The Forest of Dude

There’s a spot on Hampstead heath, the wild and natural park on the northwest hills of London, known by me and my closest friends as the Forest Of Dude, where we meet and have met for years, to do tai chi, sit on logs, discuss the universe and find clarity away from the madness of the city.

It is there among the discreet yet nonetheless startling bluebells, I’ve been spending time whilst in London with various combinations of people close to me and though there were a couple of specific reasons I made this trip, it seems on one level, it was really all about coming to spend time in my beloved Forest Of Dude, for there, all at once all problems are reduced in scale and perspective returns – and I have a history of undergoing this recalibrating process there, as for the majority of my years so far on the planet, Hampstead Heath has been my back yard – I know every wee hillock, every glade, every turn and bend on every path better than I know the lines on my right palm but nowhere there or perhaps anywhere in the world, hits the spot for me like the Forest Of Dude.

Who is the Dude, who is this spirit I connect with there? Why, none other than the Tao. And why would the Tao be especially accessible and available in the Forest Of Dude? Because it’s a lovely place. And the Tao is no less susceptible to lovely places than the rest of us. Of course the Tao is every bit as present in the darkest corners of the urban sprawl, in the smelliest nooks of the rankest shantytown, as it is in the Forest Of Dude or other such spots on the planet but it feels more free to show its face in such places. Which is all well and good but why I’m mentioning it, other than for sentimental what-we-did-on-our-trip-to-London reasons, is to inspire you to visit your own touch-base nature spot as soon as you can and spend time communing with the Big Dude/Dudini there – let yourself be absorbed into the nature there – let your breath flow and your thoughts go. It will refresh and restore you for this next phase of the adventure – and for sure the whiff of new phases of adventure is discernibly in the air right now.

Right, that’s me out – have a terrifically top day.

With love, Doc


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