Lying on a rug under a tree

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.

Comments

  1. That sounds good - a bit cold here today for that - a high of 15 C.

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    1. A high of 15 in winter sounds pretty good to me. The joys of New Zealand!

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  2. How beautiful the light is, coming through the leaves. Dogface has the right idea (mind you, you seem to have caught on too - and without the help of a fur coat). I often retreat to a shady patch caused by two birches in my meadow, where paths meet - just enough room to put a rug out. Having said that, I get too easily distracted as well, so that's exactly what I plan on doing this afternoon. Thanks for reminding me!

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    1. It is my passion right now: really being aware of this weather!

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  3. Will probably do similar today. In need of rebalance after a long hot day going to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show yesterday - hardly any shade, stifling hot marquees, crowds of sweltering but smiling people, lots of concept gardens proclaiming we are all doomed or hankering after a world of cupcakes, bunting and spriggy floral bunting!
    I need our garden to bring me back to a calm green reality. The cats and hens will show me how *under the trees in the shade*.
    xx

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    1. Liked the idea of the Hampton court show but it all sounds a bit hot in reality!

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  4. Such a simple thing but a magical, indulgent pleasure. We should all do this more often, the work can wait (well, except berry picking!) A cool, green oasis in the current heat washing across the land.

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    1. Here it has been so hot that there has not felt to be much choice in seeking the shade this week.

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  5. Great post Elizabeth. I will lie on a rug in your honour today.

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  6. We do too little of it - as the 'poet' said 'what of life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare'

    Thanks for the timely reminder to take time out and enjoy being.

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    1. It is amazing how easy it is to know these things and how hard to do them!

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  7. This is just what I needed to read after a busy, hot week.

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    1. I am glad. Hope you got some shade this week!

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  8. I don't have a rug, but I do have a garden lounger. It's perfect for taking down to the lower patio (called such when I'm felling grand but in reality it houses the garden shed) and installing ready for the minute inspection of the vast silver birch above it :)

    It's an unintentional, but very welcome part of the garden's design at this time of the year, especially as our proper patio gets too hot. I call it my cool retreat at the bottom of the garden.

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    1. It is interesting isn't it, how for most of the year I at least seek the sun in garden and how surprising it is to find oneself hunting for shade.

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  9. What a lovely thought! There's absolutely no shade in my tiny courtyard garden or I'd try it too. As it is even the dogs are all choosing to be indoors where it's cooler. But relaxing is not an indulgence ... we live longer and yet we are so bound up in this race to ... what?! ... that I fear we live less.

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    1. I do agree. Somehow we are so busy and full of achievements and overwhelmed by information and choice. Do less, own less.

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  10. Lovely pictures of your sycamore. I used to spend hours lying in the sun as a teenager, but your wonderful post has reminded me that I don't spend enough time on a hot day just enjoying the shade of a large tree. With a slight breeze coming through the leaves, it is the best shade of all! My animals have the right idea, too, in hot weather, because that's where they're always to be found.

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    1. It is the best shade, green shade as Marvell called it.

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  11. A lovely contemplative and reflective post - I no longer recline under trees - may be it is because it gets so much more difficult to rise again from said mode!!!

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    1. Perhaps a seat under a tree? I always love the seats that surround a tree but don't yet have a tree big enough in the right place.

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  12. Beautiful! I caught myself today accusing myself of laziness as I guiltily took some time to read a mystery novel. . . .your comment about the word "indulge" hit me as I read your inspiring post . . . yes, you've inspired me, altho' I think I'll set up the hammock today as we don't have enough lawn to spread out a rug. . . .Enjoy your weekend! May there be more rug-lying!

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    1. Hammock, now there is another attractive idea!

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  13. Elizabeth, this post has put me in a much more relaxed frame of mind. Looking at those leafy branches backlit by sunshine...perfect. How perfect to follow that pup's lead.

    xo

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    1. There is something remarkably soothing about looking up through leaves!

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  14. I wish I could do it. I fidget. I think of all the things I 'should' be doing. I get up when I spot a weed.

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    1. Ah now that used to be me but I am getting better at nothing. Besides one of the beauties of having lots of weeds is that they somehow all blend together and are less guilt inducing, trust me!

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  15. Huh. Charles has just been for a snooze on a rug on the lawn. Where will this end? #everyoneouttheredozing

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    1. Blame me for that if you like! It is clearly catching.

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  16. No rug here, but two benches and an arbour in different parts of the garden so I can move in and out of the sun. I don't have a big tree and I'm not good in this very hot weather, so I have been catching up on my reading. Mainly in the shade.
    I do remember sitting on rugs when I was a child though.

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    1. Well reading not weeding has to be good every now and then.

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  17. So true, life seems to get busier and busier, and we believe there is no time to just sit and stare. Thank you for reminding us to do just that ~ and not feel guilty either!

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    1. No, no guilt. That would spoil it entirely!

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  18. Too right about the dog Elizabeth! Lie in the sun, get too hot, drag yourself into the shade - repeat at will.
    Yes, I can't remember the last time I lay on a rug - could be difficult to get up again with my funny knee.
    But looking up into a tree's branches froma prone position is a wonderful thing to do.

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    1. The tree is a whole world up there and if you lie long enough you start to see what comes and goes.

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  19. I lay on a rug on a pebbly beach this morning. It was a little uncomfortable I'll admit, but so wonderful to stop and do absolutely nothing else. I didn't even have a book with me.

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    1. I lay without a book too Lucille. I love to read but sometimes the totality of doing nothing is what I need.

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  20. Lying on a rug , I tend to get distracted by ants crawling past my nose so prefer to read in a chair ... though just doing nothing appeals even more .

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  21. I really can't remember the last time I lay on a blanket in the grass - or the last time I sat in the garden without planning what needed doing next. I think some readjustment is in order!

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    1. Well I couldn't either but this last week has been so hot that the rug has become my second home!

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  22. Rugs don't really do it for me - too close to the grass that makes me sneeze, but a hammock, now that's my idea of paradise...

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    1. I think a hammock would be perfect too although I have never had one.

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  23. I'd love to be doing that, but... MOSQUITOES!!!

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    1. We don't have mosquitoes here Marcheline, yet another reason to come visiting!

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  24. Summer lends itself to Proustian alertness and lying under the sycamore tree. When we were children we believed summers were endless. Now we understand how shortlived they can be. I really, really want to savour this one as much as possible in this busy everyday life of ours.

    Stephanie

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    1. Yes me too. It is a few years since we had a summer that felt as hot and langorous as this one. Savouring it is just the right word.

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  25. Oh yes. It's about time I took a leaf out of your book and took a moment to look up at the leaves.

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    1. It is so easy not to! I know I am usually guilty of rushing around instead.

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  26. Beautiful post and a reminder to all of us to stop and properly smell the roses occasionally x

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    1. Actually smelling the roses is a very good way of achieving that moment when you are not running around. It absorbs you so completely that you can't do anything else.

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  27. Lovely post as always Elizabeth. Last Friday (12th) was my youngest daughter's 11th birthday and while she was paintballing with a group of mates from school I took my other two for a much-needed summer clothes shop in the Trafford Centre! Yuck. Still we had fun, even if it was not what I would want to do with a beautiful and rare sunny day!

    This week I am rushing around getting things done prior to going away for 5 weeks so, again, not a lot of time to lie on rugs. We also have the decorators in and a houseful of extra children as it's the holidays and my girls want to see their friends and chill - all of which means I have even more people to run around after.

    Today, however, I did just as you: I took a rug and a picnic (just a few homemade ham sandwiches) and went down the lane with the girls and the dog to the reservoir just to have the simple pleasure of picnicking in the sunshine. I did not really have the time, but it was a necessary indulgence - this beautiful weather we have been enjoying doesn't come along often!

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    1. And I bet your girls will remember the picnic on the rug when they are adult. I know I remember my equivalents.

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  28. I love this post on simple pleasures. What a gorgeous tree! I too have been thinking about handsome guys in cricket whites. They feature in the novel I'm revising now. Happy summer, Elizabeth!

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    1. Something so very appealing about cricket whites!

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