Walking in the World

Nature

Spring Buzz

We’ve been enjoying some lovely weather this week, and I thought you might like a little glimpse of southern England’s springtime glory. Our insects are beginning to buzz about amongst the early blossoms; this rather awesome bumblebee was enjoying the flowering cherry plum trees out at Maylandsea on the Essex coast today where Jeff was leading a geology field trip.

19 Mar 2017

January Chill

We have been waking up to icy weather conditions this week, and we can’t help but marvel at the icy artistry of Mother Nature. Jeff snapped this photo of the icy stream coming out of the cliffs at Barrow Brook on the Isle of Sheppey yesterday while I stayed home warming myself by the fire.

I am clearly not the only one choosing to keep my feet warm. This medieval depiction of January is found in the Castello dei Conti de Ceccano which we visited when we were in Italy last month. I feel such an affinity for the guy!

23 Jan 2017

Jeff’s Morning

canveysky

As if to prove the point that where we live is a world away from London, Jeff snapped this picture on his early morning wanderings along the Canvey Island seawall where he keeps a close eye on bird migrations this time of year. It’s the same River Thames that runs through London, but much wider here at the estuary.

07 Oct 2016

Gardening with Friends

Jeff kindly takes care of our gardening for us –  I think  he sees it as a chance to commute with his critterly comrades! This Oak Bush cricket was keeping him company this afternoon as he was clipping back a bit of the lilac tree.

15 Aug 2016

Invocation

MP

Bad things are happening in our world, and quite frankly it is writing my Morning Pages that is keeping me upright and semi-functional as I struggle to come to grips with it all. Today, I tried to explore the realms of fear and faith as they exist within me. I consider myself a kind, faith-based person, but I admit that my gentleness can too easily be displaced by an unpleasant stridency that rises out of some of my uglier fear-full qualities, like stubbornness and a competitive spirit. At this point, I feel like a mess of chicken-and-egg questions as I try to figure out what leads to what. Looking for relief, I asked myself about where I find God, about where faith still feels natural and easy. My answer? Nature.

Glorious

I’m not a gardener, botanist, or biologist, but I take great comfort from people like David Attenborough and my own sweetie, Jeff, who tell stories of the cooperative and competitive duality of the natural world. Yes, mankind has messed with nature too much, but I don’t want to go there today, not when I need to nurture any seeds of hope I can gather.

Pear

For today, I will spend time with green things and buzzy critters in the quiet wildness of our garden, and I will marvel at their survival and gifting presence in the world. I will appreciate their willingness to take root, to flower and bring forth new life, again and again.

Mint

I will gratefully bring cuttings of fresh herbs into my kitchen to nurture both my soul and my body. For today, I’ll start where I am, with honesty and good intent. And tomorrow, too, I will continue to take one little step at a time towards whatever healing I can bring to the world.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me…

08 Jul 2016

Garden Nuts

Cobnuts

We’ve been watching these little fellas grow outside our kitchen window. It won’t be long before the squirrels find them and make off with their treasure, but for now we’re enjoying their weirdness, and the novelty of seeing them so close to the house.

What are they? They’re cobnuts, a cultivated variety of hazelnuts that grow in the British countryside, particularly in Kent, which is across the river from us.

Cobnuts2

Cobnuts can be harvested in late summer and are available in local farm shops from late August until mid-October, and we tend to buy them as a treat whenever we see them. They are eaten fresh, rather than dried, and have a nutty-fruity flavor and a softly crunchy texture. Because of their requirement for male/female pollination, they’re not easy to produce on demand, but if the conditions are right, they might just have a happy season all on their own, like this little tree in our garden is having this year.

Our grey squirrels are going to be very happy critters when they find them…

06 Jul 2016

Come, Spring

  We really needed the sunshiny beauty that was yesterday. I loved every minute of my walk through our neighbourhood. Spring was busting out, and all of nature seemed to be reaching for the heavens.

26 Mar 2016

Greeting 2016

RayleighMill

New Year’s Day, 2016: We bundled up early to head into the cold morning to greet the year with a spirit of adventure. We started with the familiar by stopping at Rayleigh Mill, which I have shown you many times through the seasons, and then drove further down the road to Hullbridge to feed the swans and wander along the River Crouch. Poor Lucy did not enjoy the swan feeding experience:

LucySwan1

SwanFeed

LucySwan2

to be continued…

01 Jan 2016

Winter Warming

We are not having a normal winter. Along with this:

image

we are also seeing this:

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I’m a bit concerned weather-wise, but so far as comfort goes, I’m not complaining. I hate being cold, so I’m enjoying going outside without my coat.

19 Dec 2015

Giant’s Causeway

JeffCauseway

After leaving Belfast on Saturday morning, we drove north through the frigid countryside towards the Giant’s Causeway, a natural wonder that – despite its whimsical name –  feeds the spirit as deeply as any cathedral. Each year when we go Iona, we take the boat trip out to Staffa to see Fingal’s Cave and visit the puffin colony, we marvel at the amazing geology that rises out of the sea. Tall, primarily hexagonal, prismatic columns fit together to form cliffs and formations at the water’s edge. Staffa in Scotland and the Causeway in Northern Ireland are two ends of the same geological formation, both beloved, both awe-inspiring.

CausewayCliffs

The Giant’s Causeway is well managed by the National Trust; although it is located in a rather remote corner of the country, large parking lots and a modern visitor’s centre have been built to control crowds and protect the fragile ecology of the area. There is, therefore, a long walk from the main entrance down to the shoreline, but for me that enhanced the transition from modernity to timelessness.

Causeway2

Even on a bleak November day, with sleet showers passing overhead, there were a good few people. I would love to see the area and hike the cliffs on a sunny summer day, but I suspect I’d find the crowds quite off-putting. I loved the sense of really surrendering to Mother Nature in order to explore her sacred sites. Although there is a shuttle bus provided for those who need or choose to use it, we opted to hike both directions, and I felt grateful for my walking strength.

Causeway

I also felt grateful for a cup of hot coffee at the end of the trail!

27 Nov 2015

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