Beyond Five Miles

As lockdown eases we can now go further than five miles for a walk. This poem was inspired after we had our first walk beyond five miles …


Beyond Five Miles

 Liberated from lockdown,

we follow winding

lanes to the Wood of Cree.

On familiar paths, we’re

drawn uphill by storm-filled

waterfalls’ magnetic pull.

It’s the season of cow wheat;

waves of long grasses

flecked with yellow specks

of flowers, much prettier

than their name.

Dykes still moss cushioned,

saplings in a crèche, feet

encased in mossy boots.

It’s a tonic to be back again;

we wallow in a sea of green,

breathe woodland scents.

Life here has continued

oblivious of any virus.

Was that a roe deer or the

ghost of a memory? So

much to see, we feast eyes

on orchids, nearly missed as

we look up to see a treecreeper,

spiralling the trunk of an oak.

At our feet, an inch of russet

in the form of a young toad

braves our boots. We stop,

hear the strident call

of a jay guarding his patch

of  ancient woodland.

Then stillness …

we linger, absorb the healing

peace, fresh scents of

trees, mosses, grasses until

a distant roar of motorbikes

reminds us of life elsewhere.



Finding Time

In a world where everything and everybody seems to be driven to move at an often frenetic pace, we are fortunate if we are blessed with time to be still, time to walk among the trees and by the sea.

At this time of year, and today we’ve reached the autumn equinox, swallows are gathering on wires ready to embark on their journey back to warmer climes. The leaves are begining to turn, we enjoy the warmth of the autumn sun, gather hazel nuts from the hedgerows and consider the prospect of making an elderberry cordial.

The days are getting noticeably shorter and the chances of walks in the evenings diminish, so we have to make the most of the daytime hours. Today we watched a pair of rutting deer as we walked across fields, to woodland along an old track. Here we could sense the ghosts of horse-drawn carriages. The soft light filtered through the branches and the only sounds came from the waves washing on the beach down below us.

This is when we need to live for the moment, absorb, remember and soak up the peacefulness that counteracts the horrors of our world.


If I Could Still theWind

I was reading Michael Woronko’s blog post today ‘Silencing the Wind – Creating moments of veneration for life and claiming stillness for ourselves.’ Thank you  – it got me thinking. He wrote about the deep silence we can find in the woods. On a walk recently, we were following a rushing stream and the roar of the waterfalls stayed with us for some time. But, as we turned away and walked deeper into the wood, the silence fell like a curtain with a soothing music of nothing.  Words would have broken the spell. We don’t experience moments like this every day, but when we do, they stay as rich memories; a feeling of love of not just for people but also our amazing natural world. A world where we can at times, in stillness, experience that feeling of oneness.

The thought of trying to still the wind came to my mind when I was writing a poem some years ago – this is one of the versions …

If I Could Still the Wind

If I could still the wind, I would

and surround you with a gentle breeze.


If I could control the sun, I would

and protect you from its blazing rays.


If I could master the moon, I would

and shed silver beams round your head.


If I could charm the seas, I would

and drift with you to foreign shores.


If I could measure my love, I would

and tell you I couldn’t love you more.


Finding the calm after the storm

We are living in turbulent times – climatically and politically. We wonder when things are going to settle down, when life will become quieter in every respect.  How long do we have to wait for that?

Now more than ever we need to get out and walk – walk amongst the trees and along footpaths and green lanes.

Here, where the mosses are a vibrant green and the paths are carpeted with leaves that glisten after the rain – russet, red, gold – jewels of the forest, the air is filled with scents that send us searching for late season fungi. No purple blewits to be found this week though.



The burns are becoming rushing torrents and only as we turn away into the wood do we experience the quieter peaceful sound of the rain steadily dripping from the branches.


A small flock of jays are disturbed by our presence and fly off calling loudly; guardians of the wood objecting to the rudeness of intruders.



Stormy Weather

As the wind whips the long grass into Van Gogh seas and birds are tossed in the wind, the following haiku seem appropriate

Wind 1

Grasses form a sea

Land-locked waves undulating

Whispering secrets


Wind 2

Birds cling to branches

As the wind blows and buffets

Feathers versus force

On days like this we need a picture of stillness and peace to meditate on.

DSC01252 (1)

This can be found in one of my favourite gardens – Glenwhan, Dunragit

Finding Stillness

If I’m to improve as a writer, I need to have time to think and time to just ‘be’.

How much does the life of any writer influence his/her writing? Is it only possible to write well about happiness when my life is happy, sadness when I’m sad and so on? If I am in the depths of despair, am I better able to create something profoundly moving?

What is it that inspires – is it our own lives more than the lives of others? Can we learn more by reliving the past through the lives of others? Developing this thought, is it possible for great works of fiction to influence the lives of others as much as works of philosophy? Can we see ourselves in the great dramas of this age and the past – surely the answer is yes and, if that is the case, then dramatic works and fiction can lead to a greater understanding of ourselves and others.

Can a diet of TV dramas, soaps and reality shows affect people’s aspirations and lead to unrealistic attitudes towards real life? Will young people be misled into thinking what their lives could be, should be like?

Does illness always focus the mind of writers and composers? Does the thought of imminent death or serious illness provoke the creative urge and desire to produce something for posterity. Without that there is always the thought that there’s ‘plenty of time to do that and I’ll get round to it one day’, but it’s no good relying on a terminal illness to prompt the inspiration for a masterpiece of literature. We need to be  aware of time passing and make the most of each day.

So many questions and only by living, wondering, observing and being consciously aware can we attempt to come near to answers. Finding those moments of stillness to think is essential.