The Garden At Dawn

32159605_238834490195299_9188063003340177408_nThe garden always calls to me as the sun rises – no matter what season of the year. There is a particular sort of magic to be found in the very air as the old ways and Mother magic crackles and fizzes before the rest of the world wakes.

There is a wildness, a connection, as I step barefoot onto the grass – left slightly longer, as I prefer it, since to me there is beauty to be seen in something as small as a blade of grass, equal to that of any majestic forest, wild moor or rocky seashore.

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Instantly as my bare feet touch the dew wet grass I feel it, I feel the connection, plugging into the universal grid of Life and Love. Everything is crystalline clear and touched with enchantment, everything growing as Mother Earth calls to her children to wake.

The tulips are past their best, now, but still have the mesmeric effect of a Monet painting, splashes of colour, their edges bleeding into one another. A delicate fragrance is lifted on the air, late daffodils, which surprised me with their scent.

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The sky is blue and very, very still. A slap of a fishtail reaches my ears from the pond which also startles the frogs into wakeful croaking, subtly different in tone to the toads. There is a busyness, a life to the pond, filled with tadpoles and baby fish, thriving in the rich water.

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The cats have woken up and followed me out, Charlie picking her way cautiously across the wet grass to jump and roll on the bench. The others, less fastidious, run to me and flop at my feet, Ting waving her legs in the air and “Wah”-ing. A jackdaw cackles overhead and the cats as one crouch, ears flattened to their heads as they follow its flight path across our garden.

The spell is broken, as faintly, traffic noise begins as the rest of the world stirs. I take a step back and re-enter my one-ness, temporarily separated from the Universal, but aware always. And Love. Always.

Trees.

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I do love a good tree… I don’t actually have any of any great size in my garden, other than the apple tree which my partner lovingly grew from a pip about twenty years ago.

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Its apples are horrible, but the flowers are beautiful, and I love the goodness, the symbolism of my apple tree. It has had many a wish made on its branches, and next year, in the Spring, it will have Tibetan prayer flags draped around it.

Trees are inherently symbolic and packed full of meaning – just look at the Tree of Life. I feel the bareness of tree branches in Winter, reaching out their empty arms and pleading with Mother Nature to return soon with their leafy covering…

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There is something very primitive about walking through a wood in Summer, harking back to our lives centuries ago, when the first upright walkers left the safety of the trees for the open plains.

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Every step taken through these enclaves of trees is a passage to the past when Mankind was far more intimately connected to the cycles of Mother Earth. Our lives have been entwined with trees like ivy round a trunk… they provided shelter, fuel, symbols, myths and legends.

Every time I see this tree I fully expect the Green Man to be just around the other side…

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There is a stark beauty too, woods in winter, naked, bare and beseeching reaching up to the sky, the very heavens, Nature’s own cathedrals; while down below their roots grip Mother Earth secretly, drawing hidden life to the surface.

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Another bridge, another link in Life, chapter in this Book … And when all is bleak and bare, there is comfort to be found in the promise of returning Life.

Butterfly Brain…

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Oh God… why can’t I breathe – what’s that awful smell of catfood doing in the bed – Tooty! GET OFF! Don’t dribble on me…

Good morning girlies! Are you ready for breakfast – I know a song about that – No? Ok, Mummy won’t sing then…who left me the dead mouse? Lily, you shouldn’t have – no really I mean that!

Right…let’s get organised. Kettle on- teabag in, tea done. . . .Aaah. Best drink of the day… now, if I could just have a cigarette to go with it – NO! NO! Don’t think like that, Samantha, it’s been over a year now – disgusting. Filthy habit…

Let’s get dressed. Please get out of the wardrobe Ting… Oh my God – who’s chewed the corner of the door?? I mean, really? Like you don’t have enough toys?

Teeth cleaned, someone’s been in the sink, muddy pawprints everywhere – fab. If only mud were the new black… bet there’s a blog post in there somewhere… must remember to get more toothpaste…hope that offer’s still on… wonder if Alex needs anything getting, although it’s not as if they don’t have shops there…

I’ll have to get catfood from there next week as Nottingham seems to have stopped selling their brand… Going out girlies! Be good, guard the house, Charlie, don’t be a bully.

Dammit!! Nearly got run over – hate this crossing… crossing between two worlds… heheh… bet there’s a story in there…ooh! Pretty kitty, hi! Bus, up or down… oh actually I’ll go upstairs, the coughing man’s there – crap! Nearly fell down the stairs…

Oh dear, how can I tell Mum I don’t really like pasta… I hope Alex likes pasta considering I bought him a bag the size of a small child to keep him going…wonder what he might like for Christmas…

I know what the cats want anyway… I’m not getting them any more of those catnip mice, it sounds like they’re hurling rocks around in the front room when they play with them…

We all have some sort of internal monologue that runs in the background like an open app while we go about our daily business. This is a sample of mine… I never really realised what junk I think to be honest. My mother calls it Butterfly Brain, Alex calls it Being Blonde… upon reflection, I think maybe my mind is like a rubbish dump – and I’m still looking for that elusive hidden gem..!

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Taking Electricity For Granted…

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My plasma ball – these are clear glass balls filled with noble gases and a high voltage electrode in the middle. When electricity is supplied, these beams of coloured light are created

We had a series of little power cuts a few months ago. Now, this didn’t bother me too much, as it was summer, and if you have pen and paper you can write pretty much anywhere. However, the goings on in the street were quite amusing to listen to …

One by one, house alarms started to go off. My partner’s mother was screaming because she didn’t know how to turn her alarm off, next door’s kid was yelling because his computer had gone off… in a matter of minutes, the whole infrastructure of the street had been compromised.

It’s so dark!” “Burglars’ll be round..” (cue screaming from my partner’s mother..) “I didn’t save my level!” My most pressing concern was the freezer, although there wasn’t actually that much in it.

But it just gave me pause for thought, about just how dependant we really are on our ability to create light and power at the flick of a switch. Granted, electricity has been around for, well, for ever, and early humans even managed to utilise it in the Baghdad Batteries – although these are now more commonly thought of as a rudimentary method of electroplating – but I bet William Gilbert never thought his discovery would become a mainstay of modern society.

I noticed, for example, just how really dark it is in the countryside. There is still some relatively unspoilt countryside between here and Loughborough, when I go to visit Alex, that is quite pleasant to pass through. It was dark, though, last time I came home on the bus … A primitive kind of blackness, only illuminated for a few feet in front of us as we travelled down these narrow country lanes in our juggernaut of a bus, speeding centuries into the future…

Any big city has a permanent glow of electricity around it, so true darkness is very rarely seen, due to this light pollution. I remember the power cuts of the seventies… mainly because my father couldn’t find the candles in the cupboard under the stairs and banged his head, swearing loudly and expressively…

it’s quite scary in a way, to think just how helpless we would be if our power supply was threatened… I must go and Google how to make a generator –

B*&%$r!! The electricity’s gone off…

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Thank Yous and Thoughts

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We don’t say thank you enough, nowadays, I feel… for someone opening the door for you, for even just receiving your change at the shop… I need to say some thank yous… Marje of Kyrosmagica has nominated me for the Hidden Gem Blog of the Blogger’s Bash, a very kind thought. Please do go and have a look at her blog – you might find a familiar face there… Lily, doing some promotion work for Marje’s book, out this summer – [Here is the link if you would like to see what the Blogger’s Bash is about, as organised by Sacha Black…]

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Also… we need to give thanks in the sense of feeling gratitude for the gifts we have and the world we live in – it’s a beautiful place after all.

As always, I would like to thank anyone who has been kind enough to stop by for a read, a like or a subscribe. Your interest is much appreciated and comments always welcome. xx

THANKS

Charlie says: “Be nice!”

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💕 Cheerio! 💕

Moonstone and Meanderings…

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Moonstone is another crystal to which I am particularly drawn. Usually connected to the potential for new beginnings and a fresh start it is obviously linked to the Moon and her cycles. I value Moonstone for its physical reminder that change is a way of Life, part of a pattern that we need to accept.

Moonstone mirrors the calm serenity of the Moon herself and is emotionally calming whilst promoting intuition.

I have several pieces of Moonstone and it is also one of the birthstones of myself and my son, and I found it especially resonant in November, perhaps answering the call of the Super Moon…

My various coloured pieces bring to mind the relationship between Moon and Earth, Day and Night, this cream piece reminding me of Mother Earth herself, the whole of her creation bound within a golden network of ley lines and old ways, that those who can, still use, blurring the lines between the 21st century and our past when we lived so much closer to the Earth and were more ready to listen to what she had to share.

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I’m not fond of winter – I was born in July – but it is at this time of year I sometimes feel closest to Mother Earth as she is laid bare, frosty bones exposed and stripped of summer finery.

These wintry November mornings we have recently been blessed with are clear, cold and sharp, a powdering of frost delicately decorating exposed earth and furrows, Mother Earth in her naked glory, Crone of the year’s age and experience, Spring Maiden and Summer Mother temporarily laid to rest for another year …

There is a sense of wildness at this time of year, an almost mediaeval connection, bringing to mind the great ancient forests where wolves and wildcats freely roamed and wild boar searched for roots.

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Coils of early morning mist drift across the garden, as I watch the Sun rise, gently moving aside the night to make way for dawn in shades of frozen peach and delicate blue, while ice crystals streak the sky and touch the garden with silvered magic.

I half-expect to hear the crackle of a log fire, in a time slip moment of looking back when we didn’t have the luxuries of central heating or hot water at the flick of a switch, When nothing was certain but we accepted the changing of the seasons and adapted to what there was, the slow-burning energy of carbohydrates instead of the quick sugars of Spring.

My black Moonstone brings to mind the cold clarity of the Winter Solstice skies, the dark velvet mantle of night drawn across Mother Earth’s aching bones as she rests and gathers energy for the year ahead.

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Moonstone reminds us there is no fear to be had in the seeming dark night of the soul; it’s just another stage, a transition in this life, completing the journey of those who went before…

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Tooty’s Tale

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Tooty had a… confused start in life. She is Ting’s sister, no doubt about that as they share a bond of sibling affection that I don’t see between Charlie and Lily, even though they’ve known each other since they were a couple of months old. How we found them is the subject of an earlier post: ‘The Finding of Kittens’, but although Ting’s place in our family was assured – my partner knew of my secret, long-held desire for a Siamese – Tooty, as a black cat was held as being surplus to requirements in my partner’s opinion. Besides which, we already had a black cat, little Lily, the dainty, pretty murderess who had captured my partner’s heart with her killing charm.

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However, I loved Tooty the moment I saw her for her bravery. She was the first one to leave the safety of the hedge for an unknown future with us. I had absolutely no intention of separating the sisters. I just never mentioned it. So she stayed, and I say a ‘confused’ start to life with us since we were convinced she was a tom, and actually called her Derek for her first few months of living with us.

She grew and developed into a black cat with a charm and beauty of her own. She doesn’t have the fragile prettiness of Lily, rather the sleek, powerful lines of the traditional parlour panther. She is the only cat I have with eyes the colour of Citrine or Amber, depending on the light… a proper witch’s cat but she has the temperament of a particularly cuddly marshmallow.

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Like all my girls, I took her to the vet to be spayed, however, she did develop a chest infection after, and although it cleared up after antibiotics, it has left her with the tendency to snore. And I mean snore. A real roof rattling reverberation… Her meow is quite funny too. She’s not the most talkative of cats, unlike Charlie or Ting, but when she does meow, it’s more a croaky “Wah!” sound. A bit like a goose. Tooty “Brrrp’s” a lot though.

Brp! Hi, I’m here,”

BRPP! I didn’t see you there, you scared me!”

Brp-wah… sure it’s feeding time…”

Tooty has the most wonderful purr though, a deep, melodic soothing rumble. She likes to cuddle in the bed next to you and will lie, legs in the air, so you can stroke her chest, eyes blissfully closed, purring away like a little motor.

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She and her sister, Ting, still play together as well – sometimes a little too roughly and the fur tufts fly. It’s soon forgotten though, as they greet each other affectionately with a tender lick between the ears.

So. Despite having a duplicate of colour in cats, Tooty brings her own special qualities to my feline fur family. She is loving and affectionate, a confident panther who stalks the rooms of my house, “brrrping” and throwing catnip mice around…

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Trapped

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She was the most beautiful thing in the world to him. She couldn’t believe her luck when he looked at her and chose her. He made her feel special with his attention, as he paraded her in front of his friends, remarked upon her intelligence and complimented her.

Previously unliked by men and women both, she bloomed under his guidance. The few friends she had carefully cultivated, the ones who liked her kindness and welcomed her company did not meet his standards. Under his secret sneers and uncomprehending gaze they lost heart and withered away from her. Puzzled but happy, she accepted their gradual withdrawal and instead immersed herself in her new love.

She joyfully signed away her independence, trusting to her new love to keep her safe. The door of his house closed behind her, implacably, impermeable, impregnable.

She quickly learned. A place for everything and everything in its place. Clean and tidy by nature, she realised she must not clean and tidy, without first informing him of her intentions and replacing things exactly where they were. She quickly learned. Fond of reading and music, she realised she must not read in his presence as he required her full attention, every minute of every day. She restrained her love of music until she knew she was alone in the house, and danced, summoning the joy she dimly remembered from months past.

Her intelligence, once an asset, became a burden. Once praised, now ridiculed. She quickly learned. She stifled independent thought and individual opinion. Crushed them down until they crumbled away. Told she was stupid, she began to believe. Told she was untrustworthy, she began to doubt. Told she was pathetic, she began to die.

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Labradorite and… oh yes all right then, Labradors

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I was initially attracted to this wonderful stone by its colour. I came across it at my son’s lovely crystal lady’s stall, where her partner gave me a large freeform to hold. The iridescence of it is like capturing a rainbow in your hands, the vibe from it is something else altogether. Holding it was a bit like a scene from a sci-fi film… a low powerful throb and a picture in my mind’s eye of the deep, cold depths of the Universe, relieved by the flashes of colour, heavenly blues and golds, the warmth of pinks and purples… it’s quite a stone.

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It is also known as the ‘Actor’s Stone’, possibly why my son is drawn to it, but I must confess I find it a little overwhelming. Maybe I’m just shallow… but I find that I am rather more drawn to its gentler cousin, Moonstone. Both are types of Feldspar and its layered formation is what gives these crystals their iridescence.

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Labradorite is, then, a very mystical stone that connects with the Light but also offers protection of the highest order, by creating a barrier to deflect negative energy whilst sealing positivity in.

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Labradorite manages to be both grounding and uplifting … it can raise consciousness to increase awareness of spiritual purposes and simultaneously harness this energy within you, within the physical body. It can be a comforting stone for as it opens the door to unfamiliar territory, such as the awakening of psychic gifts, it will also banish your own fears and insecurities. It can calm and order a busy mind and infuse you with purpose to carry through changes in lifestyle and circumstances – a comfort blanket for the consciousness, if you will …

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This crystal was originally found in Labrador, in Canada, hence its name. Like the dog. Not one of my favourite breeds, although I find something to like in most dogs, I’m pretty impartial.

My mother had a memorable encounter with a Labrador… to be fair, the following incident was more the fault of the owner, than the actual dog. During the course of her dog walking adventures, my mother has met a wide range of dogs and owners. There is one particular example she now tries to avoid … Labradors and older men.

Erin is impeccably behaved, when out with my mother. She is obviously aware that my mother is older and smaller and more fragile than me… we seem to run a lot… but with my mother she does perfect recalls, will only go a limited distance from her and generally acts as though she is in the Champions ring at Crufts.

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This owner seems to have absolutely no idea of how to be with a dog, how to make it respond to him or even simply to do as he asks it. It’s not a vicious dog, although it is unsafe. Unsafe by the fact it runs in front of the maintenance tractors, unsafe in the way it approaches other dogs when their owners are clearly uncomfortable. Basically, his dog is a nuisance. Some of the other walkers and owners have pointed this out to him, but he has done little, and I can see it ending badly…

However. On this present morning the Labrador took advantage of its owner’s inattention to run over to my mother and fling itself against her legs. Hard. Now, my mother is an older lady, she’s only small, this dog is quite large and heavy. It BROKE her leg. My mother didn’t know this – she’s very stubborn, and returned home limping and cursing, a worried Erin by her side.

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She told me all this when I saw her later that day.

Mum, you should really go to the doctor at least, and have it checked out.”

Don’t be stupid, Samantha, I’ll be fine, I’ll just put a tubigrip on it.”

Here, I would like to say that my mother used to be a nurse… It took three weeks for me to persuade her to have her leg looked at. Her painkiller consumption was worryingly high, and after one morning where she looked particularly small and angry with pain, I said:

No. I can’t bear it. We’re going to the hospital. I’m ringing for a taxi…”

No! I’m not paying taxi fare, it’s horrendously expensive! We’ll get the bus…”

The conclusion to this story is … yes. My mother’s shin bone was fractured. I couldn’t believe it and actually took a picture of the x-ray. On the plus side, it had nearly healed. She was extremely lucky, the doctor pointed out, that she was so fit for her age – there could have been all sorts of horrible complications. She left with an air cast and crutches:

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I’m taking this bloody cyborg boot off as soon as we get back. I can’t walk in this, it’s far too heavy!”

But Mum, you heard what the doctor said –”

Don’t be stupid, Samantha, it’s practically healed! I’ll just put a bandage on it, I have to go shopping tomorrow…”

She’s fully recovered now. Erin hates that Labrador though. Mum must have smelled ‘hurt’ after coming into contact with it and Erin is aware that the Labrador was the cause of that hurt. It stays away from them, now. Erin doesn’t growl or bark at it, she’s not that sort of dog. She just… looks. I’ve seen her do it.

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Animals are definitely capable of sending and interpreting subtle communications… Now, when my mother takes Erin out for her walks, she always takes her mobile phone, just in case. She has firmly dismissed my efforts to make her carry a piece of Labradorite with her… (“Don’t be stupid, Samantha!”)

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Curried Beans and Catfood

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I’m not the world’s best shopper. I don’t really care for buying clothes (although I have a weakness for shoes) and I absolutely HATE food shopping. However, when I do have to visit the supermarket, I believe I have the right to expect them to stock a few not unreasonable essentials… I’m not asking for exotic delicacies from far flung corners of the world… I JUST WANT CURRIED BEANS AND CATFOOD.

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Now my partner is a man of simple dietary tastes, but he does enjoy a tin of curried beans, either on toast or perhaps a nice jacket potato… Personally I don’t see the point, they look like your average baked beans with a few raisins added; but my partner likes them so I always like to have a few tins in for him. However, I have recently noticed that the familiar blue-purple labelled tin is becoming more and more elusive. Indeed, it has disappeared from the shelves of my native supermarket altogether. I am forced to forage further afield…

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Let me return to catfood first. Now. I have an ongoing silent war of catfood with my four girls. They have a mix of wet and dry food from the same company. I’m never entirely happy with wet food, as a lot of the colourings are from caramels – not good for cat teeth, and you can never be 100% sure where the actual meat comes from.. As obligate carnivores, cats NEED meat. I don’t mind that. Not at all, despite my son’s vegetarianism and my almost vegetarianism. It’s the pickiness that bothers me… how can two sachets of the SAME flavour from the SAME box be acceptable one day and then tantamount to poison later on in the SAME day ? I have tried cooking for them, proper, approved recipes and upon proudly presenting my culinary masterpiece the response has been:

“Oh. You cooked. You shouldn’t have. No – REALLY – you shouldn’t have.”

Herein lies the problem… the preferred brand of catfood is slowly becoming extinct. Perhaps it needed curried beans to reproduce and as the curried beans are dying out, inevitably the symbiosis of catfood and curried beans is suffering… I have ranged far and wide in my hunt for these provisions and I was fortunate enough one day to find a little, protected pocket of natural environment… giving ‘more reasons’ to shop around!

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