Treats And Truths Of Country Living

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Our peaches are ripening! The bumblebees, and a little hand pollinating by feather, have done the trick. An exciting time in the rickety greenhouse on our organic acre in Berwickshire, UK.

These are the treats of country living that are hard to beat, a blessing so much appreciated, especially when one pays such a high price for living in the British countryside, surrounded by vast acres on which synthetic fertilisers, highly toxic sprays and huge machinery are employed to perform every task. It’s the little blessing that gives strength to the next hour.

It has been a journey learning to live in this cold and temperamental climate, living very isolated in a range of ways, learning to understand the lie of the land, to work with the seasons, to make sense out of some vicious hands that have been dealt. The eight years have been incredible in many ways, but they have also been eight of the hardest years of my life, pressed and crushed and shocked by all sorts.

With every squeeze, in every rocking challenge, I always take my focus back to the blessings, back to what is solid, back to what is beautiful, back to what is miraculous, back to what is even fleetingly lovely, back to what is simple and straightforward, back to what is truth, back to what is sustainable, back to what is real and utterly good … Always refocusing, always learning, always getting back up, always moving forward inch by tiny inch …

These peaches are quite symbolic, representing what is still reliable, what is honest, what is wonderful, what tastes and is pure and purely good. Nourishment for the body, nourishment for the soul. The taste of Summer, the taste of health, the taste of joy and delight. The taste of innocence, the taste of simplicity, the taste of hope.

I started this blog / website a few years ago, to record some of my experiences, poetry, recipes and thoughts, now and over the fifty plus years of my interesting life. The blog grows in hiccupy stops and starts, but there is a fair body of collected writing here now.

These peaches form part of the story of the last eight years, and so much more.

 

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Yours mindfully,

Holly x

[This post has been adapted from the original, which appeared on Instagram on 13 July 2017  Link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BWeocXsgLZQ/?taken-by=hollymaxwellboydell ]

Test it all against the truth of Love

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While we whinge about aspects of our First World lives, so opulent in so many ways, babies are starving, people are aching for unconditional love, mothers are desperately trying to rise above the humiliation of poverty, business people are seeing the futility of the fast buck when they receive medical shocks … people are sleeping rough on the streets, children are crying and afraid, parents are carrying their children away from war torn conflict, the earth is heaving and groaning in agony as we treat it like a useless machine … Every man has a duty to wake up and examine himself. Every woman has a duty to forgive her peers and show them unconditional love … Every one of us has a duty to work on returning to what really matters and that is not One Upmanship … What really matters is how much we love. Love is an entire subject of its own. Love does not rob, covet, nor harm in any way. Love loves. That’s what brought us each into the world. That’s where we came from. That’s where we might return … To Love. How we live now determines how we’ll be then. Love applies to everything. Test it all against the truth of Love.

~ Holly ~

Being Optimistic – A Quote

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“Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

~  Nelson Mandela

 

from his book “Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela”

 

 

~ : ~

 

Keep hope alive,

 

Holly x

Friday Thought ~ Break The Chains

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Keep calm and breathe …

 

 

 

Friday Thought

Gratitude, helping others, appreciating the abundance of the planet and doing what you can to tread lightly, sharing out of what you have, opening your mind to the possibilities of making a difference right where you are, trusting in divine providence, minding your own business, refusing to gossip, attending to your own responsibilities, always speaking the truth, being honest in all your dealings, bringing things out from the darkness and into the light, facing difficulties, taking care of your own attitudes, looking after your body, practising compassion, doing the correct things that you expect others to do … all of these and more, help to free the mind from mental chains … and all of these produce good brain health.

Good mind health = good brain health = good body health = good life = peace (regardless of your outward circumstances).

 

‪#‎BreakTheChains

 

Live Free!

 

 

With love,

Holly x

Snowdrops on International Women’s Day

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On this International Women’s Day, I thought I would post a few photographs of the delicate white blooms carpeting areas of our garden at the moment, a little visual gift to those who love snowdrops, and with thoughts of all the women around the world who are making a difference on our beautiful planet right now.

I read a quote today by Magnify Magazine, which said: “Behind every successful woman, is a tribe of other successful women, who have her back.” There is a lot of truth in this statement, although so often women can be one another’s worst challenges and bitter rivals instead! Successful women, however, in whichever areas they work or perform their vital roles, know that it is in the lifting of others that we rise to greatness or prove to be of value ourselves.

It is so important to remember how much women do in our society generally, and how far they are prepared to extend themselves, in order to maintain peace and dignity on our planet. There is a long way to go towards making women feel more appreciated for all the roles that they perform, so many unrewarded, undervalued or ignored. There is also a distance to reach yet towards recognition of the fact that women are the ones who instil so many of life’s worthwhile values into the children of our world. To those among us who are making a difference, even in the smallest of ways, I salute you.

Enjoy this snapshot of the last moments of the snowdrops shining in my garden this week, soon to be retreating into the background, where they will regain their strength to bloom with vigour next Spring, and give way to the crocuses and narcissi who will take centre stage.

 

Holly x

 

 

PS. I think the white streak down the photograph below, might have been an early bug in flight … (or perhaps even a fairy?).  There are sure to be fairies in this garden of biodiversity somewhere!

 

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Copyright ©  The Holly Tree Tales

Collecting Leaves ~ A Poem With Little Punctuation

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Gifting myself an hour outdoors in the weak Autumnal sunshine this morning, the intention being to collect what I could, in that time, of the bounty of leaves lying piled up and scattered all around the house and under nearby trees, I savoured every minute of the precious outdoor time. Every bagful would, in only one year, become freely acquired luscious soil, a friable bounty known as “leafmould”.

As I walked back inside afterwards, my fingers frozen to the bone, peeled off my cosy outdoor boots and set my sights back onto working at the computer, I heard a beautiful tune playing on the radio: “Anno Epilogue” by Oliver Davis.  The haunting melody seemed to contain a mirror of the mood I was wafting through. I sat down, with intentions of attending other projects, but instead I wrote this poem.

I hope it will make sense  … there was little punctuation added whilst writing, not wishing to interrupt the flow of the poem writing itself!

~ : ~

[Please continue reading until the Post Script, dated 21 November 2015, at the end of this post. Thank you.]

 

~ : ~

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Collecting Leaves

Golden sunshine captures me as I look into the leaves …
Smells and sights and sounds I feel
As into the depths of golden hues
I allow my spirit to sink and swim and swallow wholeness
From without into within and all around and all beyond me
When all of a sudden the wind whips up and darkness descends into the daylight
Clouds overhead look to me like mighty thunderous promise
While hard drops of icy water hit the surface of the layers on the ground
Sleety icy cold and glorious, windy wet and perfectly sound
I feel the ice begin to enter through my too thin and puny rubber gloves
Knowing soon I shall have to head back inside
But I wish to remain outdoors where I can smell the Autumn and play in her gifts to all mankind
It might be Friday the thirteenth, but superstition is not a worry to me
I am free and I am unencumbered by the fears that grip so many on this day
All I want to do is stay outdoors and be warm enough to play
I look up and see the holly berries ripening on a holly tree
And quickly realise that there lies more promise, more gifts from Nature on this day
Soon I shall gather boughs of berried holly, before the little birds take them all away
And that way we shall have some festive season redness of natural beauty in our home
As we sit in front of log fires, catching up with loved ones who so often are very far away
Playing games and sharing stories, looking at photographs and reminiscing on times we’ve loved
Knowing that every moment is a precious gem, one not to be squandered
But that day soon comes, when we know not when.
And so for now I gather in my harvest of leafy gold dust,
Which when it turns to dust will become my gold
As leaves of many colours and types and sizes become transformed
From rich, papery, vibrant shades of Autumnal tones in every golden hue
Into the rich brown, sweet smelling earth from which they once came …
Once more they are and will become … leafmould.
As we go from dust to dust, so leaves too return to the Earth
From whence we died, we each become new birth.

*

by  Holly Maxwell Boydell

*

[all rights reserved]

~ : ~

 

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Note: If Readers too would like to hear the beautiful tune I heard before penning this poem, and replayed while I collected its stream of words, here is a link that I found to “Anno Epilogue” by Oliver Davis, via YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-71KIvYOKLk

 

~ : ~

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Blessings,

Holly x

 


POST SCRIPT

Saturday 21 November 2015

I wrote the poem “Collecting Leaves” at lunchtime last Friday, 13 November 2015, and posted it onto The Holly Tree Tales that afternoon.  Little did any of us know that, later that day, the most atrocious tragedy would hit Europe, matched only by some of the atrocities being carried out in other parts of the world too.  Two lines in the poem have been haunting me all this week:

“It might be Friday the thirteenth, but superstition is not a worry to me
I am free and I am unencumbered by the fears that grip so many on this day”

At the time of writing, those words seemed relevant to the ambience and experience on the day, but in hindsight they appear truly crass – which is not and was not, by any means, intended. Out of respect to all those who were hurt on that day, in untold and known ways in Europe and around the world, and to all those who are still hurting in the aftermath of the atrocities,  I have since removed those two troubling lines.  There is now a revised version of this poem, which appears later in the blog, republished and with more punctuation inserted.

In mindful consideration, I continue to hope for peace to come into all of our lives.

~ Holly Maxwell Boydell

Walking Kindly On This Earth

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Thoughts on how each of us could take steps to walk a little more kindly on the Earth.  A message with a few ideas for little things to do, which many of us (who have the means and the tools to read features online) might easily be able to put into practice.

~ : ~

WALKING KINDLY ON THIS EARTH

No one can reach the summit of Everest without an aeroplane and, even then, it would probably be impossible to land. The only way to reach the summit, therefore, is to walk it. The same applies to all the climate change theories. It is the tiny steps that matter and it is the tiny steps that will get us there. To make a real difference requires every man, woman and child to look down at the ground, to feel the importance of the health of their environment, to look around appreciatively, and then to say “What can I do better, and how can I more kindly tend this Earth?”

Yes, we need to urgently halt industrial scale agriculture; yes, we need to urgently halt the suicidal wiping out of diverse forests and multiple ecosystems; yes, we need to cease the use of fossil fuels; yes, we need to address the gross emissions that are wounding our life systems on Earth; yes, we need to urgently halt the spraying of toxins across millions of acres around the globe; yes, we need to empower small- and large-scale farmers to create biodiverse food systems again and turn back to growing our needs without poisoning the precious Earth’s soils … but each of us has the power to stop using spray deodorants; to stop buying toxic products, which we then consume or wash down the drains; to stop using toxic sunscreens, which wash off our vulnerable bodies, while in the process poisoning marine life, as we frolic in the waves … On and on one could go, listing the myriad of tiny changes each of us could make.

It only takes one straw to break a camel’s back, they say.
Perhaps one straw each can go a long way towards fixing it?

It takes only one person in every group to turn away from the crowd and say “No, I won’t do that. I shall do THIS instead.” By doing this, making positive choices, each and every one of us has the power to change the tiny part of the universe in which we live.

So … next grocery shop, how about it?
How about making the effort to seek out the eco products?
Even changing your dishwashing liquid will make one iota of difference, and one iota of difference is so much better than no difference at all.

And the deodorant?
Well, learning to love yourself is all-encompassing … it includes NOT giving yourself illnesses by putting poison onto the largest organ of your own body, your skin … So head instead to the health food shop (skin products are ‘food’ too) or shop online. Look for non-aerosol products, and those that will not make you ill. In the process of doing just that, you change your and our world.

It really is as simple as that.
One man, one woman, one child making right choices … one step at a time. Until we reach a crescendo. Or we reach the summit that we need to get to.

Think twice, and act nice.
Vote with your own purse or wallet.
Stand up for what is right.

Bless us, and bless our very precious, suffering Earth.

Each one of us is needed on board, and the time really is NOW.

 

~ : ~

 

All the best with your endeavours to walk kindly on our Earth!

Holly x

 

 

 

 


Notes:

Other places to view this post:

On Facebook via http://tinyurl.com/q4rz7xn (the original version)

Or find it at http://www.facebook.com/towardsgreenerborders
(scroll down to 22 October 2015 to view the post shared there)

 

 

Appreciation Of Nature And Creation

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A couple of weeks ago I penned a few brief words, as I pondered the ludicrousness of ignoring our Creator. The words are short and sharp and pointed, but they are not meant to harm, merely to open a shutter of light and let the awareness of magnificence in …

~ : ~

It is pointless worshipping Nature, while ignoring the One who created it all.  What an insult to Divine Intelligence!  And what freedom of spirit to know that, whilst out in Nature, one is in a Cathedral of the most magnificent order, where worship is free and the spirit is unleashed.

All of Nature is a temple and each body is a temple of spirit.  The One who created it all cannot be escaped, no matter how intelligent a human thinks he is.  Scientists and NASA staff get this now …

Mere Mortal, how about surrendering to the fact that, when you’re in dire straits, you’re going to need divine intervention?

Well, look around … how much did YOU create and how much ‘stuff’ can you rely on still being around if and when your Important Economy fails?

Face it … we did not manifest ourselves. Oh, I’m so over that stupid argument.

In Peace.

I’m off to ‘the woods’ to pray.

And play.

In Nature’s Cathedral.

With the bees and the butterflies, the bugs and the birds.

Thank goodness I don’t have to look after them too.
Why?
Because God does it.

Truly.
He is Awesome.
And so are You.

 

~ : ~

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Blessings,
Holly x

 

 

[Note: Top photo: Poignant, peaceful prayer flags in a botanic garden – August 2015.]

Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi

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Did you know that today, 4 October, is known and recognised by many in the Catholic Church as the “Feast of St Francis of Assisi” and is celebrated each year? It is a popular day for pets to be ‘blessed’.

This feast day commemorates the life of St Francis, who was born in the 12th century and is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment.


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