Like most of you reading this I have, over the years, been through many phases/states of being (in my case, Steve Tallamy). We change, we gather experiences and out of them we (hopefully) gain new knowledge, develop new beliefs; we grow in both our human and spiritual selves. This blog is about ‘Who I Am Now’ sprinkled with a few of those experiences that have led me to this moment and my present ‘Self’.
So, to begin or should that be to re-begin!
Being born a ‘Man of Kent,’ merely 300 yards or so from the banks of the historic River Medway on a small holding in the beautiful ‘Garden of England’ it comes as no real surprise that I have a passion for both History and the Natural World. My parents both adored nature with my Mother being a lover of all creatures great and small as well as growing flowers with which she decorated the home and sold at the gate to passersby. Dad was more practical, the stereotypical male hunter gatherer providing fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the garden and orchard for the family table.
The family home was named ‘Forge House’ as it was indeed a former forge which (I believe) served Grench Manor in the parish of Grench (both renamed Grange) which is associated with Hastings and the Confederation of Cinque Ports. The history of this often overlooked corner of Kent is to say the least fascinating and I hope to bring it the attention it deserves in some of my posts.
My earliest childhood was spent exploring the surrounding orchards, fields and shoreline as well as working on the land along side Mum and Dad and that sense of discovering and enjoying ‘life as we know it’ in my humanness has stayed with me up to this moment in time. This exploration has also led me to the more spiritual side of life and I have dived head first into many of its variations. Some of these experiences have stayed with me, some I now look back on with disbelief and have discarded them like a snake sheds its skin. Perhaps it’s just a part of growing older but I now see myself as a follower of my kind of spiritual naturalism although of course the two can and do oppose themselves but as I’ve learned, life is full of complimentary paradoxes!
Back to the start ,,,,
As I child my parents took me on regular outings into the beautiful Kent countryside and I soon discovered the wonders to be found in the secret world of ‘Hollow Ways’. At the time I didn’t know that was what these enchanted pathways were called, only knowing them as places of adventure especially for a young boy with a passion for Nature and History. Unwittingly I had also uncovered a passion for hidden landscapes, those places that tell a story to those who take the time to pause, observe and sense the tale unfold within ourselves. Those places that in one single moment become the past as well as the present; and allied with the elements can become scary or wondrous in an instant.
One of my favourite trips was to the area in and around Boxley Warren a region of outstanding beauty and a wealth of history going back to Neolithic times (that’s a lot of history for a young kid to take in!). Living as I do now in Dorset I am blessed to be in what could be called the ‘Home of Hollow Ways’ and I get out to and into them as often as I can. They are a refuge, a sanctuary from the hullabaloo of modern day life. The wonderful thing about our landscapes is that they hold so many ‘ways’ to escape into nature; but I wont write about them here, not for the moment anyway, instead I recommend you venture into your own special land-escapes and experience the special kind history laid out before you.
That’s me in a nutshell and it’s enough for now, if I went on any more you’d only get bored, very bored indeed. You’ll discover more on who I am through my future posts which are a mix of history, nature musings with a hint of spirituality along with some other things I consider worth sharing thrown in for good or bad measure from time to time, so let’s leave Me right here and move on to the Bloggy Stuff!
How I see it …
“If, as you discover new knowledge and whilst experiencing new experiences you’re not prepared to change your mind or beliefs, you will never grow into who you truly are or could be. You will never be wiser tomorrow than you are today and you will live a life of self-imposed stagnation. Being open-minded is the platform for growth in every area of being.”
Or as Bertrand Russel put it, “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”