Sunday Morning Mindfulness

Quietly and sleepily sipping my first cup of Earl Grey tea early this morning, I slowly and absorbingly read the pages of a beautiful hardback book given to me by my mother and stepfather a few years ago.  I think it was a Christmas present – there will be a note inside to tell me, as I usually note these things nowadays – and I remember being instantly delighted by the sight and feel of the book, when I received it.

The cover of the book is white, with fine black writing and an elegant picture of a blue flower on the front, details on the back of those writers whose work has been included and form the body of the book, and the inside cover is a lovely blue. Published by the Royal Horticultural Society, it is a collection of prose and poetry with lovely pictures, artist sketches, of the flowers and plants that have been written about.  A coffee table book in a sense, or one to simply pick up and feed your senses with … which is why I picked it up this morning.

I read the other day, in a most unlikely place, that Table Mountain in Cape Town has 1,500 species of plants – whereas the entire United Kingdom has no more than that, indeed less than.  The fact astonished me, as Table Mountain forms only one very small part of the vast and beautiful country of South Africa, a place rich and awash with abundant flora and fauna; a place I miss to my very soul, because of this.  It was, believe it or not, this morning that the realisation dawned on me: “I miss the flora and fauna of South Africa”. More than anything, I miss the sights and the sounds of the natural world … and that is saying a lot, as there is much else in that gorgeous rainbow nation which I miss very much as well.

The little book that I was dipping into this morning, is about plants that grow in Britain, many of which I have come to know since my return here from Australia in 2006, and mostly since purchasing our current property in 2009.  I have learnt a lot about the British climate and natural environment while living in Berwickshire, experiencing life ‘out in the sticks’ much of the time, observing what is going on in our own tiny patch and what is going on all around us.  The monocultures that are witnessed everywhere in the United Kingdom, concentrated in the areas of countryside, are a depressing sight to someone who knows and longs for the biodiversity of a beautiful, natural world.  Instead of focusing only on those sorry and disastrous states, however, I take my focus back to the beauty of individual plants and absorb the wonder of life wherever I see and feel it, plants being only one way (and a potent one at that) of feeling the connection, a tangible connectedness, with the source of all life.

This is another thing I have realised only within the last few days … I ‘drink’ from the beauty of plants and feel drawn into closely observing the presence of bees and other wild creatures resting on or feeding from plants, because I feel a sense of connection to them, a connection to something deeper than myself, something and someone who is my very source.  I am easily uplifted by the sight or smell of a flower, a plant that is in excellent and robust health, a bumblebee or butterfly supping from pollen laden faces or drinking nectar from the trumpets of exquisitely designed little or large flowers. These things really draw me in, momentarily, for seconds at a time even, but powerfully and satisfyingly.  No matter if they quickly pass, the next moment soon comes.

All of these things of nature, strange as it may sound, feed my soul … and yet, so does the sight of a beautiful painting in a gallery, the feel of a special book, the experience of seeing a magnificently designed building or a chic, sophisticatedly detailed car (I have been known to stop and stare, mid conversation, when a Ferrari or Lambourghini has been sighted), a fabulously crafted pen, a stunning dress or creations of our recent past, like blue and white crockery and Bentwood chairs, a cared for old Morris Minor, a mirror or bowl of beautifully crafted glass.  Anything that is beautifully styled for elegance, efficiency, for peace or for speed,  will always draw me in, like a honey bee to nectar or even a monkey to a scene of curiosity, I suppose! I am simply fascinated by beauty, simplicity, form, ergonomic and eloquent design.  I see all of this in nature, and in miniature form it is always communicated to me through a beautiful plant, tree or flower – or even in sand or soil, in sticks of all sorts, in pebbles, rocks and gemstones!

Thus, as I turned the pages of the book my mother had given me, reading with pleasure about primroses, plumbago, giant white lilies, meconopsis (delicate blue poppies), blue iris, hyacinth, and even dandelion, I appreciated every word as one who closely knows the subject that she is reading about.  I feel the essence of a flower so easily … try it, next time you have the chance to inhale the fragrance of frangipani (in other climes), or jasmine, or the deliciously lemony tang of citrus blossom … you’ll connect with the source of all life that way too, I’m sure.

Digressing from my original subject of this piece, I realise, this issuing of invitation to others to feed on and drink from the well of life is a natural one to me too … I love to share what I have been blessed to know, to experience, to have for a season, to love, to learn from (good or bad), to achieve, to grow through, to expand within. There is so much joy in having others on the journey too and the invitation is usually a spontaneous one, invitation being something that has been a natural instinct of mine from a very early age.  In recent times, living in a place so remote and far from most of my friends and loved ones, I have extended the invitation through publishing (mainly online as yet) many writings of my own. Everything that I write and share with others, is an invitation for someone else to share in the experience of, a form of hospitality, a hand outstretched, an open door of sorts. If anything I write helps another, that is a bonus and hearing about it comes always as an unexpected gift.

And so, back to the book and the early morning cup of tea which helped to waken me for the new day …  I looked into the pictures opposite each page of poetry or prose, I read the lines, I felt the scenes, I appreciated the closeness of observation that had enabled the writers to share their presence as they wrote about the plants, and I felt loved. Nature does that … whether out in nature, or in word, or in image, nature nurtures somehow, I find.   There is nothing quite like experiencing the real thing, the sights and smells and feel of life inside elements of plants, flora, or the quirkiness of the fauna of a place, but to read about it is a close thing at least.

As I closed the book for the time being, having finished my cup of tea and feeling that a piece of writing needed to be birthed, I held it briefly in my arms and felt my mother’s love. Knowing that the book had been especially chosen for me, not least I am sure because of its colour scheme on the cover, the white enhanced with shades of blue, for content and for sight, becoming freshly aware of this was another nurturing of sorts.  My mother was born in this country, in Edinburgh, and these are the plants of her country of birth which I am tending and reading about these days.

Perhaps I shall soon find a way to travel easily between the other countries and continents that I love but, for now, I drink in the beauty of elements of the country where I am currently based, as I dream of and plan for what can be. Always, I am grateful for what is and has been, and always I drink in the awesomeness of now, all around me.

It is in the plants, the flora, of a country that we read deep into her soul.  It is in the plants that I find my connection to my source.  It is in the plants that we find our nourishments, our medicines, our fragrances, our hope, so much life, the essence of so much that is sustainable and needed for healthy longevity, our groundedness, our environmental stability, and the source of so much joy and of so much that is meaningful in real life.

Holly x

 

 

 

 

 


~ : ~

Link to WordPress “The Daily Post”:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/inhabit/

 

May You Always Feel Loved – A Poem By Sandra Sturtz Hauss

DSC00460 - THTT saved

I came across this beautiful poem today. It touched me and I thought it would quite possibly touch others too. I share it here, for all of us …

 

MAY YOU ALWAYS FEEL LOVED

May you find serenity and tranquility
in a world you may not always understand.

May the pain you have known
and the conflict you have experienced
give you the strength to walk through life
facing each new situation with courage and optimism.

Always know that there are those
whose love and understanding will always be there,
even when you feel most alone.

May a kind word,
a reassuring touch,
and a warm smile
be yours every day of your life,
and may you give these gifts
as well as receive them.

May the teachings of those you admire
become part of you,
so that you may call upon them.

Remember, those whose lives you have touched
and who have touched yours
are always a part of you,
even if the encounters were less than you would have wished.
It is the content of the encounter
that is more important than its form.

May you not become too concerned with material matters,
but instead place immeasurable value
on the goodness in your heart.
Find time in each day to see beauty and love
in the world around you.

Realize that what you feel you lack in one regard
you may be more than compensated for in another.
What you feel you lack in the present
may become one of your strengths in the future.
May you see your future as one filled with promise and possibility.
Learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience.

May you find enough inner strength
to determine your own worth by yourself,
and not be dependent
on another’s judgment of your accomplishments.

May you always feel loved.

*

By Sandra Sturtz Hauss © 1987

~ : ~

 

The rose pictured is “A Shropshire Lad”, by David Austin Roses. It grows against the wall, near to where I work on my computer and has the most wonderful blooms, with a fresh and fruity scent. Its foliage is gorgeously dark and healthy, starting off almost burgundy and maturing into a deep, dark glossy green. It is a picture of health and hopefulness, both as it comes into leaf and when it is in full growth in Summer.

 Holly x

Elegantly Fading Tulips

???????????????????????????????

No matter their colour, a simple bunch of tulips is always welcome, with their quiet freshness and stunning simplicity.

A vase full of tulips never fails to delight, even as they quietly fade …

DSC09913 - THTT signed
Quite unlike many other flowers, over time tulips fade with elegance, beauty and grace, such as these lovely red ones above, whose blooms matured with ever increasing richness as they lasted on and on. Next time, I shall remove the leaves sooner, to preserve the purity of the flowers’ show!

DSC05557 - THTT signed
I was given this gorgeous bunch of pure white tulips above recently. Every day it brought me new, delighted pleasure. When the leaves had finished their green sharing, the flowers wanted to hold on to the stage … until they too began to fade … with sheer and singular beauty.

DSC05790 - THTT signed
I watched each day, as the pretty petals began to crinkle and gently recede, and the blooms became as delicate-looking as the purest snowy feathers, as silky as gossamer down, so elegant, so fine.

DSC05791 - THTT signed

When the petals gently began to drop, like the loveliest snowflakes on they shone, revealing all that existed inside the precious blooms …

DSC05788 - THTT signed
And when they came to the end of their exquisite blooming time, I snipped each faded tulip into my compost bucket, as their job was not yet done. In my heart I felt awe and gratitude and ‘thanked’ the tulips silently, for bringing so much grace and elegance into each moment …

Tulips … so special, from their exquisite freshness to their demure, divine decline.


Holly x

Women’s History Month 2015

To all those Women courageous enough to stand alone, who maintain their own excellent and loving standards, who hold their heads up high, are brave enough to be truly real, and who make a positive difference to all of our lives … Happy month of recognition. This bloom is for you.

Holly x

For Women of courage, brave enough to stand alone, in order to make a difference.

For Women of courage, brave enough to stand alone, in order to make a significant difference.

Note:
“Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8, and during October in Canada, corresponding with the celebration of Persons Day on October 18.” – Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women’s_History_Month

A Rose without a Name

As I sorted through some photographs of my organic country garden today, I was spellbound by the pictures of flowers and greenery, looking forward to the Summer time, when all will be in bloom once more.

Amongst my photographs of a July past, I came across this picture of a beautiful rose, which was growing amongst a tangle of overgrown shrubbery and white rambling roses, in our present garden when we arrived here. It is a really lovely rose, with arching stems and fresh green foliage, the most gorgeous double flowers and an enchanting fragrance. I have no idea what this rose is called, but hope to discover its name one day.

While I watch and wait for the warmer months, it is wonderful to be able to look at such images … and know that soon the roses will be in bloom once more. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, who are just coming out of the long, cold, dark months of Winter dreariness, Summer cannot come too soon.

Much loveliness awaits!

Holly x

A beautiful rose without a name.

A beautiful rose without a name.

When we can see the beauty in a flower

DSC00598 - THTT signed


This small piece was first ‘published’ via The White Space at http://www.facebook.com/thewhitespace on 25 January 2015.  I copy it here, for anyone who needs to be reminded of beauty, or to receive a hug of understanding in their moment of difficulty.

 ~ : ~

 

When we can see the beauty in a flower, it says more about us than it does about the flower.

When we perceive beauty, we ‘see’ the very thing that is in each of us, and it is available to each of us, because it emanates from deep within. Go there, if you need to find beauty, solace, peace, love… Go deep within, to where your essence is, and that is where you will find Life … the life that is within us all, and in every natural thing on this earth. That essence, that life, can never be destroyed. As long as there is a universe, there will be life. Look at the flowers, look at the stars, look into the eyes of a child, look into the eyes of a true friend, look at the waves, look at the wind blowing the grass sideways … all that is life, the very life that fills every cell of your Being. It is where hope dwells, it is where we draw our energy from, it is all around us, and we are all one with it… we only have to become aware, to know this. It always is. You are, and I am. We are all one.

 

 

DSC00598 - THTT signed

Beauty, elegance and life in a pure white tulip.

 

 

 

Love,
Holly x