Back at the start of February when we had a slither of snow, though some would call it a nightmarish blizzard, I stopped on my way to work and took this photograph. Best to click and enlarge it to see how good it looks.
Since then I’ve cultivated a sort of relationship with this lonely tree.
I pass it twice a day to and from work. There’s a small layby where I park up and snap a few shots, gaze across the fields and enjoy a moment of peace after a hectic office session. I take a lot of landscape photos around where I live, although some are not all that inspiring, Norfolk is kinda flat and you have to travel afar to see any drastic change in geology – hope that’s the right word.
I’ve started uploading some of my better shots to Flikr (check the link at the top of the page) mainly of my travels around Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. I’ve just checked through my photo on my PC, dating back to 2002, and was surprised to find almost 5,000 of them! That’s a lot of photos! God bless digital cameras eh!
So, back to the tree.
In recent weeks the landscape has been transformed, from snow drenched wasteland to brown wasteland and finally to an oasis of colour. This time of year farmers here grow a serious amount of rapeseed and the dazzling yellow colour is stunning. It’s like something out of Wizard of Oz – almost cartoon like, and set against the greenery it feels surreal.
After a few weeks of hard rain the sun came out today.
On my way home I drove with the windows down, sunglasses on, and radio blaring as I chased cloud shadows along the road. I pulled over at the tree and watched pools of sunlight roll across the fields and knew it was perfect timing to snap a photo of my silent wooden pal. Again, it’s well worth clicking to view it larger.
What a difference!
Despite the tree not sharing in nature’s bloom I get the impression it’s happy to be surrounded by a rampant flood of colour. Rapeseed grows very fast, a couple of weeks ago there wasn’t a yellow flower in sight. It gets pretty tall too, I was stood on the edge of the field and the happy sunflower wannabes came up to my chest.
I wonder if the tree could talk it would let me know if it’s happy. I think it is. Now that colour has chased away the barren bleak winter palette.
I had a feeling the tree spoke to me:
“Wonderful to see you again, traveller, thanks for stopping by. As you can see I’m doing just fine on this glorious day. The clouds are racing and the sun is warming my branches. I tip my hat to you, traveller, and thank you for pausing a moment. Same time tomorrow?”
To which I replied:
“A moment is enough to cleanse my head of a busy day. A moment is enough to let the cool breeze, summer sun and tangy mellow yellow chase away the modern world…but never enough to keep it at bay. So yes, tree, same time tomorrow, if it please ya.”
It’s a good conversation.
Held in silence. Held in private with an audience of natures finest creations. Many of us spend way too much time hooked up to modern-day paraphernalia and for me this is a stop-gap method of lowering the background noise of everything busy, noisy and fast. I love technology – the internet, Blu-ray, text messaging and on-demand everything, yet I long for a life without feeling it’s necessary to be a slave to the modern world. So those quiet moments are like stepping into a bubble of joy, where the rest of the world fades away, leaving me alone with my tree.
I hope that didn’t come across as too deep or too hippy but it’s the best way to describe it. It’s the same feeling I get when I need to go to the beach. Not want, need. It’s a strange connected feeling, knowing there’s more out there than a car, tv, noise and confusion. This is going to sound weird because I’m not one for spiritual stuff, but it’s like my spirit/soul/inner light, call it what you like, needs to released once in a while.
Like washing my spirit in a mountain spring.
Or an addict looking for a fix, I yearn for a hit of a vast open space – countryside or ocean. There’s a sudden uplifting sensation, like a shadow shifting away from my spirit. It’s like I’m having my essence washed clean by nature. I love it. My friends are always surprised when I say I’d gladly trade everything I have for a bit of beach, a hut, fishing net, boat and something to write on – pad and pencil will do just fine. I don’t need the modern world. Maybe I was born in the wrong era.
I crave peace. Not necessarily solitude but somewhere without modern garbage.
I took a few shots in different directions to try to capture how much of the landscape is swamped in this beautiful happy yellowness. It stretches out in all directions for several miles. It’s a shame it doesn’t stay like that all summer, but soon the rapeseed will lose its yellow flare and change to a sea of green.
And so I returned home.
To bricks and mortar, to being surrounded by electronic gadgets, noise and all the modern-day demands that don’t sit well with my nature. It may look hypocritical that after dousing myself in peace, with such talk of exchanging all that I have and all that I am, for a life without chaos – that I blog about it. Just like you I am a slave. But I have a good reason today.
I wanted to share this experience with you, dear blog reader, in the hope that you too will find your moment of peace, and enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of your 24/7 life.
Maybe one day I’ll find my bit of beach, wherever that may be. I hope you can find yours. Until then I have my tree.
Thank you tree.
What does the word “inspiration” mean to you?
Does it conjure up images of an artist sloshing paint across a canvass? Monet perhaps, inspired by the play of light on water and the dream-like colours of the flowers. Or a writer inspired to pen a story about a real life event, and in turn potentially inspiring countless more who read their words.
How about a lonesome musician scribbling notes across a page above a worn out piano? Elton John was inspired to sing Candle in the Wind because of the life of Marilyn Monroe. Many associate that song with Princess Diana, and no doubt it continues to inspire people every time it’s played.
Maybe something less glamorous?
An ordinary person going out of their way to help an elderly neighbour in the winter because they saw post sticking out of their letter box.
Mundane right? Not really if you consider how that person was inspired by the letters. Why are they still there? Why hasn’t my neighbour collected them? Maybe something is wrong. I should investigate. I am inspired to help.
You don’t have to be a “creative type” to be inspired.
As a writer I am inspired by the beautiful world around me. But those slithers of positivity aren’t limited to words on my screen. If you read my post Christmas Cheer – The Big Issue Guy, where I wrote about helping out a homeless guy with a hot meal, you’ll see that inspiration can strike in the most unexpected places. Pay it forward – a simple and effective moral I like to keep in my mind at all times.
I think of inspiration as a brief connection to something or someone. How the connection is made isn’t important, physical, mental, spiritual, it can have a profound effect on your outlook on life or be as simple as checking on your neighbour or a stranger in need.
So where do we find our inspiration?
I’d like to introduce you to a website called Pure Inspiration – www.pure-inspiration.co.uk which is all about capturing how and why inspiration is important to us all.
It would mean a lot to me if you could hop over there and have a look around, fill in the guest book and soak up some pure positivity.
Pure Inspiration has been designed by my sister, Leigh. She is currently on maternity leave after popping out baby #2. Whilst away from work she decided to improve her skills by joining a web design course. Pure Inspiration is much more than a web design project for her, it captures the essence of who she is.
As we travel the journey of life we meet many different people, from dull lifeless husks who seem to live in a bubble of grey and pessimism, to those vibrant characters that shine so bright they dazzle. I often wonder if everyone could see the energy aura that surrounds us all whether people would reach for their sunglasses when they see my sister.
Let me paint you a picture.
Think of people as pure energy. You walk down the street and look with your true eyes. Here and there you see people who shine, a shimmering mirage of colour that surrounds and radiates from them – these people wear a rainbow suit. They are so very different from the weak grey cloud that lingers around others. That isn’t to say the grey people shun positivity, they simply show it at different times, or maybe they seldom lower their defences and open up to the world.
My sister shines.
I’ve not had the privilege to meet many people who dazzle and inspire like my sister. One blogging pal stands out from the crowd, Joss Burnel at The Crowing Crone.
She shines. And like my sister she walks in beauty.
Like Joss, my sister believes in the power of positive thought. It shows. I figure I have a decent outlook on life, I’m patient, smiling, thoughtful and offer support to anyone who needs it. But my sister takes all of these aspects and many more and blends them together with ease to shine with such force that even a text or five-minute phone call from her is enough to lift me for a week.
2012 – Doom & Gloom or are we mistaken?
When I told my sister I was going to blog about her new website, she asked me to mention the Mayan calendar and how we might be looking at it the wrong way. She said she’d read somewhere that the doomsday scenario that surrounds this much documented event isn’t about the end of times but the start of something better. Something the Mayans couldn’t or wouldn’t speak about.
I guess there could be something there. Isn’t it possible that the Mayan calendar ends not because they foresaw the end of the world but because it was the end of the bad times. Obviously it’s easy for anyone to jump on the bandwagon and spin yarns about the end of days because bad news sells. In the movie 2012 we see the world forever changed. There are countless books and documentaries that warn of an apocalyptic event. It’s scary, exciting and captivating.
The sceptic in me thinks: “Meh, yeah right, an ancient civilisation really had that sort of power? Not likely. Their calendar probably stopped due to famine or natural disaster, no great mystery there.”
Even so, I like the idea of the world-changing on December 21st 2012 but not in a bad way. Perhaps it means a shift toward a more positive perspective. Considering how war and destruction loves to ravage the world it seems unlikely that something BIG can suddenly change it all, but hey, you never know! And maybe even a shared vision of a twist toward peace and positivity is enough to cause ripples that lead to a profound change in the future.
This post is dedicated to my sister, Leigh, and her website, Pure Inspiration. Once again I invite you, dear blog reader, to go take a look. It’s early days for her site and I expect it will grow as more people find it. If you have an inspirational story to tell then share it and let that light into someone else’s life.
I hope you’ll find enlightenment there and take something positive from it.
And maybe when someone spots you as they walk down the street they’ll see how brightly you shine.