First Flowers

Thick fog this morning. Drizzle and greyness. Winter. 

I had to push to get work done at first. But as I got on with jobs, they seemed to become easier, more fun.

By afternoon, the fog had lifted. The sun appeared, and the sky brightened into blue. My heart began to lift. 

I can still see my breath, but it’s 5pm and still daylight. I don’t need as many layers of clothing.

Then, in our little grove, in the midst of a stand of trees past the badger setts, are the first snowdrops. Just one patch, with the rest not quite there yet – but those white heads are here again. They made it. 

Spring is on the way. We can lift our heads and breathe…

Imbolc blessings, my friends.

Restart

Today. Temperatures in the minus, Himself on night shifts so I’m not sure what day it is, only that it’s daytime… but things are moving. Restarting life after too long a pause, it feels like. But I have my touchstone of my homeland to keep me grounded.

Every day, without fail, I must walk the dogs. Gearing up to it can feel like a chore, but once we’re outside, their joy buoys me up as we explore what’s changed on the hill since we were last out.

Last night, we had flurries of snow. Today, thick fog. Not cloying, but like a gentle blanket draped across us. Everything is tipped with white from the frost. A spiderweb on a postbox is jewel-like. My neighbour has already placed bread out for the sparrows and blackbirds.

No matter what chaos is going on in the world, my hilltop is my home. Always discovering more about it, feeling with all my senses (including mud up past my ankles on occasion!), and now ready to face the day.

Restarting this blog is the first step in Doing. Moving forward xx

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Stars

A day of ups and downs. Magic, work and inspiration, as well as sharp bumps and some overwhelm…

I stepped out this evening, into the crisp night air, and felt the wind on my skin. I looked up at the stars, heard the trees whispering. The rain has finally stopped, the clouds gone.

I stand, and breathe. As I tell others to do so often. The simplest of acts – to simply step outside. Remember where you are, feel it, look with all of your senses.

The year is beginning to unfold. I am listening for what is to be heard.

I stand in my power. The peace of the winter night is welcome.

Between Wild and Tame

Blue skies this morning – rare in what has been a very wet winter so far. So the pups and I ventured out into the hilltop mists.

Nobody else around. A very boggy park, but safe enough to chase around for Fen and Rags, as the sun burned briefly through the fog that surrounded us. The route to the nearby fields was still impassable, alas; this was our own little space between Civilization and the Otherworld… I look forward to bridging that gap again come Spring. 

   
 

Ancestral Work

This morning, I cast my vote in the European and UK Council elections.

This evening, we experienced a huge thunderstorm, resulting in power cuts.

I’ve been thinking about how so much of what we do in our lives is pretty much the same as our ancestors did. The format or technology might be slightly different, but motivations, actions and meaning haven’t changed as much as we might think.

My democratic mark was made with pencil on paper. I watched in awe as the weather moved past. I prepared candles, books and creativity to keep my evening busy. The simplicity of it was inspiring.

We eat, sleep, interact and go about our days as humans have always done. Every day, we honour our ancestors by these actions. Rather than becoming dejected at the lack of change, I think our constant exploration and discovery, as individuals and communities (be they lone and shared experiences), is rather wonderful.

Still moving, indeed.

Sherwood

I love this land.

Today, we visited Sherwood Forest. Not far from home, but somewhere I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing since I was small. Now I bring others.

The stories held in the earth and the trees, the creatures and (yes) the tourist attraction all entice people, and will continue to do so. We carry our myths on in the telling, but it’s so wonderful to see the young and young-at-heart enjoying the physical experience of visiting a place that’s in those stories.

Just wandering in the woods – always a pleasure, and such an important part of my life.

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The Major Oak – around a thousand years old (apparently), now supported by manmade struts. But still standing between earth and sky, with the trunk a gateway to another world…

Place and Tribe

Today, I drove over 200 miles, a round trip across a good width of this country. County boundaries were crossed, towns and villages navigated. From sun to rain and back again.

I understand that in some countries, this wouldn’t count for much. But here, it’s a long way. I’m pretty tired now.

But such trips are wonderful for exploring the diversity of my lovely homeland… while at the same time, feeling the similarities.

We have our different tribes still. Nottingham is different in mood and feel to Derby (they’re approximately 15 miles apart). Both are far removed in life and geography from London, Newcastle or – crossing amorphous national boundaries – Cardiff or Edinburgh.

Yet, when I speak to people of ‘spirits of the land’, they always nod in understanding. That almost territorial ‘vibe’, made up of the human societies which live in these places and demarcate the boundaries, but not confined to just the human residents. This is still very much felt, whether consciously or when reminded.

The land my partner and I visited today was beautiful – birch and gorse, with a magnificent lake in glorious sunshine (and then an equally marvellous rainstorm!). It had its own definite character, and we were glad to get to know it a little.

As I drove home, I passed way-markers. You are Now Entering Lincolnshire. Then Nottinghamshire. Sherwood Forest. Derbyshire – and home.

I reached out to those ancient trees as I passed. We waved to the magpies and dodged the ravens playing on the roads. I felt the pull of my own little place as I moved nearer. The spirits of the land are clear in this wild countryside, even as the tarmac and concrete of civilization try to tame it. It’s good to explore, to reach out and actively notice, feel that connection.

Back on my hilltop, I breathe deeply. My home, my place, where I am known and held. Before I head out again tomorrow.