Breathe In Your Surroundings

Author photo of Cerys Keen, a young woman wearing her pyjamas in bed, with one head leaned against her hand.
By 
Cerys Keen

Someone has cut the brakes on modern life. Car doors slam and trolleys scramble. The lips and nose of strangers are covered by a blue screen. Behind closed doors the bombardment of news stories causes the heart to panic. It feels as though the ground has been pulled from under our feet and we fall landing flat on our faces.

Have you stopped to notice the last weeks of summer? Allow the chest to rise and fall.

Begin with the soles of your feet. Apply pressure with your thumb to soften the arch wrinkling the skin in a circular motion. The ball and heel are rough, muddied and defiant. Loosen the sole from its walls and inhale, scrunching and stretching each toe.

Move outside towards her.

Dense green grass surrounds and cushions each foot. The earth moulds to your foundation and holds you steady. The prick of a stone wakes you. Breathe deep and the discomfort dissolves.

She is holding you.

Glowing light rays dive in the ocean’s mirror. Grey backed messengers set sail in the breeze carrying materials they need to snuggle down for the upcoming autumn. Moss, sticks and leaves are woven together with the trace of a feather left behind.

Her winged workers are found burrowing deep into every yellow cavity. Reaching hands paint the canopy in rose, damson and lilac, thickening the flower bed. Some have faces while others are goblets as orange as the sun. A delicate scent emerges from the sweet peas, tall and wrapped around canes latching on with thin tendrils.

Her aromatherapy guides you.

White wings court in her exhale. The trees’ clarinets sing in celebration of life’s most natural beauty. The next generation is coming to keep her alive with love and purpose. A hand is lent as a seed is passed from one beak to the next. Survival is all around.

Her heart warms you.

Dianthus, stocks and the majestic nicotiana bring evening chatter among their pots. A flame flickers inside an empty jam jar glowing behind the midnight curtain. Smouldering barbecue coals hang heavy in the air. The last few burgers are flipped and consumed.

She brings us together.

The masked exchanges and sanitised air have long faded now. The scowls over close proximity and the online arguments are a forgotten memory from a dreamlike time. Allow her strength to guide your heart to a calmer water.

The burning heat of the past weeks have wilted the flowers, browning their leaves. Glass windows and terracotta bricks have made a furnace of our homes. The tarmac bakes in the midday heat scolding the softest paws.

We project our sorrow onto Mother Nature.

Tears fall from the world above hydrating young life below. A Frog fishes for food in a nearby pond while the pink water lily glows in the rain. Bird baths fill up and wilted flowers raise their heads. A rainbow arches over the garden filling the whole family with childlike excitement as they search for the pot of gold.

Mother nature sees our smile.

Four months of domestic labour have painted the fences and polished the cars. The windows have been cleaned and the roofs repaired. The front garden is our stage. Overflowing baskets hang and a cat is deep in slumber. Dismal walls are broken up by towering sunflowers and the lawn is trimmed to perfection.

Mother nature relieves us of our trauma.

Families and friends gather in green pastures. Young children learn to ride their bikes as the farmer harvests the wheat. Eggs hatch, fruit ripens, and the last seedlings germinate.  Haircuts are judged, meals are consumed, and holidays are rescheduled as the end of year jingle grows louder.

We are stronger together.

Peek out your window today. What do you see? Has the grey haze that once clutched the row of houses opposite dissipated? Have the morning songbirds begun to nest in the eaves of your porch? Is your balcony frequented by pollinators?

Another page is turned as the chapter draws to a close. It’s time to look ahead for orange hues and the bulbous sharp faces that will soon guard doorsteps. Bursts of glitter will spark across the cold night sky, and the plants bought at the end of summer will be fit to burst with the familiar smell of brussels sprouts ready to grace our dinner plates. The chant of the new year will be upon us and it won’t be long before the summer heat is bearing down once again.

In a time of crisis feel the ground beneath you and lift your head high above your shoulders. Give yourself permission to stop and rest. Inhale deep through your nose and breathe in your surroundings.

 

 

Tags: 

Cerys Keen is a young, creative writer working at her craft during every spare moment. Her day job? Cafe assistant. She has an English degree from the University of Kent, UK and if she's not reading you'll find her walking amongst the English countryside. She's written for Classic Rock Society magazine and the KM Gazette. She also runs her own online space where she can write her heart out. The most notable piece being Cats with Pockets! If your cat had pockets, what would you find in them? 

“It's Canadian, feminist, and one of my favourite things ever.”

—bucketofrhymes, "29 Amazing Literary Magazines You Need To Be Reading", Buzzfeed Books

Room relies on subscriptions from readers like you. Help us continue to promote and support diverse women and genderqueer authors and artists by subscribing today.

SUBSCRIBE

Currently on Newsstands

  • Room 43.3 Neurodivergence: Collage construction featuring black and white architecture dotted with circular adornments and rectangular window grids.The architectures are both right-side-up and upside-down, challenging gravity while becoming their own planet - bonded together by sharp, clear crystal points and organic blooms of mustard-coloured minerals.
    Room 43.3, Neurodivergence
    Edited by Rachel Thompson

    In this issue:

    K. J. Aiello, Aeman Ansari, Annie Blake, Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros, Aimée Henny Brown, Megan Callahan, Conyer Clayton, Rachel D.L., Dorianne Emmerton, Lauren Ewald, Kate Finegan, Catherine Garrett, LHC, Safiya Hopfe, Madison Hyman, Claire Kelly, Terese Marie Mailhot, Elizabeth McGeown, Kate Mildew, Amy Newell, Lisa O’Neill, Ottavia Paluch, Ryan Rattliff, Nicole Robitaille, Michele Saint-Yves, Emi Sasagawa, L M Schmidt, A.K. Shakour, Jane Shi, Hilary Sideris, Nadia Siu Van, Erin Soros, Léa Taranto, Allison Bird Treacy, Sarah Williams, Lindsay Wong, A. Light Zachary

    .