To all my friends and followers all over the world at this time of the year, whether you celebrate Christmas or not I would like to wish you a peaceful, and joyful time, a time filled with love and the warmth of human company. As we move to brighter days, may all your wishes come true and may you be blessed.
Connemara was not as isolated and remote as I expected it to be. At least the part of it that we toured was not so. Even on narrow roads that literally just lead to the coast over several causeways, houses and schools were frequently dashed over the otherwise barren landscape.
Connemara was magical, the more so because the mountains were half hidden in the mist and in low clouds, throwing an un-earthly light over the bogs, highlighting the rusty colours, the sepias, the deep chocolate browns, the ochre. Sometimes the sun would briefly take away the veil that covered the land, at other times the sky would darken and a very heavy rain would pour down on us. But the rain did not bother us, we were after all on honeymoon and it was hard to take the smile off our faces.
The old cottages dotted here and there took my interest but the roads made it so that I could not stop easily to observe them better. I did take in their oblong shapes however, many seemed to be empty and ruined, others were still very much lived in.
My favourite area was the road (R344) we took from Kylemore Lough, on to Recess. On our right were the Twelve Bens, a very beautiful mountain range which unfortunately was mostly hidden in the clouds, and to our left we saw some of the Maumturk mountains. Rusty bog land, softly covered in pale lilac heathers, and in strong yellow gorse, drew the eye further along to some lakes and more bogs. This was for me one of the highlights of our journey, the beauty and serenity that I felt there was incredible and filled my heart with joy. The scents of autumn-like growth and fresh mountain air were invigorating. My excellent navigator and new husband Ian had suggested this road, and I am so happy that we explored this area of Connemara.
Just while walking along one road, the coast road of my walk on the first of this year, I found so many wild plants in flower that I would like to share a gallery of them. Meanwhile I am doing some research on them individually and have already come across some interesting facts. It is a great pleasure to become more intimately connected with the Mediterranean flora and to learn more about them. While I was young I studied botany with a teach yourself book, but right during my life-time wild plants, flowers and herbs, and their medicinal and other properties have been of great interest to me, and it gives me great pleasure to learn more about this all the time. By observation as much as by reading, researching and learning about them. The beauty of these wild flowers and the joy of finding them along a walk cannot be underestimated in everyday life, I feel very grateful to have the opportunity.
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
During the last few days I visited one of my dear friends, it had been too long since we caught up with each other, and it has been very necessary and a great joy and pleasure to make that time for her yesterday.
Since there was such a super crop of raspberries in the garden I have made plenty of jam, but also the cherries were cheap in the shops, but it’s not as easy to make these into jam hence they turned out runny and we are using the result on ice-cream and in porridge. Delicious!
Summer flowers, it’s good to concentrate on the beauty of nature, especially during days of sadness.
“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”
― Maya Angelou
It has been a sad start to the week here with one friend passing, and a joy later on in the week with visiting a precious friend who is very ill. It makes for quietness and reflection in my own mind. Realising, of course that nature, the beauty of nature, the flowers, the insects, the summer sun and evenings, the delightful scents in the meadows, the nearly full moon in the sky right now, the ripe red berries in the garden, the stillness of the river reflecting lush summer trees found along its banks all help to make life beautiful and meaningful. Letting go is an essential part of growing a little older too.
I just finished reading Michael McCarthy’s book “The Moth Snowstorm” in which he describes and talks about the decline in biodiversity of birds, moths, butterflies, and other creatures worldwide but especially in his own Britain. He gives examples of his own experiences and that of other nature lovers, where they have witnessed this decline.
His emphasis, though, is on the intense joy that the natural world can and does bring to humankind. The book is also part memoir, his reasoning about wildlife decline is interspersed with his own memories, and of how his childhood trauma played a role in his discovery and his passion for the natural world, the joy that nature stirs inside us humans. And this resonated with me so well, I too developed this passion at an early age, not perhaps through childhood trauma, I’m not sure why. The point that McCarthy makes is that this is something very innate in us, that we have developed this over the thousands of years of life when our ancestors were hunter gatherers, living lives in very close contact with nature. This joy, I used to think of it as my very own when I was still a young woman until I discovered that it was just out there for anyone to tap into; watching a beautiful sunset, the opening of a beautiful flower, seeing a marvellous butterfly, listening to the dawn chorus, or indeed the sound of the cuckoo in early spring, all of these scents, sounds, observations, experiencing the natural world with our senses can bring intense joy into our lives, the natural world is very good for us, essential even, and studies have showed that too now, scientists agree on this, worldwide there is a trend from professionals to advise walks in nature for mental and physical well being and health, happiness even.
This book also highlights the destruction of our planet which has been going on for over one hundred years and he gives many details of this – but it never becomes a depressing read as McCarthy always bring us back to this joy that nature gives us and shows why he believes we are wired for this and how it will be the best resource for survival in that when more and more people realise this they will unite to save the planet starting with saving its biodiversity, its birds, its animals, its insects, and all the wonderful creatures.
So once again I came to realise that it is not childish or silly to be totally blown away or inspired by the discovery of say a moth, a spider, a butterfly, the sound of the robin or blackbird early in the morning, the first signs of spring, or the sun throwing its first rays of light over the horizon. All these intense pleasures are deeply ingrained in our beings and if tuned into them they can move us and bring total peace of mind and happiness.
I would love to hear what you feel about this, is having a sense of wonder about the natural world an inspiration in your life?
These are some of the images of my life in the past year, and I chose the colour blue because that seems to have figured a lot in my life the last twelve months. While choosing the photos out of my media library here at my WordPress.com I enjoyed wonderful memories of both beauty and joy, and would like to share this with all my friends.
At mid winter time
a fresh new cone on our little Korean fir tree
a snowy landscape during one of the colder winters some years ago
a star coming straight from India
dear friends all over the world
the library where I worked
our once delightful cat ‘Goldberg’ licking the cream, a special treat
our bird table under snow
and candles in the fireplace.
Great memories, lots of people in there too, times spent with my family, in India with the children of the orphanage, with friends, always wishing for a more peaceful world. Enjoying walks in nature, exchanging gifts, listening to beautiful music, and just generally having a wonderful time. Mid-winter is a magical time, it’s lovely when it comes around.
So I would like to wish all my dear friends, followers, and everyone, Peace, Joy, and happiness at this time and always.
Blessings all year round.