Friday, 23 September 2011

Time out

For the first time in a long time, I've needed some time out today.  My thesis finally approved, about to be bound, one part of my life is finally over, the next about to begin. Right now I feel a bit betwixt and between, weary. I needed a walk out of my normality, just for a while. I needed earth, and trees, and water and green. Believe it or not, this little haven is in Orkney, one of only a few places you can walk under trees and hear the sounds of gushing water. Peaceful and tranquil, I've taken myself off to walk, to think and to reflect.
The way through the unlocked gate led to a whole different world from our normal big skies, predominantly treeless landscape of pasture and moorlands, with uninterupted views of the Atlantic. Here through that gate, the views are very much interupted, green foliage, trees, bark, leaves, lichens, the last vestiages of summer flowers cling on, the smell of earth is rich, each view is fresh, curious and welcoming me forwards. The flowers on this rusty curiosity have taken my eye, intricate and detailed. The object is moss clad, pink pursulane clinging to a corner of its base, trying to find a niche.
As always I'm hungry for the detail, quickly focussing only on the closer view, trying to drink in all the details, I'm impatient, always. I need to stand back and appreciate the bigger picture.
 It shows you so much more. I often forget that. As you step back you see the bigger picture, a collection of old household articles, each interesting. The end of the old stone house is heavily clad with ivy and mosses. Engulfed in a small woodland, a tinge of autumn colour couches the scene beautifully. As the trees turn colour they enhance the beauty of the rusty iron, whilst it unwittingly stands still, nature slowly tries to reclaim it for its own. However, as you're contemplating life, nature and the enormity of it all, you can rely for a comedy dog to pop himself up on the wall, as if by magic and give you a giggle. Well you didnt' expect me to be entirely sensible for the whole post did you?
As if by magic, a peedie dog appears. The moment is all the more enhanced by the moment that it was captured, if rather out of focus (he was not the subject of the shot). How can you endeavour to be serious and contemplate life, your future and your road ahead, when your companion is just too excited to be in a gigantic (by his standards) forest. Right where was I, OK, contemplation and reflection............
 I love this place, the old stones the smell of woodland floor overwhelmes you senses - takes you away from it all. I've needed this respite, its beautiful and peaceful.
 Trees are clad with a myriad of fruitcose lichens and starry mosses, only when I take the time to just look, immersed do I see whats actually infront of me. The beauty of it is breathtaking, I adore plants, over the past four years I've lost a bit of that focus and passion. Lost is the wrong word, its been there, tempered in the background, whilst I focussed on my studies and life took over. I need more balance, we often do, don't we? Funny, its only on reflection, we take time and we can see the lichens, and the trees.
 Fushia flowers add a vibrant pierce of late colour in this very green infused haven. Their height, in places over 10ft tall, trucks gnarled and twisted, I like them very much. They are stalwarts in this climate and when give space to breathe and are couched in shelter, nutured away from the elements, they are very prolifc. And still my constant companion leads the way and waits as I ponder. His colouring suits the forest floor very much don't you think?
 We almble along with the burn (small stream) deafening our ears, smells of autumn all round us. I miss this.
This woodland garden is well bestowed with benches, hiding around corners, tempting you to be still, listen and sit a while, so we did. Moving along a short while after - we near one edge of this haven, the stark hillside is peeping into our view. We aren't ready to leave, so we turn around and we walk the other way.
 Walking along the burn is magical, the feel of the air and the leaves gently rustling all compete with the bubbling, tumbling noise of the rampaging burn, quite full after the downpours we've had lately.
 The garden is a tumble of trees, willow and alder, rowan and ash, hazels and birch carpeted with woodruff (Luzula), red campion, pink purslane and with mosses, lichens and ferns all jostling for thier own special space. I like this place, I feel like I'm amoung old friends, I've not seen in a long while. They are very welcoming. I've missed this feeling. Peace and acceptance.
 I hunker down a while and look at the water, listen to its throaty roar.
 As always I'm distracted by the cloroplasted beasts in my presence. In this instance its thallous liverworts (Marchantia) which have caught my attention vibrant green, lush, dripping with water from the burn.
 As always, as I hunker and take photographs, yabbering to myself - the garden dog looks on, bemused. Thinking I'm jibbering rubbish again as I contemplate latin names, try to identify the cholorplasted beasts in my view, he waits. He's very patient.
Ok. Back to reality - we go back into the garden by the woodland - he allows me a quick snap at some colourful Hypericium berries......
 A lovely late garden sedum................
 Then we close the gate, say good bye to our woodland haven for now and return to our big skies, moorland and lochs. Our more normal skyline returns, I'm more peaceful now, refreshed and recharged.
The crocosmia still in full firey flower, bids us a cheerful farewell and onward journey......................


  1. How beautiful all this was... and wonderful prose too. Thank you. I think I got as much peace and re-charging from it as you, even though it was second hand! And your constant companion not only matches the forest floor and the rusty iron (that you manage to make look like sculpture!), he is virtually camouflaged in there! Glad you feel renewed by this beauty, now if only I could get the scents as well...

  2. Beautiful photographs Fay, I could almost smell the damp earth and moss. Your dog blends in alarmingly well, like one of those "can you spot the" challenges. You are right, we all need to take time to stand back and take stock, and you have had a crazily busy period. What a wonderful place to be able to take a breather.

  3. You have the most appealing wee dog, Fay. I did enjoy a stroll through that tranquil happy place.

  4. This was a beautiful walk with you and your lovely dog, the pictures are fabulous. I remember a wonderful feeling of freedom when my thesis was finally handed in and like you say also a feeling of what next? Have a good weekend x

  5. What a lovely post! :) Damp green places like this woodland are my absolute favourite places to be. They're very recharging and calm. Thanks for taking us on your walk!

  6. That was a lovely diversion. I've read about this place before, in a now archived blogsite, I think! A remarkable achievement, it is/was! And the peedie dug had a fine day out by the look of things - suitably wet and muddyish for his tastes!

  7. Hi Fay, love the pics and peedie dog looked like he was saying 'follow me' and enjoy the journey. Congrats on finally getting there- it has indeed been a long journey, but a fascinating one.

    Gill x

  8. Fay, this post fair took my breath away. What a wonderful oasis amid those big skies. I, too, could smell the earth and feel the damp mist in the air from the stream. The photographs were stunning and I felt as if I was walking into them and alongside you. So you see you did take Me and Moo on a lovely forest walk. I find my peace in the forest amongst the wet earth, the ferns and the crocosmia which, I have to say, is one of my most favourite plants.

  9. Luscious, absolutely luscious.

    Funny to think how I seek the same reflection from your 'usual' landscape. I'm surrounded by trees & when 'it' all gets too much for me, I seek the wide open spaces !

    Thank you,


  10. Oh Fay, how beautiful. All of it. The pictures, the words, Peedie, the tumbledown stone, the plants, the water, all of it. Thank you so much for posting this - I think all of us feel the need for this kind of reflection sometimes, and thank you for letting us share yours.

  11. I loved the walk in the woods. Such a place, with a creek and waterfall and all that stonework. Just beautiful. The images of Peedie were great too. Dogs break my heart, they care so much... But I want especially to congratulate you on the thesis. A huge accomplishment-- Onward!

  12. so fantastic. this has been one of my favorite posts of yours. the prose was lovely. your wee doggie is adorable and a good companion. i liked how you talked about stepping back and seeing the big picture ... how sometimes if we are too close, we don't see the whole thing. very apropos for me right now. a very nice read and it created a wonderful feeling of serenity. i'm glad you could spend some time there.

  13. Jts thank you. It's how I feel right now. I've looked so closely at one project/goal (species) I hope you get to stand back too.....I'm glad you enjoyed the serenity. I'm lucky happy valley (the woodland) is very close to my home. Thanks again

  14. Peedie is very patient linnew, he's sat close by throughout the write up sometimes til the wee small hours, we are truly lucky eith beaches all around and woodlands tucked by. Thanks!

  15. Jan it's gorgeous isn't it, so unlike here and just such a triumph of his hard work. Funny how I reflect in such a close space, exactly how lula says, you often crave your opposite norm. I'm glad you enjoyed this special place. X

    Cheri it's ne of my favourite plants, glad you came with us I enjoyed you coming. The earth smelt gorgeous.

    Gilibob he was plsying running and hiding, inbetween waiting poor lamb

  16. Yer actual, ta there the peedie dug likes a change of scene. Loved your past couple posts, gorgeous! Happy valley is n amazing achievement - he worked so hard. Ta for popping past.

    Sproutling, woodlands are very special, for all the senses. Very calming

    B-a-g ta, the vision that chap has was inspiring - the water is part of a home made hydro scheme - fantastic!

    Frank it's a feeling of freedom and loss really isn't it? Glad you liked the walk!

  17. Um I meant fran, not Frank!

    Janet the peedie pup is a right scalliwag. nice to take you back to that happiest of vallies x

    Janet me dear, he is a spot the og challenge isn't he. Once the binding gas been done I can rest. But, finally I can put the files away, close the willow books and *enjoy* the next stage. Thanks xx

    Time sculptor thank you, blogs by smell wouldn't that be a bit great mostly! Glad you enjoyed.

  18. Thanks or the lovely comments on Friday I needed a break, recharge and a re look at life. The mans (Harold) garden is amazing tucked in this climate. I'm very lucky.

    Thanks gin!

  19. An unexpected and surprising treat Fay, and so beautifully photographed. I haven't visited the Orkney's but I doubt if this could be achieved in the Shetlands even further north.

  20. I find that running water always brings a sense of calm, I could fall asleep listening to it. What a cutey that little peedie pup is.

  21. How or why do the trees grow there? Is it a sheltered valley? Liverworts have a tactile inviting quality. Only see them in greenhouse pots in our climate!

  22. Love your crocosmia picture - just beautiful. :)

  23. These photos brought back memories of my former home on the west coast of Canada. Your descriptions brought back memories of similar walks in the forest. Beautiful photographs and what a delightful face your dog has.

  24. Alistair it's gorgeous isn't it. Shetland has one or two choice neuks too (rosa steppanovas's garden is amazing) but here in Orkney it's a gorgeous spot.

    Jo running water and calm are happy companions. Peedie requires a haircut, he brought half the forest home.....

  25. Denine thank you for popping in. Crocosmia is a true stalwart here. Nice blog you have too!

    Marguerite - west Canada is a place I hope to visit one day. The dog has got away with much mischief with that face.

  26. If I die and get a chance to come back. I want to come back as your dog. Pretty please!