My imagination has known no bounds when it comes to creating dreams of great beauty and inspiration as well as those heaving with hellishly horrible end of life scenarios.
Last night I had to face a fear. That of driving after dark in torrential rain. My new-to-me car had given me a tiny warning but it was too subtle to notice at the garage where I bought it.
‘You’re being over-sensitive if you don’t mind me saying?’ said the man I bought the car from, who has a great reputation by the way. ‘If your car has a problem it will tell you. This light here will come on.’ He showed me with a twist of the key. Gotcha! Great. Thought so, says I. Although in all fairness to myself, my over-sensitivity has sometimes been extremely valuable, for example noticing very quickly that my cat was drinking too much water and had become diabetic. Most people don’t notice till their cats collapse.
But anyway I was happy with the diagnosis and drove four hours back to the heart of Wales with only a marginal flutter or two under the bonnet. Perhaps it was the wind. The rain has been torrential, as any of you living in the UK will know. Up here in the Cambrian Mountains we’ve had an overly generous load of the stuff. I hear most of the drops as they drum whirling dervishly on the taut canvas of the yurt.
Yesterday I drove out to The Unicorn pub in Caersws for a late lunch to meet with author of Nature Spirits – The Remembrance, Susan Raven, a woman whose conversation delights me more and more each time we meet. We’re exploring what retreat we’ll create together and the unfolding of this is delicious. All of a sudden I realised it was time for me to leave. I’d asked the elementals if they could hold off the rain while I was out and that I’d be back at the yurt before dark. I was late! As I drove out of the pub carpark the rain began to spatter, the sky dimmed another notch, and the car sputtered it’s lack of enthusiasm for the drive home. Only about eight miles with four of those along tiny windy roads with little mobile coverage and very few houses.
I turned right on to the A470. That light came on! Followed by a substantial loss of power. I pulled over in to the next car park at The Red Lion pub which weirdly was just closing. The wind grabbed the rain and threw it across the road. The light dimmed another notch. I checked the handbook. If that light goes on you have a problem! I had a choice – limp back to the farm where the yurt is and hope the car makes it all the way and sort it out in daylight or stay here and call Brittania Recovery. I made the call.
By 5.30pm the wind was raging, lorries and cars snaked through the town with their lights fracturing in the swirling rain and at last my rescue chariot arrived. In the interim I had thought about the diagnosis that I’d been over-sensitive. Apparently not over-sensitive, just more sensitive than the on-board computer system. Now did I want to be right with a major problem? Ah no – just right with a minor problem that was an easy fix. The next diagnosis? The car was mis-firing, running on 3 cylinders and if we were lucky it just needed new plugs but we’d have to drive to the nearest town. In the dark. In the torrential rain. With lots of evening traffic. Perfect!
I un-gritted my teeth for the drive and got there unscathed and not quite as achingly anxious as I’d anticipated. Amazingly enough the town I live near has a Peugeot garage which stayed open for us as the recovery people had called ahead. All sorted for the small price of £35.90. Now all I had to do was drive alone back to the farm and walk through the dark to the yurt…. okay I’m ready for it. I made the drive along the main road. This had to be easier. I said goodbye to my knight whose armour shone with diamonds of rain.
I called on the elementals to ease off the deluge for ten minutes. They laughed and increased the torrent. The rain sliced the night at 45 degrees and was so dense it was opaque in the headlights – a curtain wildly whipped across the road in front of me. It was an awesome display of power, but I drove at a wonderfully cautious speed along the empty lane. Then a turn off on to the single track mile long lane to home. I’d expected this to feel threatening and scary as it hugs the hillside. But in the headlights it looked welcoming and the sheets of rain diminished just a touch.
Then backpack on, iphone torch in hand and snow-boots on feet I took small steps through the mud down the hill and through the wood along the narrow path by the side of a steep drop in to the ravine. Opened the gate to the dark, dark field, down the muddy grass path, up the steps of the deck and in to the safety of the yurt.
Where was my fear? Where were the imaginings of ghosts, of ghouls, of strange feral creatures waiting to rip out my throat? Nowhere, except in their non-presence. I was exhilarated to have made it back, with a well running car, and both of us intact. And I realised with great certainty that my fears are absolutely created from my own imagination when I start playing the ‘what if’ game. The dark, the night, the wood – all of them are just themselves. Not intrinsically frightening at all. Only the thoughts I make up about them can be frightening. I must have heard and read that a million times but I have never experienced it so clearly as then. I found them all welcoming, friendly and home!
I’ve noticed that when I resist something it will eventually happen as if by external means, as if I need that extra push to discover that I’m far more capable and resourceful than I think I am, and that fear doesn’t need to be my master. Just as I wrote that last line a little blue tit flew right in to my yurt, stopped for a moment underneath the ‘eye’ in the roof, and flew back out again. That must have taken some courage.
Haha – but the last laugh was on me again. I let my fear last night during a major gale get the better of me and had a rubbish night….oh well, I’m still on that learning curve.