helmet head

I’m out in the fields with the dog.  It’s cold and wet, but not actually raining, and I’m hoping to get home before it starts again.  I’m sloshing along, thinking about what T said, that I should take my own photos for the blog, but I’m also thinking it’s enough just to be finding the right words, that anything else would be too much.

So that’s decided, but still the thinking goes on, and I’m not catching much of it, but it seems I’m trying to work out all sorts of other things too, things it’s impossible to know the answer to, or do anything about.  And there’s this pressure in my head like the start of a headache.  And a sense of looking out at the world rather than being alive within it.  It’s as if, when I got ready for my walk, when I put on my coat and gloves and wellies, I also put in my earplugs and pulled on my motorbike helmet.  I’m looking through the visor, seeing grass, water, mud, but nothing’s getting through.  And the thoughts ricochet inside this helmet-head of mine, while everything on the outside bounces off.

Then the sun comes out and changes everything.  It lights up the distant hills and spreads and pours, down the slopes, across the fields, flooding them with green and gold.  It passes me and travels on, and I turn to watch, and in this direction the grass is shimmering like tinsel, and the dog is running towards me, with water flying all around her like diamonds.

The ground is wet as a sponge.  Every step I take sounds different, depending on the exact mix of mud and grass and water.  There are normal splish splosh sounds, but there’s also squelching and oozing, squirting and slurping, there’s the slap as my foot lands, and the suck as I pull my heel from the mud.

A dog barks from a nearby farm.  Rooks and crows and jackdaws rise from a field and spill across the sky.  My thoughts are short and simple – ‘dog barking’ – ‘rooks flying’ – ‘sun on my face’ – and there’s space between each thought.  There’s no headache or tightness, almost no sensation of having a head at all, just the faintest stirring of my hair in the breeze.  It’s as if, on this occasion, when I couldn’t do it for myself, the sun came out and pulled my helmet off for me.



  1. I love the descriptions you used Margot. I could feel and see the things you were describing. It’s so true that a change in the weather can instantly change your mood.

  2. Love this Margot! I want to be on that exact walk right now! The description of the sun coming down the hill to you and you watching it carry on past you is yummy! Xx

  3. Love the ‘helmet head’ concept, one with which I am familiar; getting by ok, managing life and self but apart from the flow. And when the helmet disappears, light and grace and a new imagining. Thank you

  4. I could hear all those squelchy noises and I saw your dog with water flying around her like diamonds, lovely.
    Maybe you did take your own picture? xxx

  5. Thanks, Kath. I nearly took a photo when I couldn’t find one I liked, but no, it’s not mine xxx Edit: Ah, I think you mean of the dog. Not this time 🙂

  6. I love the helmet metaphor. I encourage you to ‘observe’ where your heart is pulled and then photograph it. Thank you

    1. Thanks, Barbara, great to hear that the helmet metaphor worked for you. I might get into taking my own photos, one day … But yes, where my heart is pulled is something I’m learning to trust more than ‘should/ought/have to, or mulling over pros and cons.

  7. Oh dear! Reading such a lovely piece is heartening but so far away from what I can achieve. Must try harder, as they say…

    1. Thank you for reading, again, Maddy. It sounds as if you’re both heartened 🙂 and disheartened 🙁 all at the same time. I find it’s not so much about effort, but more a gentle intention to notice what’s going on inside me and outside … and if I forget to notice, there’s always next time …

  8. Thank you so much Margot! I read your post already a couple of days ago and now I read it again. Reading your text made all my senses alive: I could feel the sun, see the grass, smell the ground, feel the helmet on my head :). And I could rest in the sentence: “there’s space between each thought”. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Anna! Now that we’re in ‘lockdown’, and allowed one outdoor exercise a day, I’m loving my daily walk, especially as we have amazing weather at the moment. Thinking of you and your family at this strange and difficult time.

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