The beholding I

Don’t tell anyone.

I don’t want to make a fuss about it.

But I think I’ve acquired a supernatural power.

I know. Unlikely. But I’ve suspected it for some time and on Sunday I decided I was right.

You see, I can summon the wind. No, really. At the push of a button. Well, even more easily than that, to be accurate.

There are some conditions, though.

I must be surrounded by evidence of Mother Nature’s generosity. In whatever form that takes.

Wild flowers, tall grasses.

Plumping fruits, buds and blossoms.

Convolvulus buds ripening

Blackberries ripening amid the short-lived but prolific Convolvulus

Sparkling lakes, prowling herons.

Coots cooting around (and I didn’t alter the colour, honestly!)

I think this is a young one – saw it catch a couple of fish – thank goodness the baby chicks are too big for it now

Butterflies, ladybirds, bees.

A Comma hiding behind a signpost

Too many spots for seven spot ladybirds, not yellow enough for 22 spots

Next, I concentrate my attention on a special, distinctive, superlative – or simply interesting – gift of the Mother of all things.


…  I reach for the red, shiny, metallic box I carry with me at all such times.

The box with the magical button.

And even before it’s pressed –  abracadabra!

Up comes the wind.


With a sigh.

Subtle enough to make the grasses shiver. To cause the flowers to nod.

To set the fruits a-tremble – and make the winged ones fly.

Yes, my camera’s a powerful thing.

I believe it’s inhabited by a genie. Disguised as a battery.

Still, I try to catch the wilful wind unawares. And usually fail.

But on Sunday I was walking around my new, equal-favourite, local place to be.

A place I can be calm and at peace with the world. Well, except for the occasional dog-walker who can’t read, or misunderstands the term, ‘on a lead’. Or the cyclists who find it annoying to have to heave their bikes over kissing gates designed to keep them out, before riding ride on.

But set them aside. I do. And not too long, really, after they’ve passed me by.

Because it’s an enchanted place – so I can’t be annoyed for long.

This pond is one of my favourite spots – among many – places at the reserve

How now brown cow?

My growing interest in the natural world has been bearing fruit (slowly) in the form of four seasonal fables I’m writing. Ecological fairy tales if you will. It began with the Tale of Old Mistress Winter which I shared last Christmas.

The underlying ‘moral’, an essential component of both fairy tale and fable, is that we humans should be aware how are affecting our world.

Our climate is changing, thanks to our actions, and that in turn is altering all things natural, distorting the connections that make Planet Earth work.

And on Sunday, as I struggled to find the inspiration for my tale of autumn, my new magical place lent a hand.

In a few weeks so much had changed.

Many of the blossoms of summer had already gone over.

The hawthorn’s berries, like the blackberries and elderberries, were ripening fast.

The fairies were flying and barbed wire fences gathering thistle-wool.

The sun being high in the sky and shade welcome,  I ventured for the first time out of the Nature Reserve into the ‘forest’. Which I hope, one day it will be.

Part of my growing love of ‘nature’ in all its mutability, is an affinity with the trees. We shall all be trees, one day. One way or another.

Trees are our past, our present, our future.

This young, almost elegant forest was peaceful and welcoming. But still, all alone, unbidden thoughts came, of  Little Red Riding Hood and the wicked wolf. I pushed them aside and concentrated on my quietly growing companions.

Some were already looking tired, their leaves rustling that brittle rustle they have come the last days of summer.

But together they made a restful dappled place. Of whispering boughs and fallen, golden willow leaves. Of tangled twigs and billowing banks of nettles.

And this haven of all that matters (well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, I’m letting my enthusiasm [and my fable-writing head] run away with me) is a mere seven miles from home.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Even our suburban garden weaves enchantment.

And what would be enchantment, or magic, or the faerie realm, without our earthly delight?

And who wouldn’t want to share it?

Well, the wind and I made a pact. And the wind mostly kept to it.

I would notice the beauty in ordinary things – and the wind would be my guide.

And I’ve shared some of the results.

Captured with my tiny, red, conjuring box and its shiny crimson button.

The bounty of Mother Nature, her beauty. As seen through the eyes of one beholder.  And the lens of a point and shoot camera.

I’ll say farewell at that, since I need to turn to Autumn, to the tale of a mighty oak and its   earthbound toes.

But I’ll leave you with a few more images, captured with the complicity of my friend, the warm west wind …

Just below the Environment Agency’s sluice (?) that allows flood water off the River Alt which is above this reserve when necessary

The tiniest flowers I saw – don’t know what they are but they are very pretty

The bulrushes – reedmace if you prefer – are fattening up and browning nicely

Nothing is ever dead in nature, it just lives on differently

I think these two trees love each other 😉

I know it’s not a living thing, but it is covered with living things – this is what I love about nature and the way she copes – and isn’t it lovely, really? It’s part of the bridge over the River Alt by the way

Accidentally crushed beneath rambling boots chamomile is for me the green scent of summer

As children we used to flip the seeds off this plant – when darker brown and ready to be shed – down the back of a person’s shirt or blouse. Very irritating!

I love the umbellifers – as you may have noticed

It feels like a processional way – perhaps is is, for a fairy pageant…

This entry was posted in Art, jaunts & going out, Britain now & then, Lancashire & the golf coast, Nature notes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to The beholding I

  1. I wallowed in this….your words and your conjuring box took me back thousands of miles (even if not so many years) and brought back not just the look, but the scent and the feel of those plants.
    I can`t honestly say that I miss the European world…I think rather that I was lucky to have experienced it….but it is good to be reminded of it all in such a superb fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen, thank you so much for this – I have no one to cast a cautionary eye over my outpourings at the moment as you know and I felt a little more than the usual trepidation when I clicked ‘publish’. I am also glad you mentioned ‘scent’ because it really struck me as I trod on some chamomile that although it is a major contributor to our impressions of things, I tend not to write about it.
      I wonder if I would miss European ‘nature’ if I were elsewhere? I think as long as there were seasons I would enjoy whatever Nature offered and wallow in it. But anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed it and also glad it didn’t make you homesick!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have never been homesick…I suppose I carry my shell around with me…but I do enjoy being able to call up the past and its experiences.
        People said we would find it dull here…just the rainy and the dry seasons…not a bit of it. There are contnual changes to observe and enjoy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. jilldennison says:

    Your pictures and words are both too beautiful for words. For just a few minutes while reading this and taking in, albeit only vicariously through a panel of glass, the beauty of nature, I felt at peace and put aside, without realizing I had done so, the dank darkness of my rabbit hole. Thank you for this beautiful post, dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Jill, thank you, that gives me so much pleasure. I am so glad. I feel that if I can do that, for you of all people, who are indeed spending time on my behalf (and others’) down a dark dank rabbit hole, then I have done something good with my time. I wish you could visit it, you would love it too. And I’m glad its soothing nature reached out across the ocean and found you. Have a big, comforting hug from me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jilldennison says:

        I had the same thought as I looked at the pictures … how I would love to visit that spot … so tranquil, and as one of your other readers noted, one can almost smell the earth, the flowers … sigh. Someday maybe …
        But yes, you have a mastery with your photos and also your writing that makes one forget where they are for just a few minutes … great work!
        And now, I shall return to the rabbit hole and join a tea party with the Mad Hatter!!! 😀 Thanks for the respite!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Everything is always better with tea 🙂 You need a large teapot and a good tea cosy, but preferably no dormice 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • jilldennison says:

            Ah … back to Google I go … 😀

            Liked by 1 person

            • Oh no, was it dormice? Maybe that’s not the plural of dormouse! Or perhaps tea cosy – an essential component of the tea drinking routine here in chilly England. Often knitted. I have a friend who insists on abusing them by putting them on her head for a laugh…

              Liked by 1 person

              • jilldennison says:

                Indeed, ’twas dormice! I knew what a tea cozy was, though I have never seen one up close and personal. I think putting one on one’s head would be great fun, actually! But dormice stumped me … at first I thought “door mice?” as in a pair of rodents guarding the entryway. But then, on my Google travels, I found this: “The edible dormouse or fat dormouse (Glis glis) is a large dormouse and the only living species in the genus Glis, found in most of western Europe. Its name comes from the Romans, who ate them as a delicacy.” Now, my dear friend … if I should ever live long enough to pay you a visit (which I would LOVE to do, but … well, the odds are slim unless I come into some great sum of money in the next year or two) I should NOT like to be served a dormouse with my tea! I would far prefer some of your yummy scones, and perhaps a biscuit or two! 😀

                I needed this moment of jocularity tonight … a million thanks, my friend!


  3. Thel says:

    Mary, I also wallowed in it. Thanks for sharing your beautiful day. I want to share a quote from a book I just finished.

    “After scientists broke open the coat of a lotus seed (Nelumbo nucifera) and coddled the embryo into growth, they kept the empty husk. When they radiocarbon-dated this discarded outer shell, they discovered that their seedling had been waiting for them within a peat bog in China for no less than two thousand years. This tiny seed had stubbornly kept up the hope of its own future while entire human civilizations rose and fell. And then one day this little plant’s yearning finally burst forth within a laboratory. I wonder where it is right now.”
    ― Hope Jahren, Lab Girl

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thel says:

    It’s all about the protective husk….

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So much to love in this. Lovely photos and beautiful descriptions, stand-alone each would have been sufficient. But collaboratively, magnificent.
    I particularly enjoyed the details… counting the spots on ladybirds.
    And, our ongoing likeminded-ness… how now brown cow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!
      It’s so good to have you back, you know 🙂 I was missing you… But I know your life has changed and now I relish the more occasional posts and occasional exchanges of experiences. And I suppose my life has changed too, though less dramatically, in terms of what makes me tick.
      Beneath it all, though … how now brown cow?


  6. seer1969 says:

    Your awakening environmentalism is bringing up gems, your writer’s ‘pen’ capturing as much as your camera. Thank you.
    Tiny creatures can have profound effects on the ecology of an environment, such as the tiny insect which feeds on pine needles in northern arctic forests, eventually killing the tree, allowing glades of sunlight into the forest. Then the smaller plants that seek sunlight flourish, which then feed a population of arctic hairs, and a lynx can thuis feed her babies and prosper. An apex predator is thus dependent on one of the tiniest creatures for terraforming the environment to suit its needs. Small can really be powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I was juts thinking about you this morning and here you are with kind words 🙂
      And fascinating about the northern pines, Peter, thank you so much for that nugget of information. It may be used… I am currently thinking about what is in the soil so we will see what happens wit the mighty oak and the microbes! I am finding increasingly that I eventually reach places many have already gone before – but I go by routes less travelled – my own very erratic and time consuming ones! And yes, small is very, very powerful. And I wonder if small will always outsurvive big in evolutionary terms? Bets stop there, I have no idea what I am talking about.


  7. Miz B says:

    Being a tree someday appeals to me. Of course, I might just as much enjoy being some Queen Anne’s Lace or perhaps cattails or thistles–maybe in succession–and then a tree for a very long time, so I can settle in. I love all your photographs. And I hope your “Autumn” is already whispering in your ear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A progression of growing things sounds a good idea – working up to being a fully fledged tree! I would be torn as to which tree to be – a graceful weeping birch, a stately oak, a glorious copper beech, a scrubby but useful – and pretty at times -hawthorn? Or a yew, living for ages and ages and ages… Well, perhaps it’s best to leave the choice to Mother Nature.
      ‘Autumn’ is taking shape, thank you, with a mighty oak, a jay and the tiniest creatures on earth – plus the great west wind and the spirits of trees who were but are no more… I just need to knuckle down to it. My friend the wind has picked up to help stop me being distracted by sunny walks. 😉


  8. Steph says:

    Mary, I wish I could comment as intelligently and in as informed a manner as some of your friends here. I just wanted to say that these vicarious walks are doing me good. The last two weeks at work were shattering beyond exhausting, not to say unrewarding and unappreciated, and over a week later I am still tense, headachy and wound up. You help me! As do the oh-so-distant communications from archaeoman. I would do better to get outside, myself (or do I mean outside myself? What a momentous comma) but I have no energy, plus there is considerable prep to do for the next time I set foot in that toxic world and long letters to write to all the correspondents who lap up my news when it reaches them – one missive a year, the summer being the one time I can communicate at any length, is a miserly gift compared with the lively, merry conversations (proper ink on carefully-chosen pretty stationery) I used to enjoy with all these people. We really need to get together soon. My thirsty and rapidly-crisping little soul flower is aching for a drink of shared laughter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Steph, I can feel your pain over the ether! All the stories of how tough schools are these days are obviously true. Then again, I do remember ‘holidays’ during which my recovering (from the last term) father pored over hand written timetables for weeks… and time never seemed free for him.
      I’ve emailed you – I think you could do with a burst of the Meadows. Let’s see if the weather perks up. Then again, perhaps your crisping soul-flower needs gentle rain? No, you’re right, metaphysical rain is definitely preferable!
      Talking of weather, my friend the wind has picked up nicely for the Open Golf. Perhaps for the spectators’ sakes I should take out my crimson magic box again 😉
      Now, that comma. A very good illustration of the importance of punctuation to meaning. I love commas, use them, perhaps, far too much. But ever since a teacher (in my primary school days) said a comma was a pause for breath or thought, it has been my way of trying to make words do what I want, express what I’m thinking in the way I’m thinking. Sometimes it works!
      I’ll stop right there, grammar is not my forte and I’m heading for deep waters….
      Thanks for your lovely comment and – look out for my email.


  9. Rosemary Reader and Writer says:

    I too find myself enjoying nature, and all things growing, more and more. Husband and I seem to spend a lot of time saying things like, “Have you noticed such-and-such” is now flowering/fruiting or whatever. Good luck with your fables, btw.
    And have you, up north, really started autumn. When we visited Szczecin, we noticed the leaves starting to turn and fall in mid-August. Meanwhile, we in East Anglia are still getting used to summer.

    Liked by 1 person

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