Children, sunshine and mountains – happy apes

In order to notice the wonderful moments in life, we have to be there to appreciate them.

This Saturday was spent walking the Ruta del Cares in Cantabria. The first two and a half kilometres is a steady uphill slog all in the bright, hot spring sunshine. I feel my heart pumping, sweat soaking through my tee-shirt, the awe inspiring views flavoured with a touch of vertigo, feet crunching on the stony surface, contrasting with the river’s sound of rushing water. There is sporadic conversation and long periods of silence without any need to talk. A deep feeling of gratitude and privilege to be there beneath the infinite powder blue sky and brilliant white fluffy clouds;  mountains still with snow at their peaks. Hot sun, cool breeze, absolutely perfect walking weather.

As always, local walkers greet, whilst city walkers don’t.

Arrival at Cain: with a sense of joy and relief we tumble onto the grassy banks of the river to picnic. A cat sits with us; we share with him scraps and affection.

Sunday was primate time. On the lawn playing with my grandchildren, talking, sharing with my daughters and wife.

The boys (grandchildren) age 6 and 4 are boisterous, rowdy, dancing to music and “fossil” cleaning.

Anaïs (just 7 months old) wants to eat what grown-ups eat; whenever I put food into my mouth I must include a taste for her. She is so very happy. Her happiness is contagious.  We are, I realise, simply primates at rest, at play. The two young males (4 and 6 years old) are playing, fighting with each other, then “picking a fight” with the silverback (me), in the hope that I will chase them and toss them around, then run screaming to hide behind their mummy when I do. The female “primates”, Rhea (my wife) and three of my daughters Erika, Kiira and Ishtar talking, walking, preparing, nurturing.

I feel a deep and timeless connection with all my primate forebears; how they too must have played in a similar way. The difference, as far as I can tell, is mostly technology. I notice how much I just enjoy being a big hairless ape surrounded by family. I feel thankful to be able to appreciate. Everything else is redundant. There is no need for more than what is here right now.

I meditate with the setting sun. Eyes closed, I turn and lift my face towards the sun, bathed in light, sounds, warmth. I experiment, moving my head to experience the sun more intensely on different parts of my face. I notice a deep sense of wellness. The warming sun contrasts with the cooling breeze, sounds of horses, cows, dogs, a tractor. Divine!

At the end of the day sleep comes naturally, easily.

The best things in life are not things. And yet we spend most of our time pursuing and acquiring material things.

Children, sunshine and mountains – happy apes

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