Taking a leap of faith…

In indigenous cultures nature is full of meaning and symbolism. We can learn from this and follow our own intuition using nature as a guide. Using nature for reflection is a useful tool.

Recently on my allotment we found a very docile grasshopper. We were able to get close up and inspect him / her and the wonderful markings.

As is usual for me, I became intrigued with grasshoppers and crickets (and the differences between them) if you want to know more follow this link. It certainly gave me plenty of inspiration for my field notes.

Whilst researching I also came across a fun page on animal totems and spiritual connections. Apparently if you encounter a cricket you can expect good fortune and you should decide whether to take a leap of faith. It is also representative of finding your true voice.

Having spent some wonderful days delving into books, writing poetry and working on prose for my PhD recently, I will take this as a sign that I am on the right track!

Find of the week… The Mint Moth

I was actually looking for frogs (for the children to inspect), when I stumbled over two of these stunning moths resting on the oregano in the allotment herb border.

About the size of a five pence piece , they are absolutely beautiful. Wings the colour of red velvet cake with lemon yellow splashes. The tips of the wings fading to light feathers.

I love the contrast of colours against the gem green of the plant. Just beautiful ❤️

My daughter and I made moth inspired paintings after seeing them. It really helped me to appreciate the fine markings, I especially love the zebra stripes running across the main body.

Moths and butterflies are definitely the fashionistas of the natural world. Always such amazing patterns and colours.

The River Nidd Gorge…

This weeks adventure from Base Camp was to The River Nidd Gorge. Shallow enough for river swimming and quiet enough to hear nothing but bird song and rushing water.

We like to go in the early evening when the day walkers are returning home. I love the way the evening light filters through the trees. This week it was misty when we arrived adding an ethereal feel to the valley.

For more info about the Nidd Gorge click here.

This mornings adventure…creative writing inspiration.

There’s nothing like a car boot as inspiration to create a story. A rich resource for creativity and writing prompts, although I find myself pondering human life and our detachment from the natural world. If only we realised how transient life is, our attachment to ‘stuff’ is quite strange.

The verges on the way home to base camp were where I found the real treasures.

Find of the week… Song Thrush / Mistle Thrush / Blackbird?

This week we found a nest in the lean to against our shed. On peeking in I thought at it was a Mistle Thrush, but on further investigation I think we may have a blackbirds nest (also a type of thrush).. This got me researching the difference between the – Blackbird, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush and also discovering that they can cross breed.

Here is a poem I created from my findings!

Mistle Thrush

Mistle Splashed

Throstle

Sound Spilling

In undulating notes

And stops.

Storm Cock

Wing Tipped

Lightning bodied

Warbler.

Fiercly guarding

Jewelled Berries

Throaty Rattle

Hedgrow

Warning.

Wednesday’s Trend…

Today was the second to last creative writing course that I will be running for St Nicks in York.

A bitter sweet day this is where my writing journey began six years ago and where I have worked with such an inspiring and lovely group of people.

I’m leaving to give more time to my independent freelance writing and PhD, but I will certainly miss it. This morning our creative writing tasks reflected the experience of writing at St Nicks. One of my lovely participants wrote that coming every week is his ‘Wednesday Trend’ to be in nature. I love those words.

Going forward I am going to continue the Wednesday Trend of connection with nature – taking a break from studying and writing to connect with the natural world.

The class will continue to run and will be hosted by my amazing colleague / friend Griselda who is also an artist and writer, so York friends please do get in touch with St Nicks if you are interested in joining them.

Here are some beautiful pics from St Nicks this morning… take care! Em 🙂

I just found out there is such a thing as Hermit Crab Fiction…!

Who knew!? My friend William messaged me today to let me know he had seen my previous post on hermit crabs and to ask if I knew about Hermit Crab Fiction…. which I didn’t!

Hermit Crab Fiction is a term used to describe using a verbal template to write a story. E.g a recipe / board game rules etc – you can be as creative as you like. It sounds fun for a creative writing exercise, or a short story.

You can find more out about it here.

Creating Silence….

‘Silence is the new luxury. Silence is more exclusive and long lasting than other luxuries.’ Erling Kagge

It’s no coincidence that I’m writing this the day before the children go back to school. It seems that two parallel experiences have been going on during the pandemic, either intense isolation, or intense company. I have been experiencing the latter.

By silence Erling Kagge was not speaking of literal silence. He was speaking of silence in a busy world with so many distractions and so many things vying for our attention. To just be for a moment, with no demands, to lose ourself in a moment, to have time to think.

Lockdown has given us a strange silence. An unexpected pause from our busy lives, a chance to simplify. For some this has been too quiet, For myself it has created a different kind of busy – one where I get snatches of time to do things and one where I have had to really consider my priorities. It has given me time to realise how much I was trying to cram into the short hours of a school (when the schools were open) and how challenging it has been to try to continue to work and study and also ensure my family have what they need. I have realised that silence is a luxury in a busy life and it is also an essential, to create space for thought and creativity, to pause.

Thinking about my research I realise that I was so caught up in the many strands of what I could do, that I almost lost sight of what I actually wanted to do, because of all the possibilities that I had started to unravel. A bit like cooking a fancy meal, only to get it all dished up and realise that the table still needs setting while the food is going cold.

To continue my research I need to start again at the end. I need to set my table and my expectations and then I need to build my ingredients and get cooking. Up until this point I have been looking at all the possibilities and getting overwhelmed by the many opportunities. To keep writing weekly is to stay focused on the end goal.

Last Sunday I wrote that my goal was to finish a book that I had started and to write 500 words. I have completed the words and finished a book; Silence in the Age of Noise. It wasn’t the book I intended to read, never mind finish, but it turns out it was exactly the book that I needed.

Goals for this week:

  • Write another 500 words.
  • Finish another book.
  • Email 1000 words to my tutors.