Friday, 30 April 2010


How beautiful are these sunset clouds? In fact, 'beautiful' is far too tame a description... there is something much more powerful about them beyond mere words. And the contrast between the between those at the top and the lower, distant sky.... but if I could zoom in on those, they would have more amazing details in relation to the sky beyond. Neither one would be a more accurate or real portrayal, neither would be the full picture, just a snapshot of a given aspect at one moment in time....

Even looking at the bigger picture isn't the full picture; how could it be? That's something way beyond our capabilities or imagination... but it helps to put things in context in relation to what we see or know. I never cease to marvel at the sights that nature gifts us, and whisper silent 'thank-you's' (actually, often out loud) so many times in a day, it would be impossible to count. 

Just shifting my gaze a couple of inches brings an entirely different vision, connected to the first but calmer & more muted, just as spectacular in it's own way... Just an inch or two of movement where I stand equates to miles on the horizon... how far in deepest space? How far up is that cloud and how deep are the ripples we see in it? I'm sure someone knows, but I am content to wonder and just gaze upon it's face.

Whether we look scientifically or spiritually, whether we search with reason or intuition, we see from where we are standing... from one angle at any given moment... exploring & learning about the mystery that we are a part of. Each little shift in understanding, each tiny step or leap in comprehension might only seem like an inch, but how many miles does it equate to in the recesses of our mind, or the vastness of our consciousness? How far might it reach? How far could it travel along the strands of the web that connects us?

I thought that first cloud looked like it could be upside down... so I cropped it & turned it... makes a landscape out of a skyscape don't you think?

you stroll around the landscape of my mind
and peruse my inner vision
you brush your hand through scented thoughts
and scatter dust from inhibition
you take a sip from my well of love
and gaze at the paths i've travelled
you look through my eyes at the skies ahead
and polish a cluster of stars
you pick up a memory that weighs in my heart
and skim it over life's rivers
you reach for a cloud lit up by my sun
and turn it in your palms
 you smile as you turn it upside down
to sail in an eternal ocean of wonder

 plenty of amazing photographs over at 
thank you to the organisers & the participants

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


I've been watching the fruit trees in the little orchard, seeing the buds swell & anticipating the appearance of greenery. Last year I didn't know what fruit was going to appear on which tree, at least this year I can identify them!

just click on the pics to enlarge & compare them
8th april

Those first glimpses of fresh green shoots brought with them a sense of excitement & optimism.... the different species all seemed to suddenly embark on a growth spurt at the same time, all bursting out of their buds within a day or two of each other!

15th april

Every time I stopped to look, the word that sprang to mind was 'unfurling'... it's an appropriate word for the way these little shoots progress, but I also had the sense that it is a word with a wider message... unfurling... life, people, personalities, theories, plans.... there is always something unfurling for us and around us...

19th april

Spring-time is naturally associated with growth, as nature takes on a different pace... it may come a little earlier or later from year to year, but it always comes. And once it does, it seems to be a race to burst out into full leaf & flower. Just look at how quickly these fruit trees have surged forward. Spring, the name is a call to action that all of nature hears... and it is a call to us too...

21st April

...To spring forward ourselves... to renew... to unfurl... to direct the forces within ourselves... to send forth those shoots.... and keep unfurling.... to blossom.... whatever it is that we need to do, or sort out... or what we want to do, or be, or aim for....

24th April

It seems that all the blossoms know that they must be in flower by Beltaine on the 1st of May, traditionally a time of celebrating the abundance & fertility of the earth. Most cultures have a celebration somewhere in their history to welcome the spring and ask for blessings & abundance in the coming year, usually involving garlands of flowers...

Whatever our beliefs, it is a perfect time to give thanks for the way things are unfurling... to set goals and intentions... to ask for blessings in our lives.... the fruits we put our energies into, the harvests we hope to make... 

Thank you to Jasmine, who is hosting a May Day celebration for The Festival of the Trees, so be sure to visit her at Nature's Whispers and join in the tree filled festivities.... I will try and remember to add some Mayday photographs of the fruit blossom!

Btw... the cherry blossoms are the ones I caught in the rain last year, which you can see here, if you like!

why not show your world?

Friday, 23 April 2010

Ladybird Tree

A day out with daughter, just her & me
And in the car park what did we see?

A tree with ladybirds all over,
or ladybugs if you prefer

red spots, black spots

a lot of spots & just two

crawling all over, or sunning themselves
quite happily 

all different kinds on this little tree

caught unaware,
yes, that's me!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Wilma Mankiller

"I learned a long time ago that I can't control the challenges the creator sends my way, but I can control the way I think about them and deal with them" 
Wilma Mankiller1945-2010, Chief of the Cherokee nation.

Wise words from an inspirational person.... here are some more...

"We call upon the earth, our planet home, for its beautiful depths, and soaring heights, its vitality and abundance of life, and together, we ask that it teach us, and show us the way. We call upon the mountains, the cascades and the olympics, the high green valleys and the meadows filled with wildflowers, the snows that never melt, the summits of intense silence, and we ask that they teach us, and show us the way..." please read more here on Cari's blog 

After reading this I searched for more information about this lady, and this speech from 1993 is well worth reading in full. It contains lessons for us all, I reckon. Her words will live on & this quote springs to mind...

We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.(Native American- Dakota)

and a few more words from Wilma herself...

"....And lastly we call upon all that we hold most sacred, the presence and power of great spirit of love and truth, which flows throughout all the universe, to be with us, and teach us, and show us the way."


Monday, 19 April 2010

Wasted Days?

I had a few days of wasting time lately... not even particularly enjoying what I was doing. There were things I wanted to write, projects requiring work.... but I just didn't have the motivation to engage my brain & do them. I drifted aimlessly through the internet, not really taking it in, thought about what I 'should' & what I wanted to do, couldn't be bothered to read.... I don't really know what I did, apart from the essentials. Normally I can enjoy a couple of days to myself 'doing nothing' and really appreciate the time to think or read or whatever.
It was dark moon; I often withdraw a little then, or feel less creative, but wednesday, thursday, friday were pretty much wasted. That is, if any time is really wasted. The New Moon was in taurus on wed, thur, fri, (!) then into gemini on sat.... so things should have been creative, but taurus can be lazy... hmmm....
And then, as things began to shift, my photos of a gorgeous sliver of waxing moon didn't come out, (operator error!)... apart from this one....

fri, 16th april

...which was an accident... but I like it. It captures how I've been.... sort of out of focus! If you click to enlarge, you will see starlight dancing around aswell! These are the first moon shots with my new camera... I've been absorbing a lot of information about photography & the workings of my camera lately, and gradually putting it into practice.... with varying degrees of success...

sat, 17th april

I've still got to work on it to get better exposure... if there hadn't been clouds last night, I'm sure I would have done better! What I am amazed & excited about is the potential I can see... 
I've also written loads since yesterday... words & ideas are flowing. It's fairly normal for me to build in creativity as the moon waxes, but it is a pace that cannot be sustained indefinitely. Which is why we have those wasted days... sometime we recognise the need to back off & rest, but sometimes other energies force that lack-lustre feeling... insisting on mental or physical inactivity... perhaps to re-charge, or perhaps to allow other things in.... perhaps new seeds of inspiration are sown, or information from the cosmos beams in on other frequencies which necessitates the shut-down of our regular pattern... stuff that needs to be absorbed before being put into practice, or until it gradually filters through into our consciousness....

So, although I felt that I was wasting time... once I thought about it & accepted that was just 'how it is' at the moment... let myself be aware of differing energies... i no longer judged it as wasted time. I don't know exactly what or why, but I do know that it was necessary.... and there wasn't a thing I could do to change it! 

Ash & Elm...Black Buds, Red Flowers

The Elm buds have broken open & flowered over this last week... gorgeous little balls of red flowers, bursting out of oval black buds.


It's funny how your awareness changes as life goes on... There was a line of huge elm trees along the riverside where I lived as a teenager, sadly they were felled due to Dutch Elm disease in the '80's. I used to spend a great deal of time around them, so I can hardly believe I didn't see the buds & flowers develop... but maybe they didn't register in the same way, or maybe more pressing thoughts meant that the memory of them eludes me. I remember my granddad showing me their leaves when I was little, and comparing them to the beech & alder, to show me their differences... I really don't know if he ever pointed out the flowers... 

On the other hand, there are all sorts of things I know about, but have no recollection of how or where I learnt, but they seem sufficiently important that I should remember. Fascinating things aren't they... our brain, memory & power of recall! It's fascinating to me that some innocuous event or conversation sticks in the memory...  others are elusive, but the knowledge gained remains. Or is it more a case of certain things being lodged in the recall tapes of our mind? You know... the same old tales that are continually recounted, events that never fail to be brought up in certain lines of conversation with people who share our lives.

Another thing I remember Granddad explaining was that you don't forget something... everything is there, stored in your brain. It's just the power of recall that is sometimes the problem! 
The black buds and red flowers brought the ash tree to mind, I'd never really thought of these similarities.  


 When people access a past life memory... or perhaps a memory of their ancestors, maybe it's similar to the way we recall certain things from our life-time... certain events are replayed clearly in our mind, others we just know, others just seem to be forgotten. Because its all there, stored somewhere, everything we have ever done, seen, learned.... conscious & unconscious... the problem is our power of re-call...

Some people seem to remember loads of detail & specific events in their lives, others don't... I don't. Is it a problem? Sometimes it could be... sometimes memories are blocked due to some trauma emotional dys-funtion, sometimes those repeated recalls may point to underlying issues, some are due to impairment of brain function etc...but not always, it depends what they are & on the person. 

But, like the buds & flowers of these two trees, we may share similarities with others but we are distinct individuals. This life may share similarities with another, but it is a different life. We may be rooted in different places, but we share the same earth & sky, are nourished & affected by the same elements... perhaps in different ways, but we share....

Saturday, 10 April 2010


Go visit Monochrome Weekend for some wonderful photography. For those coming over from there, thank you for the sights & inspiration. The colour version of these shots are in the previous post. 

If rooks fly straight from their nests the weather will be fine. 
If they twist and turn, rough weather is approaching. 
But if they stay by their nests screaming gales are on the way. 
When they are late leaving their nests and then hang around
 the village street it will rain later. 

They are an omen of the summer weather to come:
 if they are high up it will be fine, but low down and it will be cold and wet. 

If men had wings and bore black feathers,

few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
- Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

Members of the same family, rooks & crows are often hard to distinguish, & are usually interchangeable in lore & superstition... nearly always portrayed as intelligent or magical. 

I've just watched one manipulate a 3 foot piece of branch for its nest; unable to fly more than a few yards (s)he turned it over again & again, changing its grip & balance point several times until satisfied, then was able to fly up to a low building. From there it dragged the branch up to the highest point, then launched into a long swoop, nearly hitting the ground before managing to climb & reach the tall trees of the rookery  a couple of hundred yards away.

It didn't waste time or energy trying time and again, but considered things, making careful adjustments, until it seemed to know it was time to fly... and obviously had a plan of action! Another rook, presumably its mate, stood by, cawing encouragement or perhaps instruction(or maybe swearing with frustration?) and accompanied the final flight. I just wish I could see how they used it in the nest construction!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Camera Woes & A Ghostly Crow

Advice on what to do much appreciated!

I've had a couple of weeks without a camera; my little compact gave up the ghost after a couple of weeks of clunking & spluttering! I'd already decided I wanted to step up to a dslr but this forced the issue. I've been researching avidly for the past few months, and low & behold the one I wanted with an extra lens appeared on ebay... I waited with baited breath, conscious of ebay horror stories. I've never actually bought anything off there before but still choose to make my first purchase a major one...I had been watching cameras for the last 3 months & this seller had a good history.... 

The first thing was when someone messed up the address, just 2 numbers the wrong way round, but it meant an extra 5 days of frustrated anticipation. Last week I became the proud owner of a second hand Nikon D40, hopefully not too complicated but up to the task I require. They say trouble comes in threes....

The second thing was the marks at the top of the images... 

The camera came with a lens already on, so I took it off & cleaned it, looked inside, removed a blob of white material & a hair... similar result, tried the other lens... same thing... trawled the internet to find out about cleaning... tried blowing any dust out... slight improvement but the marks are still there. It seems I have dust on my low-pass filter... hmmm!

Anyway, during all this I got a lucky 'ghostly crow' shot, click to enlarge & you'll see what I mean. Well, actually it's a rook, but I didn't think I'd get away with the rhyme for rook I thought of for the title of my post (as in my camera's f*****d!) Rooks have grey beaks & longer thigh feathers, which can look a bit like they're wearing baggy trousers or cropped leggings. 

Back to my mucky marks on the filter.... it seems that with a bit of care, the right equipment & a steady hand I can clean the filter myself. BUT the camera forums have plenty of beginners tales of woe about scratching it  or causing more damage than their camera is worth... I'm scared to try, maybe if I'd had the camera a while or had let dust in myself... but this was there already & it will cost me for someone else to do it, plus the local camera shop doesn't do digital repairs so I'll have to travel further afield.

I emailed the seller who said he'd just cleaned it & it was in perfect condition when he posted it- it must have been me! Hmmm, explain the hair & the fluff then! Maybe he did clean the filter... maybe the marks are on the sensor itself.... i'm more panicked & annoyed now!

I've been working my way through the features of the camera bit by bit... getting comfortable with it & working out what's what. So far have stuck to using one lens, apart from when I first tested them out.... then yesterday I tried the 70-300mm zoom... oh boy, did I have fun! 

I'm not claiming any technical skill, but I was squealing with delight when I abandoned any automatic settings & worked different little bits out.... I'm going to enjoy this camera even more once I get those marks sorted out, I'm just hoping that there is no third thing that goes wrong!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A Femme Called Rose

I made a special book for a special young lady, to accompany a 'Femme' made by ambermoggie. You can get a sense of what the book is like, but I didn't want to reveal all the details as she is a private person, plus she will likely tell me off if I reveal too much! I used the words that amber wrote, plus an extra little bit to suit her. Rose represents the maiden aspect of the goddess... the passage into womanhood... connection to earth & generations of women...I've written a bit more about the making of it over at suzi's scribbles

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Wise Woman Elder

I had planned to write this in time for the Festival of the Trees but never quite made it! However, plenty of others did, so why not pop over to Vanessa's Trees & Shrubs blog to see some wonderful tree stories, information & photo's. The May festival will be hosted by Jasmine at Nature's Whispers.

I love this old Elder tree & she looked spectacular during the winter's snow...

 9th January, 2010

wise woman elder tosses hair so white
 frosted limbs give off a glow 
that spreads from a heart filled with light

I've sat with this elder for over a year now, and always experience a deep sense of wisdom & peace. Sometimes we just share each others company in comfortable, serene silence, even if I arrive feeling scattered or unsure. I never leave without a glimpse of something... a connection of some sort...

Looking up is like seeing a pathway... a stairway connecting Earth & Heaven... a gateway... Sitting in her arms all is one... the sense of connection to all that has ever been & all that is yet to come floods my being. The phrases 'as above so below' and 'on earth as it is in heaven' come to mind...

16th jan

she casts off her mantle of crone-hood
and readies herself for re-growth
whispers of spring pulse in her blood
calling her sap to flow

 21st feb

I'm always captivated by the first signs of spring growth...

 7th march

and am constantly fascinated by the progress of each little shoot....

 21st march

each tender shoot bears a message of hope
into each she breathes her love
and whispers the words that mothers know
passed down from ancient times

30th march

The first glimpse of tiny budlets is always a joy to see and I marvel at the contrast between the freshness of new growth and the wrinkled, twisted bark on the older branches & trunk...

I love these textures... some of the bark is almost white, and the lichens so bright in contrast... yet more inspiration for a canvas or piece of calligraphy. What does she inspire you to create? Please do share if the muse strikes!

Trees talk... if you're prepared to listen.... to sit in silence.... and hear. Not just the sound of of leaves or branches in the breeze... but a voice from deep within... carried up from Gaia, the Earth or perhaps caught from the air.... depending on what they want to tell or what it is you seek...

This tree has an ancient voice, yet is ageless... she embodies all ages, all times... gnarled old limbs & slender shoots of youth grow together... intertwined in the dance of life... the old giving life to the new which in turn give life to the old in a continual cycle of birth and re-birth....

1st april

wise woman elder i bow to your wisdom
i hear your voice of knowing
i pay tribute to your elder years
and caress your wrinkled skin
that the passage of time has wrought
i thank you for your grace and insight
the oneness that we share
spirit of the elder
i thank you
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