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Quote for the Day : Go Outside

“…Go outside.
Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone.
Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see.
We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice.
Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t.
Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t.
And that’s the point.
Just walk, see, sit down if you like.
And be.
Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have,
and realise that that is enough to be happy.

There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window.
You’d be a fool to miss it…”

— Charlotte Eriksson

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Quote for the Day : Stronger and Stranger

“…My kids are starting to notice I’m a little different from the other dads. “Why don’t you have a straight job like everyone else?” they asked me the other day.  I told them this story:

In the forest, there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. Every day, the straight tree would say to the crooked tree, “Look at me…I’m tall, and I’m straight, and I’m handsome. Look at you…you’re all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you.” And they grew up in that forest together. And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, “Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest.” So the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber and toothpicks and paper. And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day…”

-― Tom Waits

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Lake Lovely

When I am feeling energetic (and, quite often, when I am not) I go walking after work.  I wish I could say I am diligent and do this every day, but I would be a liar.  I usually manage about three times a week, which is a bit pathetic, but it’s better than nothing.  This is what I tell myself anyway.

Some afternoons I go walking along the beach, which is lovely and scenic and blows the cobwebs of the workday away;  most days, however, I walk around the local lake, which is on my way home and provides me with a nice, easy, 3.5km route.

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Because I am generally quite lazy, it is good to have a circular route to walk – it means I just keep going until I get back to where I started.  I don’t have to think about it.  I don’t get tempted to turn around and head back either.  The lake also has multiple paths; some of them meander through the bush so you can jog a bit and no one can see you ha ha.  I don’t run in public unless I can be sure I don’t have witnesses.  No one needs to see that.

The lake is populated by LOTS of birdlife.  Swans, ducks, moorhen, and herons, as well as my favourite, the pelicans, and some long-necked tortoises, which I am yet to spot.

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As it is breeding season for many of the birds, there are cute, fluffy bundles of downy joy dotted around the lake, following their parents around and getting up to mischief.  There are plenty of reeds and other plant life to provide happy nesting spots and hideaways for the vulnerable babies.

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I am dying to see some cygnets.  I love the black swans – they are so majestic and beautiful.  There are a couple at the lake that have allowed me to get quite close – sometimes they waddle up to me of their own accord.  During breeding season, they can become a little bit aggressive and protective of their offspring, which is totally understandable.  It’s best to keep your distance at those times and give them their space.  Even if you do want to run headlong into those gorgeous, grey, fluffy cygnets and squeeze them in an adoring cuddle.  It’s not really recommended.

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There are also lots of cormorants.  I adore them.  Those funny webbed feet!  The fluffy, shaggy feathers on their plump bellies and chest!  The almost bat-like wings!  The way they dry themselves in the sun, holding up their wings like laundry!  The way they hiss at me when I get too close and annoy them with my photo-taking! 🙂

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The lone egret is a tricky individual to photograph.  He doesn’t like being bothered and you can’t get too close before he flies off.  It could also be because I have mistakenly been calling him a heron, and he’s not.  I have offended him and now he doesn’t want a bar of me, or my camera.  So all my shots of him are blurry (because I am far away and have zoomed my camera in).  It’s very inconsiderate of him, to be honest.

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Towards sunset, the lake takes on a magical quality.  I tend to keep stopping to take photos, which is not really making efficient use of my exercise time, but hey, the sky and water is so pretty at night!  It’s hard to take a bad photo, to be honest.

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I am always on the lookout for new places to walk ; it’s nice to have a change of scenery and some different landscapes/wildlife to look at.  The lake, for now, remains one of my favourites.  Easy to get to, easy parking, lots of people around (for safety’s sake) and lots of lovely birdies for me to photograph.  I am lucky to have these spaces to utilise and enjoy, and get that much-needed exercise.  That egret will just have to get used to me because I’m going to keep coming back 🙂

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Winter is Coming (and why I’m not going to complain about it so much this year)

I hate Winter.  I have said this many, many times.  I hate it so much that now, when it is actually still Autumn, I am already complaining and wearing scarves and boots and generally walking around being miserable with a definite case of SAD.  I hate that I have to wear trousers and jeans – ugh!  I hate that my fingers ache and my nose is red and I can’t feel my toes.  I hate that my hair goes from being a bit mad, to downright mental and ridiculous.  I spend several months looking like a drowned, frizzy rat.

I hate that the mornings are so cold and dark, and getting up is not only miserable but confusing (Body : Why are we getting out of bed?  It’s pitch black outside – surely it is not morning yet, you stupid girl!). I hate that everyone else whinges about the heat in Summer (which lasts for about three seconds, as opposed to Winter which lasts FOREVER!!!) and “enjoys” the cooler days.  Bah humbug to them, I say!

But then, after the events of this week in Manchester,  I stopped hating Winter quite so much.  Because I’m sure that all of the parents that lost children in that attack would trek through snow and ice, in bare feet, carrying the weight of the world on their back, just to see their loved ones again.  I’m cold – they’ve lost a child.  There’s no contest there.  Teenagers and adults also lost their lives – they will never feel the sting of Winter again, never get to complain about cold feet or rain-frizzed hair, never get to snuggle up with the people they love and enjoy a hot cup of tea.

The world is so scary right now.  I don’t know how it will ever get better.  And, although we are all focused on Manchester right now, there are of course incidents like this happening all over the world, in many different countries, and we tend to become jaded and desensitised about it, especially when it isn’t happening in our own backyard.  People live with this kind of terror every single day, for years on end, and it barely gets reported or, if it does, it comes somewhere down the list below some football team winning a championship and Taylor Swift’s latest relationship.

I don’t claim to know anything about politics, religion, or world affairs, or much about anything, really.  I tend to not watch the news because it’s so dreadfully depressing and upsetting.  I find myself just NOT WANTING TO KNOW.  Which is bad, I know, but I feel helpless and sad and anxious when I see/hear things I can’t do anything about.  And nowhere feels safe anymore.  And I have little people in my life who are just starting out and I fear for them so much.  I just pray that they are the change the world needs to see.  I have to believe that their beautiful spirits and hearts can make things better.

I don’t know where I am going with this post.  My heart hurts and I am just feeling cold, inside and out, and Winter cannot be blamed this time.

Be kind to one another.  Be understanding.  Show tolerance and acceptance and empathy.  We have to stop this happening over and over again.

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