Wednesday 15th May, a day not long most others. My office for the day was in the woods and fields of the Heart of England Forest. I volunteered to assist in clearing overgrown scrub (primarily brambles), paths and tend to saplings. What a fulfilling experience it was too; being out in the fresh air, taking in the beautiful scenery and smelling the wonderful aromas of the woods and woodland flowers. It was great to commune with nature, to contribute, to give something back to the community and future generations.

in the thick of it, clearing brambles

The day started with an introduction to the Heart of England Forest project, a vision to create a continuous band of woodland stretching across the area of the ancient Forest of Arden. The project is the brainchild of publisher and poet Felix Dennis and what an ambitious project and vision it is too. Ambitious as it may seem, the vision is being realised through goals, plans and actions.

Beyond the chance to enjoy contributing, enjoy the beautiful surroundings today was a concrete example of the power of a compelling vision, a big dream which through positive action in manageable chunks is being delivered.

Bluebell wood

As I wrote this, I was reminded of a passage I was introduced to a couple of years ago. The eulogy written by Harry Browne, presidential candidate for the Libretarian Party in the USA, was titled “Setting your sights”

As I look back over my life, I can see so many ways in which I could have done things better than I did, and I certainly wish I’d learned a lot of things sooner than I did. To have made so many mistakes, and yet to have had so much. It proves that you don’t have to be perfect to succeed. When I die (if ever), I’d like the epitaph on my tombstone to read: “I didn’t do everything I wanted to do, I didn’t become everything I wanted to be, But because I aimed for the stars, I reached the top of the world.” I don’t advise being careless or sloppy. I do advise that you hold fast to your beliefs and act in the best way you know how, but then forgive yourself whenever you fail to measure up to your standards. You will never be perfect. But you can be free and happy.

The line “…because I aimed for the stars, I reached the top of the world” seems particularly apt. If you aim for ordinary you will achieve ordinary at best.

I leave you with the thought… Dream big, go after the extraordinary to achieve big things.