Heading south towards Cape Cornwall, the narrow lanes widen and the amount of people trying to catch some warmer rays increase. We all have the same idea. If the sun is shining – get outside.
The girls are excited for new adventures and I am nervous about having my first drive. Until this time I have been unable to reach the clutch and my husband has been in full command. I am ready now, after some seat alterations to see how I perform under pressure.
After several corners and a close encounter with a sandy bank I realise the bus drives like I feel after eating a hidden block of chocolate all in one day.
Unresponsive and slow we roll down the road with an open timetable. We plot a course through as many National Parks as we can in the hope to see some wilderness. Open heathlands and sheer cliffs to windy tors and hedge-lined roads all inhibit our ability to appreciate this land and see the naturalness. The hedges, although beautiful and laden with nutritious berries and edible herbs, make us feel like horses being led with blinkers on. National Parks are grazed following century old traditions and coastal landscapes are inaccessible or privately owned with every inch of soil being claimed for agriculture. It’s hard for the English to just get away but they need to feed the masses.
Our selection criteria for campsites is not a difficult list and includes, turning or reversing room, level ground to some degree, a sense of remoteness or at least privacy and a connection to the surrounding land. Everything else we carry onboard. Each time we think we find somewhere to stay for the night out pops another ranger, local farmer or geocaching madman to spoil our serenity.
How to embrace this dilemma?
Get amongst it I suppose. I glide into a pay parking area situated in the heart of Penzance and score one of the last remaining car spaces teamed together. I hear boat bells through my window as I try to position the bus between 2 cars, a pole and a concrete edge keeping man and sea apart. They chime in the breeze like 100 grandfather clocks, carrying the dreams and secrets of sailors now ashore.
The girls disembark first, scrambling onto the slimy concrete causeway, inspecting animals and seaweed. Bill, my husband and I stare across an ocean of cars towards the shopping mall and sit beside a herring gull to contemplate our next move. There are numerous warnings about how dangerous the gulls can be so we shelter beside the ‘Gentle Revolution’ and crack open some lunch. Far from the greens of natural reserves or forests we laugh at how this came to be.
I always wondered why the British Woofers who came to work on our rainforest farm stayed close to home. The animals and land must have felt so wild and truly dangerous. I called it alive and exciting but they just didn’t know what to think. Too often we only believe what we understand at that time and right now I realise I will never have the time needed to understand all I wish too, unless I use alternative methods for raising my awareness.
Traditional learning is not enough.
After a lengthy explanation to my eldest daughter about why I didn’t want to eat her collection of seaweed and what antifoul was we headed off on foot to explore the coastline.
It soon became clear that there was a festival taking place tomorrow within the town (which would explain the number of barriers I had to miss entering the carpark) and realised the bus is in the prime position to witness the spectacle.
The day passes, the kids play and I observe the relaxing of my mind and a letting go of all the hopes to discover some untamed secret piece of wilderness. I mean really, who was I to think that after thousands of years of people inhabiting such a small country there would be some undiscovered land, waiting for a blue bus to come along so that it may reveal itself and all its mysteries.
The day was right here. The discovery was right in front of me but my mind would not allow me to see the wilderness until I let go. Life’s wilderness. My view was the same for hours and yet small portions changed every second. I just had to observe and let it all unfold.
8 hours of the time
Cold and tired after our long walk, we ate, laughed, washed, pulled the curtains and bunkered down for the night. It must have been at least 10pm and there was a multitude of people returning to the carpark, slamming doors and riding clutches. I wondered if I would ever fall asleep.
I began my bedtime ritual, breathing into 10 mins of meditation to settle my mind and open my consciousness to the night cosmos. It must have worked because the next thing I knew my youngest daughter was tugging on my arm squealing something about fireworks.
Not only were we parked in the towns busiest carpark but we were in the hot spot for the festivals’ opening fireworks. Wrapping a blanket around me I sat on our little lounge hugging Jay, watching the most beautiful reflections. We talked like friends and marveled at the scene from our kitchen window.
I remembered my day sitting by the water pondering how life flows around and through us all the time and now, as the fireworks exploded and lit up the hundreds of people huddling alongside our bus to escape the windy chill I saw myself as a speck of life existing alongside millions of other energies trying to survive. Trying to make sense of our place.
I was grateful, warm and safe inside our little bus of wonders, wrapped in the love of a child, witnessing yet another facet of what our eyes perceive and what the universe delivers.
I vowed to limit if not get rid of our campsite criteria and open ourselves up to any possibility. Conditions limit our movements and enjoyment.