forest stars

February 27, 2010

In black and white  or in colour this wild flower enchants me all year long. A shower of small twinkling stars in the woods.

I think it is called “Queen Anne’s Lace” or wild carrot. In French “la berce des prés”, a very common wild flower in fields and forests. As for “lace”, when you see this plant in Summer… no need to explain its name.

It looks like the most delicate natural embroidery.

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Going South

February 21, 2010

More snow fell yesterday, a Siberian North wind blows over the landscape today and although the sun is trying to shine, its rays are still too weak to warm up the atmosphere. So I thought why not going South ? in my memories at least. When I mean South, I mean one of the most Southern parts of the world if you live in Europe. That is Australia. About three years ago I went there for a while, I left Winter behind  and found Summer in Victoria, beautifully warm and green in many places.

Walking in the bush was quite a discovery for me. Eucalypts and  plants unheard of over here. Forests that seemed to have grown in a kind of disorder  but once you walk through them, you notice a natural harmony in those twisted tree trunks and wild plants covering a rather dry soil.  The woods  were either silent or very noisy with the cockatoes’ calls.

An amazing entanglement of trees, bushes, high ferns. Sometimes a beautiful confusion, at other times a forest as imposing as a cathedral.

The beautiful canopy of a eucalypt, its silvery leaves barely moving in the heat of the day.

Here and there the Australian forests reminded me of a poem of Baudelaire :

La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles ;
L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers.

Nature is a temple where live pillars
Sometimes whisper confused words
Man walks across it through forests of symbols
Which observe him with familiar looks.

Charles Baudelaire
Extract from the poem  “Correspondances”

Here is a site about Australian nature that I love to visit :

http://robertburcul.wordpress.com/

Robert Burcul’s  amazing and artistic pictures of Queensland are well worth seeing.

Frost

January 22, 2010

Frost, snow, grey sky and coldness are still very present here. We all seem to get used to those low temperatures (-5°C or less in the morning, a few degrees higher during the day). One thing though keeps me wondering every day and I look forward to my walk in the woods : it is the extraordinary and fabulous transformation of vegetation through the frost. How can one ever get used to the beauty of these branches  ?

or those dry  flowers which seem to have gotten a new life  with the frost ?

I find that Nature is a never ending source of wonder and beauty. Everywhere, at all Seasons.

As the French saying goes “Année de givre, année de fruits”… “A frosty Winter gives a generous harvest of fruits in Summer” 😉 So, let’s look forward to warmer days !

The colours of my Winter

December 28, 2009

Walking in the forest in Winter can be surprising and enchanting. Trees are mostly bare but still, colours remain and  show a new brightness in a sometimes dull environment. Like frosty branches in a blue sky

or a few berries forgotten by the birds (or maybe left there in case of hunger emergency !)

A new look for a green blackberry bush after a very cold and frosty night.

Autumn leaves add a touch of gold in the snow.

Heather, surprised by an early snow fall, does not lose its brilliant purple shade, it becomes even more striking.

Brown and dried leaves posing for a still life with a few larchtrees needles.

Some trees keep their leaves longer than others and they prolong the warm autumnal mood in a snowy landscape.  Nature is a  never ending pleasure to enjoy. A forest has so much to offer to your wondering eyes.

Foggy days

December 3, 2009

The first snow fell a few days ago. It topped the mountains and stayed in the alpine areas. Around here (at 8oom high) we just had a few centimeters of fresh snow that is almost gone now. Generally December   can bring  a dense  fog hiding fields and forests  or a light mist  that seems to create  new landscapes. All eerie and poetic.

Fields and villages get a “new look”,  unreal, soft, silent.   Like this  cool Winter sunset over lone farms near my home.

If you are lucky though, and often we are, fog and mist  change into a blue sky and crisp air. The countryside is the same and yet, it is different.

Walking to the woods

November 1, 2009

golden leavesSoon they will be all gone, the golden leaves of our beautiful Autumn, the weather forecast for tomorrow is snow, falling up to 1000m. A cooler breeze is blowing already. The moon is almost full and as people say over here: “The new moon means a change of weather”. We’ll see… but in the meantime let’s go for a walk through the woods.Fall and patch 048A bench and table that went through better days and were used to see many picnics…automne, Gemmell 056The late afternoon sun playing hide and seek between branches, my favourite time and light to take pictures.

cows, FallA pause at the edge of a pasture where cows were peacefully grazing before  cooler days that will bring snow. Not too soon hopefully !

ma mosaique 3Some delicious boskoop apples were just waiting to be picked in a field near the forest. Walking back home I was looking forward to a tasty apple pie !

wishing you

with every breath

October 11, 2009

bisse, arch 1

“With every breath I take today,

I wow to be awake;

And every step I take,

I vow to take with a grateful heart

So I may see with eyes of love

Into the hearts of all I meet,

To ease their burden when I can

And touch them with a smile of peace”.

A poem I like and whose author I do not know. I hope it is inspiring to you as it is to me.

Enchanting encounters

June 19, 2009

Walking in the forest, even if you go the woods  every day, does not always prepare you for the strange encounters you can do. I have noticed and admired these variations in all Seasons. Nature changes and so do trees, bushes,  anything vegetal. The light goes through various shades along the day and over the months. It is a never ending pleasure and surprise to see  today what you had not really paid attention to yesterday. So  it was with this strange “couple” I really saw on a Spring morning. How many times did I walk on this path and looked without seeing these two tree trunks on the edge of a pasture. Then all of sudden Spring had transformed them completely. In front of me stood two vegetal creatures. “She”, the Lady of the Woods, was particularly visible, slightly bent forward, her long disheveled hair falling on her back. I was stunned and just had to take this picture so as to be sure I was not dreaming !

the lady of the woodsAccording to the time and light of the day or to the weather, rain, frost, snow, the simplest forms of life look like magic natural sculptures.

forestdialWalking in the woods after the rain one day, I almost went head first into this spectacular spider’s web. At that moment it looked to me like a huge forest dial trembling in the light breeze, raindrops trapped in its threads like pearls. A magnificent view !

crinièreSometimes a noise or a slight movement makes you lift your head or turn around. Often you do not see anything. It can happen that your steps disturbed a bird or a lizard and you just hear something without seeing them. But at other times you meet some of the forest inhabitants. In this case  a horse grazing in a field at the edge of the woods was hidden by the tall grass Its white mane barely emerging. A real lovely, peaceful moment on  a hot Summer afternoon.

fox close-up

walk in the wood 2.6.07 031Some encounters are more surprising and really take you aback. This fox was standing on the side of the forest track, not more than 30m away from me. I slowed down hoping to take a picture before he ran away between the trees. But he would not move, he just stood there looking at me, maybe wondering if I was a friend or an ennemy. It was hunting season. I continued walking slowly towards him until I probably got too close  and all of a sudden he was gone !

A curious and lovely looking animal not rare

at all these days around the farms and houses in the village. Not always welcome. His cry at night is frightening. But I do love seeing one of them running across fields or in the forest,  tail almost as long as the body, elegant and rapid, glancing swiftly in my direction before disappearing in the wheat or corn fields.

Today I did not see any animal friend in the forest but I heard many ! It was right after the rain,  as the day started to grow dark. Birds were singing their late day songs so cheerfully, beautifully, competing with each other or just answering good night messages. This is my favourite moment for a walk into the woods. For the softness of the air, the unique light playing hide and seek between the trees and… for the birds songs of course.

light in the dark

A New Earth

February 20, 2009

tafers-diary-tolle-007

This wonderful spiritual guide, “A New Earth”, by Eckhart Tolle is a precious gift I received a few months ago.  The kind of book you cannot ever part from.  A book that may well change your way of looking at life, people, events.  At yourself first of all.  I take my time reading it because of the profound spiritual writing E. Tolle is sharing with us.  I read it slowly because I like to underline some parts of the text for a second reading.  Or more. Many passages are so meaningful to me that I like to write them down in my diary. Written thoughts leave a deeper imprint on my memory. Some lines are worth re-reading, each in its own time and place.  Like the ones below about “Chaos and higher order” in the chapter “Finding who you truly are” :

tafers-diary-tolle-0031

A few excerpts from E. Tolle’s writings…”When we go into a forest that has not been interfered with by man, our thinking mind will see only disorder and chaos all around us… Only if we are still enough inside and the noise of thinking subsides can we become aware that there is a hidden harmony here, a sacredness, a higher order in which everything has its perfect place and could not be other than what it is and the way it is”.foret-neyruz-3-fevr08“…In the forest, there is an incomprehensible order that to the mind looks like chaos. It is beyond the mental categories of good and bad. You cannot understand it through thought, but you can sense it when you let go of thought, become still and alert, and don’t try to understand or explain. Only then can you be aware of the sacredness of the forest… You realize you are not separate from it, and you become a conscious participant in it. In this way, nature can help you become realigned with the wholeness of life”.

These quotes from E. Tolle’s “A New Earth” take their full meaning as I walk through the woods, almost daily. Without realizing it concretely, the forest no matter where I walked through it, always appeared harmonious and beautiful in its own “disorder”, its natural state. Better than in any park or botanical garden (although I enjoy them a lot too) I found myself “aligned” with life, as Tolle writes. A deeply beautiful feeling.