear, are very wise.
There is something about being around water that is clearly beneficial to so many of us. It is almost as if we sub-consciously give ourselves permission to relax and breathe again when we find ourselves beside a sandy beach, lake or river. The sound of flowing water and the often exquisite surroundings seem to act as a catalyst for people to just slow down and unwind.
The benefits of nature.
Such was the case for us recently.
We made a long drive to Scotland to visit relatives. Lovely and kind people who made us feel so welcome, it was heart warming to spend time together after an absence of many years. We spent a day in their company and in their homes and enjoyed meeting members of the family new to us, one just a few weeks old.
We really had a wonderful day
So in many ways the nature that I referred to was incidental to our visit. But it was also important.
The stress of a long drive, nearly 900 miles over two days of driving, should not be underestimated. Whilst enjoyable, it undoubtedly had an effect on our well being and comfort. When you factor in the concentration required to stay safe on what was predominantly motorways, then it is easy to appreciate that levels of anxiety were higher than normal.
And what grounded and calmed us perfectly was water.
We broke our journey at Brockholes in Lancashire. A beautiful, 250 acre nature reserve and country park, based in an old quarry that had been created in the building of the M6, with impressive lakes and plenty of wildlife. It allowed us to stop and relax more effectively than any motorway service station could. We walked around the largest lake and took an hour or so to watch the deer and the birds and admire the scenery. The floating visitor centre was original and impressively eco-friendly and the views out over the River Ribble amazing.
It was perfect and just what was needed.
And then, after many more hours of driving, we found the sea.
The Scottish sea to be precise. Our arrival in Ayr was perfectly timed just as a break in the clouds and inevitable rain allowed us to witness that rarest of things north of the border, a beautiful sunset. It was wild and windy but the view of the sun disappearing behind the heavy waves was wonderful.
We were also blessed to find the time for a walk along the undeveloped but charming seafront before our departure. A sandy beach, blue sky, bracing air and warm and welcoming people.
And, of course, the water.
We have wonderful memories of our visit. An enjoyable time spent with lovely people, it was great to catch up again. But one small and mostly insignificant memory that sticks in my mind for some reason was to do with the water. On our beautiful, sunny walk along the Ayr seafront we took a moment to stop and watch as two horses were exercised on the beach. We saw them walking in the water, feeling at home and clearly loving every second. It made us smile and appreciate once more how lucky we have been.
So normal and natural, yet so perfect and special.