Tag: William Wordsworth

Grasmere, Ed’s Route and Dove Cottage

Grasmere, Ed’s Route and Dove Cottage

img_6817The intention was to follow Ed’s Route. Ed is a friend that outlined a beautiful route through the mountains near Grasmere. He warned that it was curvy, single-lane and steep but well-worth the drive.

My friend Maria and I had visited Long Meg stone circle that morning and asked the SAT NAV system in the car to choose a route to Grasmere so we could then follow Ed’s Route he outlined on the atlas.

It had snowed earlier and the route the NAV system took us on was over mountains. The higher we climbed the more snow we found but luckily the roadway had been salted and was clear. But as I drove I knew Ed’s Route–the single-lane route up steep, winding roads–was not a good idea. The probability they had been salted was low. So I pulled over and reprogrammed the SAT NAV system to go to Millam, a town near another stone circle we wanted to visit.

I should have heeded the sign: Do not follow SAT NAV but she kept telling us to turn left after we had passed through the town center of Grasmere. Who wants to argue with an electronic voice? Up, up, up and narrow for even a small car…and oh, yes…let’s not forget the curves and moss-covered rock walls. The darling system decided to take us on Ed’s Route after all. Even when we knew it, there was no place to turn around for a very long time.

About the time I expected to find ice and snow on the pavement, a driveway appeared and I carefully turned around and headed down. Oddly enough Audi drivers don’t seem to notice how steep and curvy and narrow the roads are in the U.K. But that’s another story.

_tsl9624After making it to the regular narrow road, I needed to park the car and walk. I pulled into a parking lot at a cafe and realized we had stumbled into William Wordsworth’s home. But oddly, it felt as if I had come home from a very long journey, not just the one up Red Bank’s road.

_tsl9649I just wanted to go sit upstairs, look out of the beautiful glass window at the snow-capped mountains and write. Somewhere in my memories I remember a most pleasant experience of finding peace while gazing out of a window just like the one at Dove Cottage.

_tsl9633We visited the gift shop and I spoke with the guy there and as he told me of Wordsworth’s time there, my heart opened and tears came. What the heck? I was dabbing tears from my eyes in a gift shop just hearing about his writing at Dove Cottage. It was more than sharing the same birthday as William but I’m not really sure what.

img_6806We ate lunch at the little cafe nearby and had a most beautiful view of the mountains. I was not inclined to leave Grasmere.

img_6825A stroll through town and I discovered a cemetery filled with yew trees and ancient markers. I stepped into the peaceful garden while Maria chatted with someone and when I popped back out, she was gone. I wandered around after texting her to let her know where I was. The energy of the place was peaceful and deeply nurturing. It teemed with birds and as I left a jackdaw lit within a few feet of me and allowed me to use my cell phone to capture a photo. They are said to be Merlin’s magical companions. There was magic in Grasmere, no doubt.

img_6843Wordsworth was my favorite Romantic poet throughout high school and college. His love of nature was what captured my heart. He and Samuel Taylor Coleridge hiked the mountains of the Lake District and along with Beatrix Potter birthed literature that remains some of the best ever written.

img_6835At some point in this life I wish to return to live near Grasmere for a time. Six months, a year and perhaps I could find inspiration that would allow future-classic writing, painting and photography to find a channel of expression through me.

_tsl9623Years ago when I visited the moors of Devon in the national park there, my bones vibrated with the land. I had never felt that kind of physical connection to a place before. In the Lake District it went beyond a physical connection to the spiritual realm of heart and mind. It was home to me, where my spiritual roots are deeply anchored.

img_6828Here’s the first and last stanza from Wordsworth’s Daffodils…one of his most well-loved poems:

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er values and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.


For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

My friend and spiritual sister Maria and I in Grasmere.
Lassoing the Light

Lassoing the Light

ScanI have a clear memory of waking up from a nap when I was a small child. My grandmother Lipscomb was outside planting or watering flowers. I leaned against the windowsill and told her I needed glasses because I couldn’t see. She was holding a coffee can and asked me what color it was. My reply was, blue. She was surprised and replied she didn’t know I knew my colors. I was frustrated though because it wasn’t colors to which I was referring. I was losing my sight and now I know that I was losing my spiritual sight. I was forgetting that beautiful glory from which I came.

simonelipscomb (5)“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;

The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home:

Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Shades of the prison-house begin to close

Upon the growing Boy,

But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,

He sees it in his joy;

The Youth, who daily farther from the east

Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,

And by the vision splendid

Is on his way attended;

At length the Man perceives it die away,

And fade into the light of common day.

-William Wordsworth

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My daughter Emily

What did you dream of as a child? What was your passion? Authentic play and imagination expressed your deepest longing and biggest strengths; what was your play?

In the hours spent riding Champ, my spring horse, I sang my way back into the dreamtime. What was I remembering, trying to bring into the physical, from that place before birth where all things are possible?

Hoh Rainforest
Hoh Rainforest

You know the place. You know the dream…the ideas…the path. It’s that creative impulse that stirs our emotions when we are small children. We cry when a favorite song isn’t known by an adult. We’re surprised beyond belief when our mother doesn’t appreciate the red-ink birds we draw on her favorite painting. We become frustrated when adults in our lives don’t see the genius of our soul’s purpose to which we are still intimately connected. We are masters of our craft but in tiny physical bodies, unable as yet to fine-tune our bodies to the demands of our art.

Scan 1
Practicing piano, age 9

As we ‘grow-up’ we perhaps forget about the dream that was birthed with us into this physical reality. Society conditions us to fit into a mold, become one of the tribe. We can be left feeling as if we never fit in with the rest of the world. The only way we feel genuine is to touch the dream we were born with and allow it to come forth into expression.

Some of us hold on to that clarity of dream, of purpose, from the beginning while others appear to lose it and struggle all our lives to reclaim it. It can be very difficult to sort through the many voices telling us what to do and what they think will be best for us. Not only can we lose our spiritual sight, we can lose our ability to hear our soul’s voice.

simonelipscomb (19)I posed this question to my mom: What did I dream or fantasize about as a child? I wondered if her version and my version would be the same. She said horses were my fascination and that I was fiercely independent and strong willed. She said I would get up every morning and climb on my spring horse Champ and play music on my record player. She said I set it up so I could listen to music and start the needle over again from the back of Champ. I climbed trees and wasn’t a ‘doll’ kid. She mentioned that I enjoyed piano with my first teacher more than with my second teacher. And that I had every Barbie character Mattel made with suitcases full of clothes.

Love of horses, independence, music, trees and yes, I created endless stories with my Barbies. Mom forgot to mention my flair for drawing birds on paintings…mom later corrected me after reading the first version of this story and said I drew ropes on the boats because there weren’t any and I told her there needed to be ropes to tie the boats. I think I was about to add the birds when she caught me. I took piano lessons for ten years but grew weary of the classical music and rigid sight-reading drills. My teacher drilled classical music into my soul while I wanted variety and color and spark. I needed it to be fun! Cowgirls need that element of life.

Repeatedly I got the message to do something with which I could make money. This came from school teachers and others. My grandfather, who grew up in the Depression, wanted me to focus on finances. As I teen when I talked about what I wanted to do with my life the ideas of photography, writing, music and other creative pursuits that really made my heart soar were discouraged. He wanted me to succeed and have the resources to survive. Mom encouraged teaching and she was right…I love to teach and find it one of my greatest joys although not in the traditional sense.

I purchased my first SLR camera with money my grandparents gave me for high school graduation. After many years of college studies, degrees and careers…state park naturalist, psychotherapist, massage therapist and energy work practitioner and instructor… it was my grandfather that supported my artist endeavors, posthumously. Selling a large piece of property I inherited from him provided the resources (and thus the time) for me to immerse myself fully into my creative pursuits that are centered around my passion for nature. Writing and photography are the tools I use to express my love of the Earth.

If I could journey back into time to that three year old child and ask her, What do you want to be when you grow up?  If I told her she could be anything she could dream I imagine she would say, I want to be a cowgirl!

simonelipscomb (17)

A cowgirl is a woman who exhibits the skills necessary to succeed. Skills such as resilience, self-reliance, strength, will, courage and determination are necessary to be a cowgirl. The journey from birth to my fifties has called for these qualities and thankfully I was born with them and have honed them through walking the Path. I write stories, although not about Barbie and Ken. I photograph the natural world, in celebration of beauty and light. I give myself permission to paint murals on walls, not red-ink birds but fun stuff just the same.

simonelipscomb (13)Mostly I dream of bringing forth the beauty of that place many of us have forgotten. The language of the heart speaks through poetry, music, prose, paintings, drawings, sculpture… It takes a cowgirl to lasso the light and bring it forth into our physical world and I’m in very good company, my friends. Many of you bring light into this world and share it through the talents you brought into your life. How wonderful to share the journey with other souls who are bringing the language of the soul into manifestation.


Cape Flattery, Washington
Cape Flattery, Washington