|A host of golden daffodils|
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
William Wordsworth, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. c. 1804.
At peak times of activity, work deadlines, family challenges and demands, we can often be left with a longing for rest time - a time to recover. It connects me too with the recovery time needed after a period of illness. There is often a blessing in the fatigue and weakness which we can encounter at these times. We have endured a period of hardship, and find ourselves empty and exhausted.
Our strength and direction have momentarily left us. We don't feel able for much activity, if any, and even conversation can be demanding. At times of illness, we may have to hand ourselves and our well-being over to teams of doctors and specialists, who schedule us for tests, for diagnosis, and treatment. We are cared for by nurses or family members, who encourage us to eat something.
In spite of it all, once pain is not excessive, we can be quite content in this momentary time of weakness. It keeps ambition and restlessness at bay - they too receive little energy or focus from us. That, in itself, is a great balm for the mind and body. We pace ourselves, getting a little exercise, eating a little wholesome food, snoozing, having a little read, a little conversation, and another snooze. Bit by bit, we continue to strengthen.
Recovery is a gentle time - time to rest, to be quiet, to let the inner rhythm dictate the pace. Time to admire the daffodils, the nesting birds, to feel the heat of the sun on our face, on our back. Time to see what nature is doing - it constantly gives us clues as to what we should be doing, or not doing, and the natural pace of the season. It is time to retreat, to go inwards and replenish. To go back to Source, and soothe the emptiness and confusion. It is a sacred time. Every now and again, it's good to recover. To take stock of our lives and our direction. To recover our balance, our rhythm, our natural way. To recover ourselves.
To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects ... is to succumb to the violence of our times.
Every season moves onto the next. We will move forward again soon enough.