I’m an Ent not an ent wife.

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For those not as deeply steeped in Tolkien as me that means I prefer wild nature to cultivated (which is perhaps why I like my semi wild allotment and the folks that share it so much.better than the regular kind).

I feel as far as gardening goes God has it down so much better than me, the random plantings of bird and wind perfect in their lack of symmetrical order.

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Our weekly walks seem to have taken root and with them venturing into the wilder parts of the lake areas (in company I take time to walk further) the abundance of wild flowers blooming among nettles and cow parsley delights my eyes.

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Half fallen or decayed trees make fantastic patterns, decorated with hanging ivy, and pools of water reflect the greenery, even the old English rose grows wild in places.

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I am truly blessed!

What I do when I’m not writing.

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If you read carefully you’ll know that my original major was fine art sculpture (top marks anyone that got that one LOL!)

While sculpture tends to be a little hard to accommodate I still like to paint and sketch from time to time. Trees and plants being by far my favourite subjects.

The pictures above and below are the first two of a series I’m working on (very slowly as I tend to write a lot more often) for my apartment.

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The two sketches I did in China and happened to have on computer. I constantly gave my work away due to my travels and most of my friends in China have something from me as a remembrance.

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I still enjoy painting for recreation and am always trying to capture the beauty and primeval force of nature. Though never quite achieving what I want to communicate I find it relaxing and satisfying.

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More chill pills”. (exercise and nature)

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forest walking

This particular chill pill (exercise) is widely used, even as an alternative to anti-depressants. Its physical effects are scientifically measurable. Not being a science wiz I won’t go into that here, rather stick with how I apply it.

It depends somewhat on what I’m trying to deal with. I find yoga stretches (I don’t do the spiritual stuff but the stretches and breathing are great!) help me slow down, alleviate stress and relax (great chill pills!)

If on the other hand I’m angry or upset and about to “blow a gasket” the exercise has to be vigorous. In my case usually a very fast paced walk (never get in my way when I’m doing this lol!) The coursing energy seems to take the anger or whatever out along with it. Gradually it seeps away and as exhaustion kicks in I slow down and (if I planned it right to end up in nature) I become aware of the beauty around me. I’m then calm enough to pray and God never fails to show me how to deal with the problem (the last bit is optional for non-Christians).

The fast walk works much better than bopping someone on the nose lol!  When younger my kids and friends would always cover for me when I’d say through gritted teeth, “I need to go for a walk! Now!” They knew! Thankfully it’s been years since I’ve had to do that, guess we mellow with age. Of course you don’t have to walk, it can be anything vigorous, one of my daughters actually bought a small punch bag and boxing gloves and one of my son in laws (who did karate etc.) told me he used to go down in the basement and brake two by fours with his hands when he was mad at his dad lol!

So on to the other chill pill – nature. Probably most of us have experienced its calming effects (if you haven’t get off that seat and find the nearest lake or forest right now!) Before I became a Christian (having less chill pills at hand) I would go find the nearest tree (or forest if available). There’s just something about trees I can’t explain, but they give off vibes, calm, patient, understanding vibes. Water is also a great relaxant. It has been proved scientifically that ocean waves have a calming effect (something to do with positive and negative eons – wish they’d had science at my school it’s fascinating! No science for girls in my day, sigh!)

You do need to slow down to take in the nature well though. A jog with head phones may help but you really need to actually stop, look, listen, smell and take it all in to get the full benefit. Man was not created to live in cities. Nature is our natural environment and when we return to that our bodies give an inward sigh and start repair work (which is why when we visit the sea or countryside we often get “sleeping sickness”, our bodies are able to relax and make up for lost time.)

I find the combination of nature and exercise works great together especially at those times you think you’re gonna “blow a gasket”. One more chill pill to go. Can you guess what it is?

Sentinels

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Like towering giants they guard the way, protective of the younger trees, possible offspring of many summers. One either side of the path their high branches intertwined they look down on me, this wandering mortal who stumbles across their path.
Now stripped bare of leaves lithe limbs ripple with power, the great upward serge that drove them to such heights. I ponder all they’ve seen in the passing years, the toddlers now grown to manhood, the saplings taken hold and grown to a thicket. They must have been here when it began, this little grove, what secrets they could sigh in the wind.

Foggy Morning

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Another foggy morning, not quite as splendid as the last but this time I took my camera!

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Doesn’t do it justice, but I love the patterns of the trees.

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Solitary swimmers in a sea of mist (again hard to capture).

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Patterns and reflections, the stable and the flowing ribbons.

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Surprised to see him there, if only I’d been fast enough as he spread his wings and flew away at the sound of my shutter.

Cameras are not eyes!

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I spent another blissful sunny day experimenting with my camera. I reached a conclusion, like all marvelous man made inventions they still cannot compare with nature. I’ve a very long way to go in learning all my camera can do but it seems part of that is realizing its limitations.
Being a sculptor I love exploring depth and volume (around trees in particular). I realized just how much my eye and mind interact when I look at things changing focus again and again, the mind enhancing those things that interest, incorporating mood, enlarging prominent aspects.
No matter how adept the photographer a camera is limited to one set of settings at a time.
My frustration turned to wonder at a part of myself I had never perceived before. How wonderfully I am made (I’m glad I’m not a camera!)

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A Strange Physician.

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Leaves rustled in the early morning breeze, the trees seemed to quiver at her approach as if in sympathy. She had to go, come to her special place, the place she felt the comfort of eons.
Sitting beneath the old oak that had sheltered her as a child she let go, face in hands, sobs rending the silent stillness. When she could no longer hold on to her smile, when she felt the pressure build to an unbearable pitch she came here.
John was slowly wasting away and there was nothing they could do to stop it. His giant frame that had once carried her across the threshold was now worn and shriveled like a deceased nut in its skeletal shell, skin stretched over bone in lurid relief, a travesty of her man.

She had to smile for him, had to go on loving till her heart tore in tiny pieces, treasuring each snatched moment, yet unable to bare them.
They’d sent him home to die in peace, to DIE! How could she bare it? They’d walked this path together many a time, as children they had played together in these branches. Now soon all that was loved and familiar would be gone, only the tree would remain with its echoes of the past.
The Mayans say trees give strength, the ancient ones yet embraced by many for their healing properties. She didn’t believe such things. Yet sitting there, sheltered by her old companion, she felt a presence. A feeling of peace enveloped her as if the ancient oak knew something she did not. It had a strange sense of eternity that seeped into her. It knew of the seasons, the death of winter the joy of spring when the sap surged forth again bringing life to sleeping branches.
Somewhere in her heart she knew. This was not the end. There would come a time once more, though far off, when those strong arms would hold her again and love would kindle anew. Revived, re strengthened she took the path home a sad smile playing on her lips.

Life’s Seasons.

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Days pass like leafed messengers floating on the breeze, quiet, silent, unobtrusive, they fall away revealing the bough on which they grew and growing had their day. The substance within was what nourished them. The rising sap of spring made the crowning leaves of summer, and now… now its autumn and the leaves gently fall carried on the wind.

Sap retreats for it feels the touch of frost in the air, but the branch remains, a limb of sturdy oak it yet defies the blast of winter. The tree stands still and silent in the forest. When the winds come it shall move and sigh forth its sounds in the gale. It shall give shelter, though lost forever it seems is that gentle running current within that dressed it so beguilingly in green foliage.

Once there were many leaves, now but few. Life’s autumn season is one of humility, yet this season reveals, hidden strength, grown by the living sap at work within. The dainty leaves couldn’t stand the frost but this bough can weather winters blast having grown supple in summer storms. It knows, deep within, the sap still resides. Unseen, unheard, it awaits the spring when again it shall burst forth in a flurry of leafed glory and rise up to the heavens to dress the leafy boughs in splendor. The sap has not gone, the tree yet lives. Its boughs now collect beauty of a different sort; more splendid than before as, dressed in white, it patterns the heavens.

It is in winter a tree is best seen, when nothing of vanity remains, just strong, lithe limbs reaching upward in defiance of the weights of earth. It is at this time that its power and beauty are revealed, a sight to stir the senses more than its former gaudy plumage. Winter is the true revealer of the tree.

Do not fear these passing days of leaves that seem to fade before you as they skim and dance in the wind. Without those leaves you can stand fearless in the wind. It passes through your empty branches and finds naught on which to take hold as you sway and dance in its presence, till one day, the sun arises and you feel a tingling deep in your roots. You know what it is, for you felt its coming before, the sap rises.