The Fox and The Pond
A story about the fox and the pond.
There are a lot of things I love in life. Requesting a random mix of classical music on Alexa. Running on the morning beach with my dogs in September. The smell of smoke when you blow out a candle that’s been lighting the living room all evening.
But there is one thing I love more than most. And that’s heading into town on a Saturday morning to pick a new book from Waterstone’s. For some people it’s buying new clothes. For others it’s spending time with family or finding new items for the room they’re decorating. For me, it’s books. Always books. And more books.
Plus, we have wonderful floor to ceiling shelves built into the walls of our living room and they are dying to be filled up with juicy, colourful, life changing books.
I love books on business and change. I love spiritual books and poetry books. And I love random books I find that I would never read if I hadn’t stumbled on them by accident, like All My Friends Are Superheroes, The Ten Secrets of Heaven…
So this week, after a deliciously productive week changing the frickin’ world, me and Alice needed a break. We needed our own brand of therapy.
We hopped in the car and made an excited bee line for our favourite shop.
We started with Smart Thinking Hardbacks by the entrance and moved on to Stationery before heading upstairs to Personal Development and Spirituality. It wasn’t long before we had 10 books each, piled high on nearby tables. The lovely people who work there often recognise us and smile when they see us deliberating on which book to keep and which to leave.
After nearly an hour of scouring the shelves, touching the covers and reading the first few pages of the ones we loved the most, we found ourselves in a surprising section: ‘In Nature’.
It was tucked back in the corner, near the travel books and maps.
Alice looked emotional. She had picked up a book called At The Pond. It was the story of Hampstead Ladies’ Pond in London. A spot she’d swam in only months ago with her twin sister Amy, who is now travelling the world and currently residing in Bali.
I was drawn to another book, quite simply and rather beautifully called ‘Fox’. I love foxes. When I see them, I slam on the breaks (ahem, safely of course), pull over and watch it for as long as I can. I like to wonder what the fox is up to and where it’s going. And I wonder why it’s all alone.
When I turned and read the first few pages of the book, I found myself smiling ear to ear, knowing immediately that the author shared the exact same curiosity. I shut the book on page two and added it to the pile.
After the obligatory ‘review and sort’ where we challenge ourselves to put back two or three books (from the now dozen we have collected), we were sat in the coffee shop on the second floor. I was sipping on an oat milk cappuccino (with extra chocolate) in between mouthfuls of carrot and ginger cake. Alice was enjoying her earl grey tea in a pot.
I dove into Fox and Alice turned the page of At The Pond.
We can pass hours like this.
Scouting. Reading. Enjoying coffee. Chatting. Reflecting. Watching other people. Chatting some more.
The whole journey of heading into town, scouring the shelves, picking one book up and putting another book back is like therapy for me. It calms me down. It brings me presence. And it helps fill out the ridiculously oversized bookshelf we’ve had to pad our with trinkets for now.
What is your own brand of private therapy?
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