A Walk in the Rain on Pewley Down

My daughter Ellen and her husband moved from South London to Guildford in Surrey just before Christmas and, as she was working over the holiday, in between unpacking all their worldly goods, we agreed on a date in February for my first visit to their new home. My mother’s death in January and her funeral in February coincided with my visit and so we had some much needed mother and daughter time to help us cope with the loss.

I hadn’t realised how close to the Surrey Downs Ellen’s new home was. Although the wind was howling and rain was pouring down, we dressed up warm and waterproofed to take her two Jack Russell terriers for a long walk. Only a street and a lane away suburbia opened up on the top of a hill overlooking Pewley Down. Once off their leads, the dogs ran on ahead while I breathed in the air and took in a landscape of black silhouettes of trees, mist rising above them, green fields stretched out below my feet, brown stubbly fields and dark, dripping woods, full of  towering trees, stumps, ferns, pine cones and old leaves, with their comforting mulchy scent. And so we walked and talked.

trees are still naked
memories and sorrow drip
raindrop reflections

Kim M. Russell, 2017

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Haibun Monday – Taking a Forest Bath – Say What????

Toni aka Kanzen Sakura (www.kanzensakura.wordpress.com) has brought us the prompt for this session of Haibun Monday. 

She tells us that, In 1980, the Japanese began a type of healing/meditation/ relaxation process called shinrin-yoku (森林浴): literally forest bathing.  This has become a recognized health benefit in Japan and other countries, whereby you immerse yourself in the forest, breathing in the benefits of such volatile substances as a-Pinene and Limonene.  One simply visits the forest and strolls leisurely, breathing in the benefits of the volatile oils.  It also is relaxing.  Of course, one does not take cell phones, tablets, or books or other things that can distract one. 

Toni says that another way is to simply immerse oneself in nature and asks when was the last time we took a long walk in a forest, a field, a park or along the shores of a lake or beach; planted bulbs or seeds, took a sail on the water (beach or lake), sat under a tree and napped.

Today, Toni would like us to write a haibun (one – three tight paragraphs) ending with a haiku (seasonal and cutting words used to denote the season and to distinguish between the two parts of a haiku) about the last time we totally immersed ourselves in nature.  

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33 thoughts on “A Walk in the Rain on Pewley Down

  1. Oh how that haiku tears at my heart. but I so love the time you and your daughter spent walking and talking and I imagine. laughing at the antics of the dogs. Your haiku actually puts me in mind I wrote a couple of years ago after the death of a friend:
    summer night is long –
    dew falls but fades at morning –
    grasses remember.

    I hope the walk was healing for both of you and that more will follow.

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    1. I love your haiku, Toni, especially the grasses remembering. I can’t wait for the next chance to go and stay with Ellen but it won’t be for a while as she is so busy at work.

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    1. Thank you, Grace. I’m not too bad at the moment but there are good days and bad days. The tiem I spend listening to little children read at local schools keeps me occupied and writing is so therapeutic. It’s coming up to a busy time of year, with preparation for exam marking and much needed gardening once the bogginess has settled. How are things with you, Grace?

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  2. I enjoy walks in the rain as long as the rain isn’t too heavy. The pictures I take (with my phone protected) also seem better than the bright sun would let them appear without the rain. It is nice to be close to a rural or wooded area.

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  3. Incredible sense of place wit this. We all walked with you, enjoying the pooches & letting the emotions conjured by tragedy to spill out while in motion, mixing with rain.

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  4. So glad you had that healing walk with your daughter. I’m finding that, as things begin to settle down, the real process of grieving is just beginning and much of it can take place during those reflective walks. As an aside, our first JRT, the only dog we didn’t rescue, had parent who came from England. Who know, maybe he was related to those. He had that kind of a coat!

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  5. This is a wonderful write coming off the back of much emotional upheaval .. and so you have captured perfectly the core thrust of ‘forest bathing’ ~ nature’s ability to bring rest, healing, reflection. Your haiku is quite brilliant.

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  6. Oh Kim….my eyes welled up with tears toward the end of my reading here. For your grief, the loss of your mother…and for the beauty of this time with your daughter. The heart wells with love when we stand quietly with our daughters. I am certain your mother was there with you both…in the beauty of this place and within your hearts.

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  7. Kim, you had a ghost (me) on this walk! The description was so good that I felt the rain, could smell the naked trees, pinecones, and even the wet coats of those terriers! A wonderful, full and delightful read. And that haiku. What a blessing you have with your daughter.

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    1. I wondered what that rustling in the undergrowth was!
      Thank you Jane. Yes, Ellen is a blessing and I now have my fingers crossed that I will be blessed with a grandchild some time in the near future 🙂

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  8. “Memories and sorrow drip.” Lovely to be together, mother and daughter, remembering the stories and grieving together. I love the dogs running on ahead, adding a lively note of dailiness to the scene, as life, of necessity, moves on.

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