Walk in Autumn Rain

It had rained steadily all morning – so we went for a walk. It was still raining when we got to Millbuies Country Park.

To be among old trees again, of all shapes and sizes! Taking in the odour of leaf mould, the vistas of bark columns and all the colours heralding the change of season! Sweet Chestnut (introduced from the Balkans in the 16th. C) contrasts with the still green Sycamore (another non-native).

Beeches hummed.They dappled the darker woods, shining golden or copper.

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Huddled under umbrellas, we missed the dripping canopy.

The good earth yielded underfoot, oozed at the bends and was carpeted with leaf litter. We listened to the patter of rain on leaf, land and us.

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Rain-dappled twigs hung from shivery boughs. Ducks kept their distance.

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Clear dark water harboured brown trout, all the way to the dam wall in this man-made fishing loch.

Leaves in a back-water eddied like golden scales from a magic fish.

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A robin piped and flickered through the bare branches. I’d missed the red squirrel.

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Golden, fairie birches flickered under the rain as we trudged down and up and around the water.

Gothic larches studded the hillside,while bracken, like feathers from a phoenix, fringed the track.

With lungs full of fresh, soft air, our body warm and feet dry, we headed home refreshed.

I look forward to walks like this.

Forests in the future?

Last Autumn in Scotland, I saw many more Oak trees have been planted in public places. You notice them easily for they hang on to their golden-yellowed leaves the longest. Many were cut down for ship-building in the 17th and 18th century. Ubiquitous mono-cultural fir plantations were established by the Forestry Commission in Scotland after WWI. The British war effort had almost run out of timber! I remember these dense monocultural woods, where nothing grows below and no birds sing among, which are now being cleared and replanted. This time, with trees native to the original Caledonian forest that once covered much of Scotland. For more info see Trees for Life founder Alan Watson- Featherstone’s talk on Youtube

This post is linked to Ann-Christine’s Photo Challenge #83 Future

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All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! blog by Meg Philp. Copyright © under Australian Law.

 

H2O Collage: Weekly Photo Challenge

Water covers three-quarters of Planet Earth and makes up two-thirds of each healthy, human body.

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Lily pond in Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens.

Our city council says water features and fountains boost the city’s attractiveness and develop its ‘green and vibrant character.’

Where would we be without this element in our ‘collage?’

We are all the waves of one sea.

We are all the leaves of one tree.

The time has come for all to live as one.

We are all the flowers of one garden

And the waves of one sea

And the leaves of one tree. © Naomi Baltuck

H2O
Collage

All text (except quote)  and photos by Meg.

BALTUCK, Naomi. 1993, Crazy Gibberish and Other Story Hour Stretches (From a Storyteller’s Bag of Tricks) Hamden, Conn. Linnet Books. p.103

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This blog, of text and images, is Copyright © under Australian Law.

Calm Crossings

There are some timeless places, where we can escape the often harsh reality of the world. Fine weather can help. We caught the ferry across Loch Linnhe from Corran to Ardgour one autumn Saturday.

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I could give all to Time except – except
What I myself have held. But why declare
The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There,
And what I would not part with I have kept. (Robert Frost)

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Worth revisiting – Frost’s poem I could give all to time.

  • The moving novel Wallace Stegner wrote, aged 78, his last – Crossing to Safety, reviewed on the ABC’s ‘Tuesday Bookclub.’ (Click the green link for the 11 min segment)
  • A.B. Facey’s unforgettable autobiography, ‘A Fortunate Life‘ is a much-loved, Australian classic about hardship and loss, friendship and love. Published in 1981, when he was 87, it shows his extraordinary attitude, despite terrible times, not so very long ago.

Sea and sky help remind me that I lead a fortunate life, in a world where so many, millions?, cannot cross to safety.

It’s good to have time to relax and read and think about life … but of course, it’s actually what I do that makes a difference … so I better get on with it.

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Relax
All text (except quotes) and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Inside a Circle: Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s challenge about circles had me determined to look from a different angle. I ended up on the floor, looking at a light fitting!

There’s an invisible, inspirational net inside a circle.

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Look closer.

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more circles inside a circle. This reminded me of a story –

An ancient Hindu myth tells of the all-powerful god Indra, the greatest creative force in their mythical world, how he lived in a magnificent place in the heavens. Stretched above him and reaching out into infinity, was hung an exquisite net, skilfully crafted. At each node, a multi-faceted jewel sparkled. Since the net was infinite, the jewels were too. And each jewel reflected all the others. Thus the smallest movement flashed throughout the net, glittering like stars across the heavens,  and on into infinity.

The first time I heard of Indra’s Net was at a workshop on “Science and Stories” at a National Storytelling conference in USA in the 90’s. It’s been at the back of my mind for a long time. My search for stories about sustainability have brought it forward again.

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As an storyteller, the story I choose to tell needs to have caused a similar net of connections in my thinking, to be meaningful to me, before I make a commitment to it.  As I tell it, later, orally, the listener can be making their own private connections. One image of a character, one action, can set off a chain of reactions in their imagination.

Now I see why it takes me so long to find a great story to tell. It happens when it makes lots of flashes of connection in my imagination!

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The story of Indra’s net reinforces the interconnectedness of all things, in nature, in this world and beyond, even in circles and especially in stories.

All text and photos by Meg.

Reference sources:

The Indra’s Net :What is it? Downloaded 01012016 by M.Philp

RAMSDEN, Ashley. Jewels on Indra’s Net in GERSIE, Alida et al. (ed.) Storytelling for a Greener World: environment, community and story-based learning. Stoud, Glos. Hawthorn Press, 2014.

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Circle

 

 

 

 

 

Now then: Weekly Photo Challenge

The full moon began early yesterday, Christmas Day. I got up and took this shot about 02:30, from my open kitchen window.

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Photos are reminders. They capture what happened then. They give me a chance to reflect. I didn’t see a capital ” A” till afterwards when I downloaded it. What can it mean?

Words on a page, when I read silently, have an echo in my head, sometimes louder than others and rely on me being able to translate them, make meaning  … no,  I won’t go on with this … the reading process is much more complicated.

Words spoken, in old, meaningful stories told to others, are carried on the breath. Stories offer a life force with them, revealing individuals’ personality, emotions, choices and offering imaginative possibilities. In the light of the imagination, a shared tale can connect humans in the present moment … and then it passes into history. Now is just where we can begin – it’s an eternal starting point.

Some wise words about telling stories from an old friend, Joan Bodger-
Since the last time I told that story,
since the last time you heard it,
the earth’s gone around the sun,
the rain’s fallen in the creek
and the creek’s run into the river.
Even if you’ve heard the story before,
even if I tell it word for word,
just like the first time,
you’ve changed and I’ve changed and the story will change.
You never step in the same river twice.

So, our life goes on changing, as the earth spins and the ‘Star Wars’ saga cruises thru cinemas, packed with fans. As this New Year comes around, may the force of meaningful stories and peace be with you.

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98.9% Full Moon from down here on 26 Dec 2015.

All text, except those in italics,  and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

BODGER, Joan. How the heather looks; a joyous journey to the British sources of children’s books. Toronto, McClelland& Stewart. (1999: 233)

Oops! I fell : Weekly Photo Challenge

MSCF2578I was walking along, minding my own business a couple of weeks ago when, at my feet a flurry of colour made me side-step. “Oops! What is that?”

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A fledging was staggering about beside me … probably got a bit too cocky looking down from a hollow, high up in that tall eucalypt nearby. My … there was a lot of squawking going up there.

Instant dilemma. (Thinks: I shouldn’t pick it up. How will it get back up to safety? It can’t fly! Is it hurt? What can I do?) While I worried, the creature took action.

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 It finally got started after two floppy, failed attempts and began to climb. I could hear my grandmother saying … If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I shakily took photos.

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“Breathe and hold, ” I muttered to myself and the bird, then pressed the shutter.

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The fledgling was a young Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, in a punk phase, totally unfazed by my presence. Other lorikeets were making a racket from bushes on both sides of the path. It’s not for nothing that the collective noun is a “pandemonium” of parrots.

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As the fledgling gingerly climbed higher, its feathers settled when it sat. There was still a way to go to get to safety.

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This all took about 5 minutes. The bird took a breather every so often and preened. There’s the tree I think it fell from, on the left. That pandemonium of lorikeets squawked continuously until the youngster had climbed out of my reach.

I stepped out, heartened by that plucky little bird’s persistence and determination. Boy, that bird taught me a thing or two! It wanted to fly … it was learning to fly! It wasn’t going to quit.

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I need to acknowledge a traditional Aboriginal story and popular children’s picture book here, called How the birds got their colours which features a Rainbow Lorikeet.  Pamela Lofts created the book of this story, which she heard from Mary Albert of the Bardi people of Western Australia. It was published, illustrated with children’s responses as paintings, in 2004 … a classic, widely used in schools and still in print,

This recent YouTube video (Don’t be put off by the 10 sec ad. at the start), directed and filmed by Teagan Spratt and Alannah Bryne retells this Aboriginal legend, as part of a Media Arts assignment in 2014. A significant feature is the explanation by Aboriginal elder Bill Buchanan, as he answers questions about the cultural significance of such stories, told to children.

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All text and photos, except where indicated, are by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

How The Birds Got Their Colours. Dir. Teagan Spratt and Alannah Byrnne. YouTube. YouTube, 1 June 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93UIsjYz75k&gt;.

Adult Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Adult Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Updated _ Scaly-breasted Lorikeet: Basic Information from Birds in Backyards. Web. Downloaded 3 Jan 2017.<http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Trichoglossus-chlorolepidotus&gt;

Oops!

Eye Spy: Weekly Photo Challenge

On an early morning, wet walk, I spy some glowing lichen and go in for a closer look at the colours and the textures.

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Beautiful, old. It’s been here a long time. Wonder if it has any stories to tell?

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Then I jump back … for I heard the tree say,

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 “What you lookin’ at!”

All text and photos by Meg

PS Thanks to Pam for another viewpoint. Can you spy the black nanny goat in the first photo?  Tip your head slightly to the left. Just goes to show that it all depends on how you look at things!

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition

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Standing, waiting for a train, I noticed what the person beside me was reading …  just had to sneak a photo with my phone.

“Good on you, mate!” I thought, as an Aussie would say, to encourage another.

Being a storyteller, I did wonder what he had on his mind …

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

 
Transition

Mohai Trio: Weekly Photo Challenge

When I was small, the photographer used to call out “Watch the birdy!”

A snazzy shot taken outside. Are these two … sisters / mothers / friends / nannies? Are they innovative? Did the kids get to pick where they sat? Did they sit in their favourite letter?  The ‘O’ kid would rather get moving.

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These figures are still looking out to the horizon, after more than a hundred years years. If only they could tell about the sights they’ve seen, about the people who carved them. Where did the museum find them? I must have read the signage but I can’t remember the name of their ships … the Honest Man … Pomona …. the Lucy Brown? Or ?

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Figureheads

What a simple pleasure to see boats, all trim and sea-worthy, all different shapes, colours, sizes, and uses: waiting to gently slip away. Who owns them? Does the young man who put the pumpkins on the prow, live on board?

What was your first boat trip like?

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I was three when my father took me out in a rowboat on a water reservoir at Glen Devon , Perthshire, Scotland.  The boat of glossy, golden wood had a little water slopping in the bottom.  The further from shore we went, the more I wanted to know how it got in. Sunlight sparkled up from the dark water.  My mother waved from the edge, and was getting smaller and smaller. It was a sunny, Spring day, they told me when we reminisced, years later. Sheep with their lambs studded the hillsides: their bleating filled the soft air. As I sat in the little seat facing my dad, I clung to one side, as he made the  oars rise and splash.  When we got into the middle of the reservoir, I started to cry for my mother, just like a lamb. The boat turned homewards.

All text and photos by Meg.

MOHAI is by Lake Union in Seattle.

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Trio

Everyday Ornate : Weekly Photo Challenge

Nothing is more ornate that the orchid growing out of a tree in my back yard right now.

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I leave it to it’s own devices, never fertilise it … hose it when I’m watering the pots nearby.

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Every year it presents a show of flowers from the first buds opening in September till the last flower falls in May.

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Yesterday, I counted 37 flower heads and 2 buds on its 2 spikes.

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A friend gave me this Phaleanopsis orchid as a memento when my mother died in September 2006. When I cast my eyes over its loveliness, I remember mum, our times together … all her hard work to raise us … and kindnesses.

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚A reader (Thanks, Gary) has suggested this US site more info on Orchid care ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

All text and photos by Meg. Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License