Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Be ground. Be Crumbled.

Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are

~ Rumi ~

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Precious Life

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Life ...

In an instant I realise how precious life is and how quickly, suddenly, it can be extinguished.

It was an innocuous accident. I simply slipped on a slimy mat that had been discarded in front of the door in the garden. One second my feet were firmly on the ground, the next whoosh, they'd lifted me off the ground, sliding away in front of me, out of control. As I felt myself fall, the thought flashed through my mind that I might be able to stop or at the very least recover the situation before I caused any damage to flesh or bone, but it wasn't to be, the mat was too slippery, the momentum too fast.


When I realised I'd stopped sliding I became aware that I was laying flat on my back on the soft, mossy, ground. Initially I felt a mixture of silliness at my predicament and cross that my clean clothes needed to be changed only minutes from having put them on. I was aware my shoulders, back, bottom, fingers all ached and I was surrounded by the recycling that had emptied itself on top of me as I fell. I wondered whether falls such as this one hurt children as much as they do grown women.

My daughter quickly opened the door when she heard the commotion...

"Mammy are you okay, did you hit your head?" her voice that a second ago had been monosyllabic as I hurried her up for school, was now full of concern.

As I tentatively moved and began to lift my shoulders from the ground, muddy elbows supporting me before I hauled myself back upright, I glanced behind. My head had come to rest on the heavy limestone step that we cross dozens of times each day.. Judging by the pain I must have taken the full force of the fall across the back of my shoulders... a few centimetres more and the outcome may have been very different.

Several hours later I think I've been in shock. The reality of how extraordinarily quickly our lives can change has been chipping away in my thoughts all day.

As a result of this jolt I've said loving words to my husband, hugged my children, cuddled the cat and stroked the soft fur around the dogs ears. I've walked the garden, touched the mossy trees and noticed the remaining flowers swaying in the strong, mild autumn breeze. Despite the bruises I've cleaned out the hens, cut the grass, sowed a few vegetables and made some red onion marmalade, breathing in the vinegary, alcoholic aromas that have been wafting around the kitchen for the past few hours.

I stood and watched the sun set way off to the west and I thanked the universe and whoever is minding out for me that I'm still here, intact and am in a position to appreciate everything and everyone that I share my life with. I know this feeling will pass, soon day to day living will take over and memories of my little slip will fade away, but at this moment I'm reminded how utterly precious our lives are.

And the mat... well the mat has been banished forever though a part of me did wonder whether it should be cleaned and resurrected as a thank you for today's gift...

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Universe

If I were a tiny spider this little woodland would be my universe, it's all I would ever know or believe to exist.

I might find myself on a leaf that's picked up by the wind and blown across the woodland floor, but still I would be amongst the familiar, mossy beech trees, the fungi and the lichen that thrive in the clean air on the top of the hill.

I might hatch from my egg beneath the webbed canopy that does nothing to protect the organisms that appear daily beneath it.

As I grow and develop I'll move away - perhaps only a short distance - making my own home amongst the soft green micro forest of the old tree that I was born in. My existence would be about mating and survival and I would weave my web so intricately that at the very least I would be guaranteed a daily meal. This woodland would be my universe.

But I'm not a tiny spider.

I'm a grown woman who shares this world with you but experiences it differently. I forget that you don't see it as I do, live it the same way. If we were sitting side by side on the leafy floor, gazing up at the narly old tree, we might look at the same trunk and branches but would we see the same things? For fleeting moments our thoughts may blend and the tree's energy might weave its magic around us, but our perception of it will differ because our individual experiences are different, just as our memories of the moment will be too. The question is, does it matter?

"There is no fixed physical reality, no single perception of the world, just numerous ways of interpreting world views as dictated by ones nervous system and the specific environment or our planetary existence." ~ Deepak Chopra

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Does anyone else feel pain when they see healthy trees being cut?

This week my daughter asked me if I shared this sentiment and I was surprised - it's a thought I'd never owned up to so was interested to hear the question from such young lips.

We live in an area full of managed forestry. Up until now we've seen the planting, the growing, the wildlife moving in. We've watched foxes playing in the meadows that divide the regimented trees and families of pheasants wandering across the roads. We've seen stoats slinking along with mice dangling out of their mouths and have followed red squirrels skittering along the road so fast its a wonder their little legs can carry them as indecision floods their minds on whether to keep going or dive into the hedgerow. This week I followed a sparrow hawk as it glided in front of my car, flying less that a foot off the ground for two miles or more, turning with every twist and bend in the narrow lane way. I couldn't decide whether to be in awe of this sharp, intelligent bird of prey or dislike it for the fear and panic if fills the wrens and tits with in my garden as it swoops through.

For years we've felt our lanes tremble as the massive lorries and their trailers laden with freshly cut trunks power along the roads on their way to saw mills. I haven't given them a second thought save concern they might put my little car in the ditch, their size and power dwarfing everything in their way. Recently however, the logging has begun in forestry that lines the roads we travel along daily.

For years the lanes have been shaded by evergreen pine trees and for months on end the frost and ice seems to be permanently stuck to the tarmac, the road surface never seeing the light of day.

This winter it will be very different. This winter the landscape has changed. Where once there was shadowy darkness, now we see the aftermath of man and machinery. The changes the logging has brought to our environment are quite shocking.

I hear myself explaining to my children that this is managed woodland, the reason these trees were planted was so that they could be cut and used in industry. This is a good thing. My children express concern that the wildlife - the birds, mice, insects have now become homeless, their worlds turned upside down as a result of this felling, and I have had to do my best to calm them, reassure them that nothing will be hurt, everything will find a new home, everything that lived amongst the trees will find somewhere new to live, however disorientating it is for them now.

And yet........ I feel their concern too. I look at the temporary roads that have been carved out, the wood piles as they get higher and higher, the sunlight as it blankets soil for the first time in years and years and I imagine the turmoil this type of farming has caused for everything that resides there.

The streaming sunlight should be a good thing shouldn't it? The light and the warmth and the openness? Yet I'm looking at the sunlit twigs and branches as they lay discarded and cloaked with golden hues and I can't help but think what an enormously massive change has just taken place.

The trees can do nothing but wait patiently for their time to come. They can't move to a new home, or run away. With quiet dignity, for they have no choice, these tall, scented, prickly trees await their inevitable fate.

We are witnessing the end of life as it was for years and years in our neighbourhood and are awaiting something new....

That's a good thing ....... right?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


"Get outside" she said

And so I did.

I walked and walked the mossy lanes, the only tunes from the wind, my breath and the sound of my own thoughts until...

the words stopped whirling and churning around my head, they settled and slunk away.

I saw the tiny flowers, the mossy banks, the textures and the colour. Colour surrounded me.

Many shades of blue and green, red and purple, sometimes stopping me in my tracks to observe and capture.

Nature wove her magic that autumn morning when I was alone with my thoughts. 

She replaced those dark, negative thoughts with sparkle and light.

Never underestimate the healing power of nature... 

"There are days when soliturde is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall" Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

Monday, September 17, 2012

Knocks and Bumps

Deep water or sunny reflection.... ?

Have you ever wished you could be clothed in bubble wrap and protected from life's knocks and bumps?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who sometimes longs to be shielded from hurt, distrust and unkindness that occasionally surfaces as it's want to do. It doesn't seem to matter whether we're seven or seventy, things can still get under our skin.

I quite like the idea of being cocooned in bubble wrap, comfortably nestled amongst the air filled pockets so that everything thrown will just bounce off, leaving us in one piece, whole and unbroken. Sadly it's not an option. Inevitably those irresistibly squishy bubbles are popped and flattened leaving the contents vulnerable and exposed.... then it takes sheer strength and perhaps a dose of luck to ensure the valuable essence that was carefully wrapped and safeguarded remains unscathed.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Sea

Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls ~ Khalil Gibran

The sea, the sea, how miss living by the sea. Listening to the surf as it rolls and crashes, hearing it whistle and fizz as the water rushes through the gaps in the rounded stones, an explosion of froth and spray when it breaks upon mussel covered rocks.

Oh how I yearn to spend more time here! Walking across the damp sand, toes sinking between the bubble wrapped seaweed that's scattered carelessly around, placing my feet into silhouetted imprints until the rippling water covers them as if they were never there...

I can taste salt on the tip of my tongue, my hair thickens as the warm wind whips it around, curling it to my face as I sit on my blanket, arms wrapped around my knees, gazing out to the horizon, thinking, smiling, remembering...

A lone seagull catches my eye as it gently glides, gracefully catching the warm thermal airflow's above, living for the moment, seemingly not a worry in the world.

Oh the sea, how my soul leaps when it it sees you. Next time I won't leave it as long before I visit you again.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Left wanting...

You know when you're perfectly happy driving around in your old car and then you get to drive something newer with electric this and adjustable that? This weekend I experienced similar and it's left me wanting. I was perfectly happy with my fancy phone camera until this week. At 8.5 megapixels it's sharp and clear, it's with me wherever I go and even before the upgrade, it's always seemed sufficient for my blogging needs.

However that was before. This weekend I was spoilt when I borrowed a DSLR, had a five minute tour of it and attended a one day wildlife photography workshop with Andrew Kelly. All of a sudden my phone camera doesn't seem quite good enough.

As a complete beginner to digital photography I have a tremendous amount to learn, and I want to learn. I soaked up every bit of information shared with us, took the opportunity to ask lots of (probably very dumb) questions and headed out in the garden as soon as I arrived home determined to capture every butterfly, bee or insect I could find. I wanted to put my new found knowledge into practice.

But just like the bees on this sedum, my new hobby is fleeting, I'll only have the camera for a few more days and I'm not in a position to pop down the shops and buy one of my own. Perhaps next year, but certainly not this.

So for now I'll have to commit everything I've learnt to memory and hope it comes back to me next time I have the opportunity to use a lovely camera that I can manually operate.

I've found it interesting to see just how quickly my views on photography changed. From appreciating the clarity and colour to enjoying the challenge of learning the more technical aspects of the equipment. Then there's the thrill when you view a shot on the screen you're happy with and the anticipation of seeing it later on the computer screen (how on earth did photographers wait six weeks for their films to arrive back years ago??).

Lastly there's the sheer wonderment of getting so closeup and personal with the wildlife you're observing. I can now fully understand why people are so interested in this subject, there's more to it than meets the eye....

Do you have a hobby that you fell in love with as soon as you started it?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Being Wrong

How easy do you find it to admit that a perception you've had was wrong?

Have you ever been so convinced, so certain about something, only to have a change of heart that makes you doubt your conviction?

We grow up hearing the phrase 'trust your instincts' and as we grow older we turn to them more often. However, what if we wholeheartedly believe and trust in them only to realise we (or they) had got it wrong? What then?

Admitting we've got something wrong can be very difficult and for some impossible - they might never manage it. If foot shuffling children can find it hard to admit to, what hope is there for anyone else, particularly if they've been brought up in an environment that doesn't change its mind?

It's not so much the getting it wrong part that leaves you feeling uncomfortable (though that's bad enough). The egg on the face, bottom squirming discomfort as you stutter out the words, the gleeful expression (real or imagined) from the other parties when you tell them you've changed your mind. That's easy in comparison to what's going on inside.

You've listened to your instinct, that sixth sense that has kept you safe and secure for all these years... and it was wrong. You had a gut clenching feeling that you were adamantly sure you were right about, only to find it wasn't real after all. You. Were. Wrong.

That's the world rocking bit. That's what completely knocks you off kilter. Will you ever trust your instincts again.

How on earth do you ever get over that?\

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Do you like travelling, heading off on a journey?

Sometimes I dread them, sometimes I can't wait to get started on them. Journeys can be a time of tremendous stress. If you're running late, aren't sure where you're going, or suffer a breakdown of some description journeys can at the very least raise the blood pressure to unhealthy levels! When you're trying to keep children entertained, are in the company of grumpy relatives or are just overtired from a particularly long, hot trip they can be a blood boiling experience.

On the other hand they can be a rewarding, eye opening adventure. Journeys can be the perfect excuse for handing yourself over to someone else and literally hopping on for the ride.

They can be an opportunity for reflection, day dreaming, anticipation and relaxation. You can spend hours briefly caught up watching snapshots of other peoples lives, observing mankind in all shapes and forms. You can watch unfamiliar landscapes whizz by, experience a myriad of weather systems, listen to a colourful array of accents and breath in new and unfamiliar scents.

So what kind of traveller are you? Are you a willing one?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


How fragile our confidence can be.

One moment we're laughing, happy, carefree and safe in the knowledge of our own existence. We plod through life, tackling the usual tasks or even unusual ones that are thrown at us, then poof, something out of the ordinary happens, our world is rocked and we flounder.

We question our ability, who we are, the very cornerstone of our existence. We shy away from new things no longer trusting our instincts. We want to cocoon ourselves and hide away, our confidence crushed.

But we can't.

On the outside it appears as if nothing has changed, we're still the sunny, accomplished people we always were, but inside we're shaken and numb.

Confidence is about how we see ourselves at any one particular moment in time. How others perceive us can be quite different.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


"Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. 

 Everything is simply happy. 

Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.

Look at the flowers - for no reason. 

It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are."

~ Osho ~

Monday, August 13, 2012


How is it that when you go away for a weekend, you come home feeling like you've been away for a week?

Then you go away for a week it feels like the best break in the world, and as for a fortnight... wow, what a difference, getting back into the routine is nigh on impossible!

And then on a rare opportunity you take three weeks or a month off and what happens? For the whole of the last week all you think about is returning home. Why can't that last week be like your very first week away?

Guess its all down to your perspective.....

Sunday, August 12, 2012


What is beauty?

Is it the slim, glossy haired woman who catches your eye at the station as you dash for a train? Perhaps it's the perfectly sculptured diver who stands calmly on the Olympic board, every defined muscle testament to the hard work he's undertaken to place him there?

Is beauty the blousey pink peony catching the beam of light in the perectly sculptured garden, or is it the self seeded foxglove that sways delicately in the shadowy forest?

Maybe beauty is in the sparkle of an eye, the upward curve of the lips on a lived in face that lights up when eyes lock and momentarily allow you to glimpse the soul behind it?

Beauty can be many things, but always it's about perception. Will you look at beauty differently today?


When our soul has been hurt we have a perspective. We view the people that have hurt us in a certain way. We may hate them, obsess about them, feel wounded or betrayed by them. We may wallow in self pity, our negative thoughts overwhelming us with their bitterness, or we may pretend that everything's fine in an attempt to protect ourselves. It may take months, years even to forget and perhaps to forgive those who have bruised our inner selves/ Depending upon the severity of the hurt, forgiveness may never even come/

But distance can heal. It can give us a fresh insight to view our world. Space may be all that's needed to free us of our heady trap, to help us see clearly, to unlock our minds.

If you've been hurt, whether in a small, seemingly inconsequential manner or in a majorly, heart clenching painful way, perhaps putting some physical distance between you and your distress may ust give you a new perspective.

You never know, it may be all you need to start the healing process.