Summer’s Sweet Dream

Even at quieter times of the year when life shouldn’t be frantic, it seems I can still become frazzled and overwrought. It sometimes feels like I’m caught in an endless repeating cycle, but at least if nothing else it serves as a reminder that feeling stressed is less to do with circumstances and more to do with how we meet them. This is not the first time that I’ve written about this and I’m certain it won’t be the last.

Feeling like an over-wound alarm clock about to go off is a pretty good signal to pause and take stock. I know I’m not as wise or considerate towards myself as I should be, and I also know that somewhere inside me there’s a wiser and kinder person who’d like to help if only I’d let her. On this occasion I realised it was time to go for a walk.

Wandering around with a camera and not thinking, at all, of anything, is a pretty reliable way for me to unwind. It’s a bit like just floating about, and looking, and blinking – and suddenly you have a photograph (such is the extraordinary wonder of a phone camera that doesn’t even feel like a camera) and I can relax into doing this for long minutes at a time, until I’m just happily bumbling about in a sort of visual dream.

I haven’t done nearly enough of this lately and it’s like taking a long drink of cool water when you’re hot and tired and desperately thirsty….

I have a suspicion that all this aimless wandering around gazing at things with an empty mind is probably far more valuable and powerful than it would seem. It’s hard to quantify or describe, but it’s far more than just a way to relax. And long after I’m home again, not just hours or days later but months, even years afterwards, at times a part of me is still out there in the woods, under the trees. Sometimes when I catch myself whirling into wound-up alarm clock mode I remember to pause and grope for stillness and a way back. And occasionally memory will float to the surface in the form of words, which then turn into pictures, which then become once again a kind of dream…..

Raspberries, strawberries,
peaches and cream,
sunlight and shadows
are summer’s sweet dream.

Wandering slowly,
unhurried, through trees;
picking up words as they
fall through the leaves.

Picking up words
and writing this song;
meeting each moment
as it comes along.

Raspberries, strawberries,
peaches and cream,
sunlight and shadows
are summer’s sweet dream.

Extract of Autumn

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It starts with blue. Autumn skies are different from the skies of summer or spring. This is the first ingredient. Then, copper, rust, terracotta, amber and gold, streaked with green – the green of glass bottles, the turquoise of the shallow sea, and the deep blue green of the ocean.

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I start to see these colours when I close my eyes and sometimes dream of them. They feel like perfume, or wine, or freshly ground coffee, or chocolate; I swear I’m absorbing them just by gazing at them. I’m drinking them in.

It’s not enough just to think of them, so I get out my palette and let two colours loose on the page. Phthalo Turquoise and Burnt Sienna spread themselves in brilliant glory and then collide, a confluence of energy swirling and merging, creating currents of soft new colours without names. I’ve stopped thinking; I think I’ve forgotten how to speak. I’m lost in colour.

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What does colour mean to you?

What To Do With All That Fallen Gold

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When the ground is suddenly blanketed in a thick and glorious carpet of golden leaves and the sun is shining, what do you do? Taking photographs sometimes just isn’t enough for me; I had to soak it all up by drawing.

Other people obviously felt the same; I watched a family photo-shoot which was mostly about rolling in leaves, getting buried in leaves, throwing showers of leaves and just lying in mounds of them. And then collecting handfuls of them to take home.
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This is a public park and these are not people that I know, so I wouldn’t have taken photographs of this family – but it seems nobody minds a sketcher. There’s something delightfully reassuring about this. It feels like a moment shared.

Yellow Carpet Treatment

All of a sudden, overnight, the ceiling has become the floor.
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I found myself astonished the way I am by snow – a sudden transformation in great sweeps of colour. Overnight rain brought leaves down in their thousands, and because there was almost no wind they came straight down, falling quietly and settling one on top of another until all the grass and tarmac disappeared and every inch under the trees was carpeted. This –

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became this –

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Under the lime trees I was treading on a multi coloured carpet of every kind of yellow and gold, merging into a glow of russet red under the copper beech.

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Every leaf is a small marvel. I crouched down to explore more closely and then glanced up to see this –

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What more to say? I walked around everywhere smiling, up banks and over lawns normally slippery with mud and wet grass, feeling soft leathery leaves under my feet. No paths visible – just great swathes of colour, undulating waves of copper and gold.

Tomorrow the yellow will have faded a little, and the next day more, and the gold will lose its glow; but because I was there today I saw it, and was amazed.

Colour Catcher

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Every day a little more colour.

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Every moment, change – clouds part suddenly and then close in again; the afternoon draws in. The hour before dusk is a slow gathering of shadows and a ripening of glowing colour.

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I soak it all in. I stand about under the trees and look up, head back, gazing up through the canopy and the next moment I’m crouching down, with leaves rustling like paper bags and the smell of damp earth under me.

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Closer and closer. To get lost in it all, to forget everything else and sink into this colour, this hour, this moment that will never come again.

Fall they will. But not quite yet…

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There should be another name for the season we are in. It’s no longer summer, and it isn’t autumn – something liminal, poised between two states and held waiting in a delicate balancing act of cool misty mornings and golden afternoons.

There won’t be many days like this, so I love them all the more.

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Springclean

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Something about this time of year makes me genuinely want to clean and tidy up. Sweep away the cobwebs – both real ones and the ones in my head – and let in more light by washing windows. It feels good to be able to watch the sun burst through clouds and light up daffodils in the garden without having to peer through smears and rain stains on the glass door.

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I recently did a bit of spring cleaning here on this blog and changed the theme; now I’ve done what was long overdue and re-written my About page – but until today I’d only edited the original and left it as it stood, with all the existing likes and comments. That doesn’t feel quite right, for a re-write, so now I’m publishing it all over again. I want to say thanks to all of you who left such appreciative remarks and gave me a ‘thumbs up’ the first time round; most of you I now read and follow myself and it’s a delight to enjoy such good company.

I hope that wherever you are, Spring comes quickly and brings you warmth, sunshine and flowers (and perhaps even the inclination to take a long, deep breath, get out the feather-duster, and rediscover the joys of spring-cleaning!)

Enjoy!

Reward

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We’re not there yet, not quite. But for me this is the reward for waiting through the long bare winter. Already there are signs; tiny buds that haven’t opened yet. When each one of these breaks open and shows the tiniest amount of green leaf, the whole landscape will change. A shading, a mist of green, the subtlest glaze that will deepen and strengthen every day.

Here, this year, it will come early. We haven’t long to wait.

Weekly photo challenge: Reward