By Kirsty Heaton
Escaping the summer heat in Dubai – I have swapped sandals and sand for walking boots and rolling countryside in the UK. Our summer holidays wouldn’t be complete without a day trip to Castle Howard for a picnic in the grounds, followed by walks through the estate and woodlands. I have been coming here for as long as I can remember, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
From the moment we turn the corner into the parking I feel a sense of nostalgia, I still have the familiar flutter in my tummy as I did as a child, impending adventure and curiosity, excitement and amazement at the stunning beauty that surrounds us. Yes, our picnics may have changed and I no longer head to the playgrounds to swing and slide as I did as a little girl, the excitement is just the same…but different.
Our first adventure is into the woods, away from the hustle and bustle of the playgrounds. The trees are hundreds of years old and the silence you experience here is intoxicating. Walking through this woodland is healing for the soul, it’s as if nature gives us a giant hug, soothing and calming our nerves. I notice how we tend to whisper to each other in the woods; as if anything loud would disturb the sacred silence.
As we emerge from the woods, the views are breathtaking…I am always overwhelmed as I stand and take it all in. I feel a deep sense of gratitude and take a moment to stand and just breathe it all in…hoping I can keep this picture in my mind forever.
A stroll through the rose garden brings back memories of collecting rose petals with my Grandma to make “rose perfume” I smile to myself, my heart warmed by these memories as I relay the stories to my own daughter.
Our day comes to an end with homemade ice creams and cups of tea, enjoyed in the castle courtyard. Our legs are tired but our hearts are warmed by the memories both old and new.
As my Mindfulness journey continues, I am so grateful that I am able to experience these special traditions and so many other moments on a much deeper level. When we make the choice to see everything with a Beginners Mind, the world opens up and even an Englishman’s castle, visited yearly for over 30 years can become a place of wonder all over again.
Beautiful photos by Kirsty Heaton
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