"At 8.00 am this morning, I go into the hospital for ten hours of blood and platelet transfusions in the hope that it brings all my markers up enough for my pacemaker operational exchange to go ahead tomorrow morning, after the disappointment of three previous cancellations. There will be a part of this long day reading, listening to the radio, napping and relaxing to my woodland image that I have used for the past sixty years. My relaxation image comes from my teenage years, shortly following a three-year period when I was unable to walk due to a spinal injury. I have always realised the natural affinity I've had with nature since my childhood and growing up on Windybank Estate.
Growing up in the 1950's invariably meant spending all one's spare time after school, at weekends and during the long summer holidays, playing outside in the fresh air. With no computers, play stations or other gadgets to occupy our minds then, our developing imagination, new found inventiveness and sheer creativity of thought kept us occupied from morning until night. That which we didn't have during these years of austerity after the Second World War, we made do with, and that which we were unable to buy, we made up from whatever materials we could find about the home or our dad's work sheds.
I have fashioned many a wooden top from a spinning bobbin or a Bowie knife from a stick of wood with nothing more than an old penknife. I've made more bows and arrows from a willow tree than I could ever count and the dustbin lid has proved shield enough for any knight of the realm on many occasions. Indeed, were I to think of my most treasured moments as a teenager with an eye for the girls, I know that my life might have proved so dull without my walks through the local woods on a summer's day.
I have long believed that any person who loves Nature will never lack interest in their life and will find beauty and love everywhere they go. Even in the most war-torn parts of the world where bombs break up families daily and destroy homes, good deeds done by one person to another exist through expressed love! Nothing, simply nothing on the face of the earth is powerful enough to extinguish the force of 'goodness' and 'love' from it However bad life is capable of being for some people sometimes, nothing possesses the power to stop it ever getting better!
I recall reading about 'The Green Man' as a young man. I suppose that having been born in Ireland gave the name of this mythical creature of Nature extra meaning to me. 'The Green Man' always fascinated me after I became acquainted with the legion. He is to be found in many cultures around the world and is often related to vegetable and nature deities. 'The Green Man', whose image it is said, can be found in the bark of every woodland tree and the petal of every woodland flower and the heart of every tree leaf, is primarily interpreted as an image of rebirth and represents the cycle of growth each spring. There have been numerous myths developed about the power and presence of 'The Green Man, but the one I like the most is that a part of his image is to be found in every woodland plant, rock and tree and that if a child can merrily kick up the woodland leaves that carpet the ground during the autumn months in a particular way, they might find an image of 'The Green Man' smiling back benevolently at them from the woodland soil beneath.
During my early teens, following a bad traffic accident when I couldn't walk for three years, when I did become mobilised again, I often visited 'Bluebell Wood', off Green Lane, Windybank Estate. I have always found hidden pleasures in pathless woods where visitors are infrequent and wildlife abounds on its edges. While there, I would relax under this splendid oak tree that commanded centre ground in the wood and spend many an hour just listening to woodland sounds of the creatures and birds who occupied it and the soothing cool waters of a nearby stream. I found that the poetry of the earth never dies to those who continue to listen to its mysterious ways and if one can relax sufficiently and allow all troublesome and stressful thoughts to drift away into the clouds, one's body will slowly sink its shape into the earth and become one with the world in which we live. It was during such peaceful times alone that I truly fell in love with the magic of Nature and the fascination of all woodland spots. Ever since those days, I find myself being unable to walk through any woodland area any time of the year without being in awe at the way Nature adapts to the changing seasons in the most natural and beneficial of ways. Though it never hurries, the beauty of Nature is that it always accomplishes.
I never forgot my childhood woodland scene beneath the large oak tree, and after a cancer scare when I was approaching forty, it dawned on me that had I died, I would have left little to be remembered by in the field of 'Relaxation' that I'd practiced since the age of eleven years and for which I was then eminently regarded in the country for promoting in prisons, hospitals, probation hostels, educational establishments and the wider community. So, upon leaving the hospital, I used over £2000 to promote my own relaxation tape that was professionally arranged and recorded in a hired studio for ten days. I wanted it to be more than the usual relaxation tape at the time. I also wanted a tape that could send a listener to sleep. So I paced the words of my voice at the rate one's heart beats when dropping off to sleep and included all the necessary body sensations one would find in good sleeping practice. That tape was never sold, despite me turning down a recording offer of £10,000 in the early 1980's. I have given over 5,000 free copies of the tape to tense people over the years. Should you have difficulty sleeping, please feel free to access it by following the link below, but please bear in mind that this tape was made almost forty years ago when comparing it to the quality of recorded sound today that is capable of being achieved.Two months daily and nightly practice will prove sufficient for it to work for you.
I often think that were we able to positively adapt to the changes in our lives that we encounter on our journey through it, that some of that woodland magic would rub off on us, allowing the spirit of 'The Green Man' to become one with us and our surrounding environment. You know, it is almost impossible to not feel taller when one walks through the trees. As William Shakespeare so aptly put it in his play, 'Troilus and Cressida', 'One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin.'" William Forde: March 9th, 2017.