Winter is a season of hardship for wildlife and nature photographers alike. There is so little to photograph that any straw is worth clutching. So today we have a picture of the frenetic activity occurring on our building site.
Most of the houses in our little village date back a good many years, even the modern ones are certainly over fifty years old, the oldest accommodation consists of the original farm buildings, converted where necessary into comfortable dwellings. The farmhouse adjacent to our own converted barn has the date 1857 chiselled into a large stone lintel over the front door.
Imagine the excitement then, when we learned that some disused barns on the edge of the village had been sold to a developer and they were to be the site of four new houses.
Farmers are notoriously conservative so first, the current farmer carefully removed all the good bits from the barns and used them to build animal pens in a field down the road. The remaining skeleton has now been knocked down and is being ground up into various sizes of aggregate, by the large machines in our picture, destined to become part of the new construction.
Waste not want not, you know.
Today’s picture is of the flowers on one of the holly bushes down by the beck. Once you’ve crossed the bridge the road runs parallel to the beck and through a green tunnel – overhanging trees on one side and a line of holly bushes on the other.
This picture was take this week. Every other holly bush in the area has a colourful display of red berries. These flowers are completely out of place.
Dr. Edward Bach, in the 1930s, believed that his essence, made from the flowers of the holly, was associated with love.
Not the kind of love that we live in hope of being able to find in the world around Christmas time, but the kind of love that is completely out of place. The kind of love that leads us into jealousy, revenge, suspicion or over-attentive smothering. The kind of love that causes people to be a torment to themselves, with no expectation of relief.
Dr. Bach’s hope was that his holly flower remedy would offer these poor souls the relief they would not allow themselves to accept, and so, sooth their inner emotional turmoil.
Surely an act of love.
‘What are you doing out there? You’ll get into trouble if the farmer comes along and finds you aren’t in the field, you know.’
‘”Just going for a walk” isn’t going to go down well, I’m afraid. He put us in this field for good reasons and “just going for a walk” wasn’t one of them.’
‘Well, there may be no harm in it, as far as you can see, but we have this fence round us to keep us safe, and wandering off on our own is asking for trouble.’
‘I suppose you made a hole in the hedge to get out of the field, did you? What if the farmer comes along and fills it in while you’re out there – “just going for a walk”? You’ll be stuck outside, that’s what.’
‘Yes. Once when I was a lamb. A few of us squeezed under the gate and made pigs of ourselves in the grass along the verge – remember how lush and green it was in those days? Well, someone came along with a dog and we found that the gate wasn’t where we’d left it. It still makes my heart go into overdrive just to think about it. We raced up and down, trying to find the gate, then one of us found a little hole in the hedge and we were able to scrape through. It wasn’t pleasant, I’m telling you.’
‘Oh well, suit yourselves, I’ve done my best. If you won’t listen to reason . . .’
As there isn’t much worth photographing around at the moment, this week we have a display of leaves showing their autumn colours. The interesting thing about autumn colours is that they are the result of the tree eating itself.
The leaves are usually full of chlorophyll – this is the stuff that converts sunlight into plant food. It does a good job, mostly, but as sun’s light becomes increasingly in short supply the chlorophyll is increasingly unable to produce enough food to keep the plant happy – so the plant uses up the chlorophyll. The green is sucked out of the leaves and they become the pretty autumn shades we find so attractive.
This cycle of birth, life, death, and renewal is something that has fascinated mankind (and possibly, for obvious reasons, woman-kind even more so) since the earliest times. The most ancient Egyptians we know, used the image of a snake eating its own tail to symbolise the mysteries of life and death. In China, the Taoist Yin and Yang is a stylised version of the same thing. In Norse mythology the serpent Jörmungandr grew so large, it encircled the whole earth and held its tail in its mouth. Ouroboros has entered the lexicon of magic and alchemy all over the world.
But for us? It’s just a few pretty leaves on a bush down by the beck.