Today I lay on a rug under a tree. It was a huge sycamore which stands in the boundary hedge of our field.
The sun was so hot I was driven off the garden and into the shade where the grass was cool. I dug an old check rug out of the bakehouse where we keep outside things for the holiday cottage and spread it out. I brought out my book and a big glass of elderflower cordial and lay down and looked up into the tree. It soared above me like a huge green cathedral.
When did I stop lying down on a rug in the garden? When I was a child I loved eating outside and a cheese sandwich, a packet of crisps and an apple was immediately transformed into a picnic by eating on a rug. As a teenager I spent hours lying in the sun, seeking the perfect tan. I remember trying to revise for my A levels on a rug in the garden and eventually giving up as I squinted in the sun and my papers blew about in the breeze and snoozing for half an hour before going reluctantly inside. At university I remember ostensibly watching cricket on a rug in the sun, snoozing and dreaming and admiring handsome batsmen in their oh so flattering cricket whites. When my children were small an afternoon on a rug still happened although I was constantly leaping up to attend to insect bites and sandpit wars and the need for a drink and a biscuit.
But very gradually it seems to have vanished from my life. I still sit outside with a cup of tea but I can't remember the last time I indulged in the glorious warm indolence of a rug on the grass. There is always so much to be done. There are weeds to be pulled and emails to be written, work to be done, meals to be cooked and family members to be supported. Someone somewhere so often has their name on my time and even when they don't I myself rush around slapping post it notes of things to do on the day. You can see it there in that word "indulged". The relentless work ethic runs around after me. Even today I got up at 6, took my father in law for some blood tests, did the laundry, picked a ton of gooseberries, went for some shopping, weeded the onions, made some lunch for my father in law, walked the dog and fed the chickens before it occurred to me to lie on the rug.
Enough. How long is it since we had such glorious weather and when will it come again?
Lie on a rug. Don't even read. Look up into the tree and hear it buzz with life. Notice the sycamore helicopters forming. Listen to the leaves moving. Time enough for rush another day.
Move in and out of the sun for a little while. The dog will show you how.