💚 Living between the Sea and Dartmoor in the S.W. of England

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You are welcome on my blog with journals and slideshows of pictures. I’m enjoying my life after retirement on an island: Britain, the seat of Mars, rocked by the storms of change. Even amidst mixed feelings about the attitude of British people in general, which is part of my learning to come to terms with a different culture, there’s a strong pull of this part of the world, calling me home. Where my heart is. Nature and living space.

I lost my heart here during more than 20 years of happy holidays, crossing the North Sea Channel for the whole month of June, each year. The history of the Celts and druids, unspoiled nature, woodland and seaside, the presence of coastal paths and the moon-landscape of Dartmoor, grazed by ponies, sheep, and cows, with larks rising in mad song, with unbounded joy, all of this woke up my exploring and curious mind. With a close connection to what once was lived in great respect, the natural laws of life, with a pun on nature and the great teacher I’ve found in it.

I am in the S. West of Britain, in living conditions I’m comfortable with, at last… gosh, it took me a while to learn the ropes of sharing a home with others, strangers. There’s much more British landscape to explore, like Cornwall, Wales, Exmoor, and the Lake District, or Scotland and the British islands. Lundy, the Isle of Man, the Scilly Islands.

I’m fond of the Cornish and Scottish people, as far as I’ve met a few. They’re more direct, in communication, just like the Dutch. What you see is what you get. I’m privileged to find the freedom of adventure, going on trips after ending my working life. Soon with the freedom of conquering the hills on an e-bike! Although those narrow and hedged lanes… are a challenge, at times. I’m prepared to throw myself in the hedge when danger lurks.

Here’s a link to my recent journal of July 2019. High summer, a long period of hot weather. The hills are turning yellow and the level of the river turns very low. https://wordpress.com/post/orandasite.wordpress.com/39193

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Move over the images and find the captions.

 

In this April 2019 Time magazine, you’ll find an excellent summary and diagnose of the present condition of the EU, with Britain leaving. It’s free of sensational shouts, unfortunately much present in the British papers and television shows:

https://time.com/magazine/us/5568295/april-22nd-2019-vol-193-no-15-u-s/

Brexit

Many moves on the global chessboard are observed under a magnifying glass now, or so it seems. At the same time, some are looking through the wrong end of binoculars, losing sight of the larger picture and living only for instant fulfillment. Exposure and attempts to disclose schemes and deception, it’s all mixed with the fertilizer for our great need for sensation, an addiction served by the mainstream media. With many of us living in a screen for many hours a day, or night.

What an adventure, to see the two ends of life’s elastic stretched apart, wider and wider, as I perceive it to be at present. Our extremely polarized world, a battlefield of opinions, shouts without substance and killing each other off, be it in the cloud or in real life. When will the elastic snap?

At one end I see those who choose a virtual reality, assisted by smart devices, Alexa and electric cars which drive by themselves. Lo and behold, the wonders of technology, softly killing our physical connection with a real-world of substance, our living space in balance with natural laws.

How many of us are ruled by the number of likes on that faceless book, the daily dose of virtual dopamine? At the other end (of the elastic) I see those who move and choose the tangible world of earth, water, air, fire, and metal, with hands finding the work that needs to be done. On the inner plane as much as in the world out there, a hand in glove.

Pleased with the expression of our skills, seeing the harvest of goods grown in nature and in our community, our family at large, our circle of friends. The pleasure of craftwork, works of art and the sharing of it all with others who enjoy the simple pleasures of life and a sense of belonging. Fear is equal to living in separation. An extremely limited state of being, especially when it’s turned into a way of life.

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My first landscape made in felt of wool

Once our presence is established with trust in life’s rainbow of feelings, colors, its smells, and tastes, our presence in hands, hearts, and feet, when we enjoy our work, alone or in co-operation with others, it shows how we become visible to ourselves and others in full display of our true colors. For that, we’re invited to welcome truth as a friend. Also while in pain, suffering, in trying times and amidst the pushing of our buttons. There’s always a shining diamond in the core of our deepest suffering. I’m an experienced human being.

In a freedom of expression, the pushing of our buttons can be as much welcomed as the work we choose to begin, moving through our issues, moving from anger, frustration, and indignation to a state of ease, at times in bewilderment, tears and an urge to hide from it all, hurting. Life, the two sides of it, the beauty and the desolation, the path of the wounded hero and the path toward the inner observer, the silent voice within, that knows.

The expiry date of many scientific statements seems to be near. Legislation systems begin to tumble down in fraudulent strategies, with the financial system in tow. Italian banks are in peril, dragging the Deutsche Bank with them when a collapse begins to show its signs. The box we choose to live in (even when it’s unconsciously done) is about to burst it seems. Will it be Pandora’s box? Or graduation with presents wrapped in it? 

The agitation-industry is thriving, satisfying many people’s need for instant satisfaction, a quick fix when that’s not found within. It’s the seed of cynicism, despair, and loneliness. There is hope, for The Wizard of Oz, hiding behind his curtains, seems close to being exposed. Skeletons fall out of the closets. Powerful and wealthy people are caught, found out, after a long time of cover-up. Look at the Catholic Church in perilous waters now, look at political moves that can’t be observed in the light of moral standards and service to others.

Amidst this disclosure of hideous crimes, no doubt there’s going to be more display of smoke and mirrors, as long as it lasts, but of course, those attempts are futile when the moment of truth arrives. And the arrival of that moment seems to be inevitable. There is a force, pushing us all to the limits. Cracks appear in our protective egg-shell, another name for our comfortable chair. Nothing is the same anymore, we’re the changer and the changed simultaneously and therefore we’re witnessing many old paradigms shaken to the core. As within, so without. It is time.

That goes for collectives as well as for our personal affairs. The machinery of power and money is slowly grinding to a halt due to its own defects built in the construction. A lie to life and love will always be exposed, that’s the law of nature, of life itself. What goes around comes around. I’m not promising doom, for I’m an incurable optimist, you see?

We need sobriety, optimism, and initiative, the world is turning upside down, bringing an end to old systems for a reason, I believe. The shepherd needs to wake up to his role of a king and the king needs to step down and walk amidst the herd, as a shepherd, which means the choice for stewardship, equality, and co-operation, together, in the living and loving of life, to each his/her freedom of expression.

For myself, I feel it’s helpful to have left the work floor, with the buzz of competition, liberated from its burdens, as a formerly self-employed woman. I’m in favor of sustaining myself, in all sorts of ways, creating the comfort of living in friendship with the elements, in nature and in the company of kindred spirits, both young and old. The voice of children is a joy to my ears in the streets of my town.

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I’m reaping the harvest of my life’s adventures and initiatives at the same time. That’s the fertilizer for my present moment and future years. I can’t tell others what to do, although I’m inclined to have a view on everything and a diagnose of everybody. I’m in training now, with my inner voice as a guide. Not what my mind tells me, fueled by an old paradigm hidden in my genes, a heritage of my ancestors, past lives.

My role, which is a choice, is to live what I believe and know to be true for me. Outside time as we know it, cleared of past memories that try to keep me deep in the groove.  And to express this in my life in most practical and creative ways, with the use of strong intuition, in gratitude for very good health and many creative skills on many levels.

How many of you are familiar with being the changer and the changed both? While conditions of living are transforming and lies are presented as truths, observed by fast-growing human awareness, with many of us realizing that nothing is the same anymore. Where’s wisdom to be found? What’s the fertilizer for my soul’s purpose to be expressed?

Moving with change requires gymnastics, flexing the muscles of one’s mind, body and spirit. To me, the wind of change calls forth the separating of the chaff and the grain, as within so without. It’s highly unlikely that we wake up while sitting in our comfortable chairs, is it?

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Philosophy has been defined as “the love of and the seeking after wisdom”. Socrates said “Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher and philosophy begins with wonder” This, I guess, sums up who I am and how I choose to walk my path in life, with a mind of my own, doing the work my hands find worthy of doing. Down to earth and artistic in an expression of all sorts, be it in creating a home interior, a garden, or a landscape felted of wool.

Royal rags are my favorite outfit, though some of you may wonder what I mean by that. Remember Barbara Streisand, the 70’s? In her outfit of 2nd hand clothes on stage? Something like that said this nomad. After all, I’m an old hippy at heart. A 60’s rebel.

Rebel without a cause? At times I can see myself going there, I’m checking myself 😉

1976 Glamour on bike

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A bonfire in my garden, end of summer 2018

I’ve found, as I move through the recent decade, where change has swept like a storm through my life, that I am as much the changer as the changed. Therefore, I can’t expect to know what’s ahead of me, really. It’s a learning curve by surrendering to my experiences and paying attention to what matters and to all that matters not. There’s much to let go of, like a tendency to analyze too much for too long. This page is long!

I’d rather surrender to what life holds in waiting for me and walk with eyes and heart open, in trust and acceptance of how it shows up and what it shows me, also when it’s not enjoyable at first glance. Responsibility is embedded in my actions when free will is at the base of my conscious choices, I believe. Each moment offers such freedom of choice, once I’m disciplined by paying attention and being truthful to myself and the lightheartedness that is in my nature. With joy for nature’s beauty and landscapes.

Getting things done, well organized, resourceful and diligent, with great patience often. I’m a builder, not a squatter among ruins and others build their own reality, be it a sandcastle, a straw-bale house or a cottage of quarried stone with a thatched roof. How can we conduct the whirring windmills of our mind and create harmony?

I love the drops of splashing backwater on my face while standing on the bow. That’s just a description of how I prefer to experience the elements. I need to feel the wind and sun in my face and to be touched by life, by people, taught by Gaia and her nature’s beauty, her wisdom and her nurturing quality, in unconditional companionship. It’s why I enjoy taking pictures and making drawings of nature.

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In a dream I’m standing in front of large stone doors, pushing them open with ease, finding a golden cloud of fog behind it. What if I jump into it?

Walking in the empty and remote spaces of Dartmoor, or over footpaths through woodland that is largely untouched by people and machines, with gnarled old trees and boulders covered in moss, or walking along the flood mark at sea, picking up pebbles, some with holes in it, feeling the thrill of being a beachcomber, on bare feet without a care in the world. That’s my way of recharging my batteries. How I love to live with the elements. I do enjoy being alive now, learning each day, it’s interesting and intense!

So far my views on life in general and mine, at present, December 2018

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Beesand beach, on the south coast of Devon, where I camped one night, safe with the elements

This text on page 288 of Henry David Thoreau’s book “Walden” sums up my stance in life:

“The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men, and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now”.

And the note at the start of Thoreau’s “Economy” a chapter in that same book, reflects my present approach to my inner “Mother Superior” while sending her shouts in the cloud:

“I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up”

Here’s a slideshow with pictures of my short time in Moretonhampstead, early 2018.      I hope it’s visible, there seems to be a problem to show it here. If that’s the case, please go to my Dutch page “Hollandse pagina… ” and find the slideshow over there,  scrolling down to slightly below the center of the page.

The highlight of my stay in Moretonhampstead is my volunteering at Proper Job Chagford. Here’s what this recycling re-use project, started in 1995, pioneering, is about    http://www.proper-job.org/

Also, the saving of a black lamb was memorable, a few weeks old, abandoned in the snow by its mother who didn’t have enough milk to feed two of her own. Also, the heavy snowfall in March 2018, of which I’ve made many pictures during a long Sunday walk to North Bovey. Over the lanes, without hardly a car in sight. I caught the snow by holding my umbrella, which grew heavy with a cap of snow on top! 

Here’s my first video in black and white 😉   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQX9YIM80vY

When it doesn’t show up, go to my YouTube channel here: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMFTSiTZ3LXktjvX8K_rCCw 

This video (if it shows up) shows what Proper Job Chagford is about. A shop has opened at the start of this year 2018, called Uptown Proper Job. In the center of Chagford. The Courtyard Cafe, annex healthfood shop, is the 3rd leg of this successful project. 

http://www.proper-job.org https://youtu.be/hidSnd1Tfbo

And now that we’ve arrived in October 2018? What’s on? Early summer of 2018 I’ve returned to where I lived earlier, in 2017. I live close to the home where I rented a room for 7 months, the last year 2017. It was a decision that had to be made, although none of the housemates wanted this. But there was no other way. I’ve enjoyed living in this home much and restored the name of the house on the front door, in gold: Avalon.

I’m thinking about what could be a proper name for the house where I live now. After 3 years living in the UK, I’m more at ease, secured with a long term contract, living as a caretaker of a large house and garden. Living on my own for most of the time. Privacy again and no frustration of having to share the kitchen with filthy housemates. There’s a lovely garden to work in, grow vegetables and flowers, entirely fenced off by old stone walls, with my hammock installed during summer.

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My hammock in the garden. This long warm summer of 2018 it’s used well!
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Here I am, ready to leave Holland in a few days, end of June 2015. Until we meet again…..  

After 35 years living on my own, in Holland, sharing homes with others, in England, while adjusting to a different culture, where folks often don’t say what they think or feel, either skilled in creating storms in a tea-cup, or withdrawn and lethargic, was at times challenging. I doubt if I will ever step into a house-sharing adventure with strangers again. English people tend to not think things through properly, often immature, with, little awareness of applying self-reflection.

I cherish solitude and my own space, my private room, plus quietude in the home and in nature. During my first years of moving around, I’ve seen different parts of Devon. I’m happy with the nearness of the sea and the Tamar Valley area with Tavistock, Bere Ferrers, with its beautiful river landscape. Calstock, in the S. W. of Devon, has its own unique charm, with artistic and eccentric folks jumping around.

Also Totnes, with the River Dart, the footpath all along this river, towards Ashprington, plus Dartmouth and King’s Wear, the bright light of Brixham’s harbor and the coastal paths, the cliffs of Berry Head. Shaldon beach is one of my favorite swimming spots. Many miles of coastal paths are waiting to be explored in the years to come. Be it while settled in Britain or in Holland, picking up the rhythm of my yearly holidays in June each year. Maybe more often and who knows, in due time, a second jump overseas, for a life in the S.W. of Britain.

I join volunteering work in the community and participate in social events, at times. I’m a craft-woman and artist, creative in many ways. I’m wary of gossip, the recent racist talk coming to the rise more, since before and during the Brexit procedure. It’s shocking at times, how poorly informed some people are, while shouting and screaming, safe in the box of their opinions, with hearsay and ignorance as welcome company.

As a writer, I appreciate quietude much. And also, as is the term nowadays… “me-time” or “cocooning” in order to recharge my batteries. I’m not running after those who don’t “get me” in an attempt to make them change their mind and approve of me, my Dutch directness and frankness. To prove my point and show my true colors. I’m learning and growing savvier in taking care of myself and choosing a nurturing company.

I’m an incurable optimist, at times impatient with lethargy and complacency in others, but, ultimately very patient in the efforts I make to create and improve my living conditions and at the same time co-operating in new ways of living together. I’m a Capricorn, born on New Year’s day. A sure-footed goat, who jumps from rock to rock and enjoys the views from great heights, like on the Tors of Dartmoor and standing on the hills of Devon, or the cliffs at sea.

I send my shouts in the clouds, to wake up and shake the dust out of moldy ideas and views, to digest good food for thought. The initiatives to enrich our lives and how we make use of our abilities, is largely our own choice, in the company of our sense of belonging and our being at ease, first and foremost with ourselves. How much do we dare to yield our personal power for the better and create a life in well being? To make peace with our life. Alone and together?

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Pumpkin in flower, on the land of Huxham’s Cross Farm Dartington,  where I volunteered in the summer and autumn of 2017
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Chard in the light of late afternoon October 2017, at Huxham’s Cross Farm

From the lounge on the first floor of the house, I often enjoy the view on the hills to the South, with brown cows or white sheep grazing the slopes. I celebrate the sunrise in summer, during an early hour, in the highest level of the garden, drinking my first mug of coffee, waking up with a view over the roofs, toward the eastern sky. There are many trees, shrubs and stone walls covered with ivy or other growth. Squirrels too are jumping from tree to tree, harvesting the hazelnuts. Red robins and sparrows are present too.

I’ve become friends with an elderly lady who offers me apples from her garden, the end of the summer. We discuss our history and culture, hers is English and mine is Dutch and she shares her 92 years long life-experience as a nurse and midwife with me. Many a grown-up man and woman in town, once were caught by her hands, with a first breathtaking cry.

She’s fond of her independence and she knows exactly how she wants her home and garden like she’s become used to have it. It’s hard for her to let go of taking matters in her own hands as a former nurse and midwife, with a strong sense of duty. Cleaning women and carers, nowadays, don’t always show up with diligence and a perceptive attitude, she tells me. She’s concerned about everybody’s comfort except her own.

I witness the carers in my old friend’s home, acting on automatic pilot, saying things that sound hollow because of their not being present in their words. I am amazed at times, about the negligence of basic qualities in domestic care workers. Stress, underpayment, and work-pressure tend to kill the skill of presence, creativity, and improvisation.

With a Dutch-Frisian background, growing up in the ’50s, with a mother who stayed at home, raising 9 children, including me, her oldest daughter, I’ve learned a few things. Although I am an explorer and curious at heart, even rebellious in asking questions and commenting, my sense of duty and harmony in our home was strong at an early age.

I had to practice self-discipline and the skills of domestic care were taught in those days. Traditions and rules in lifestyle and social traffic were still strong. Amidst a baby boom, the Dutch population worked hard, recovering from WWII. Shut up, do your work!

Monday was for washing and waxing the furniture. Wednesday was the day of minced meatballs and red cabbage and Sunday was a resting day, with 2 visits to church and coffee with cake in the morning after service. Our cake became famous and it drew many a visitor to our home. On Sunday afternoons we had to sing while standing at the organ, where my mother played hymns and psalms.

How we nipped each other, bored and annoyed! No playing in the street, in our Sunday costume! My mother and us children walked inside the church like a row of geese, 10 in total, to the front pew which had “our names” on it. My father, the 11th goose, was ready to climb the pulpit after we had seated ourselves and the organ started to play. I remember, asking in wonder “Why is the life outside the church so separate from the life inside the church?” I found this inappropriate, it showed a glow of false holy shine.

We were obliged to show up as role models, for we were a minister’s family. Imagine growing up in a house made of glass: God’s eyes and the eyes of the congregation were upon us. No wonder I was fond of being outdoors, hiding in nature! This is my background, born in Holland in a small village near Hook of Holland, The Netherlands.

“It was through the feeling of wonder that men now and at first began to philosophize.” 

– Aristotle

Where I live, I’m fond of walking through the narrow alleys with stone walls, to shops and other destinations, avoiding the main road with fast driving cars. On my way to my favorite shop, I often meet a cat-friend. She’s outdoors all day, I’m told and she’s got beautiful whiskers. It’s why I gave her the name “Moustache”. When I call her by that name, most often she runs toward me, mewing and purring. Such a compact and healthy furry cat. At times, I’m tempted to take her home with me, but she’s settled.

July 2019: A miracle happened! End of the year 2019 Moustache will be with me in the home. The owners move to another place and don’t want to take the cat with them.

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Flowers at a smallholding where I’ve picked up my volunteering work again in June 2018, after leaving in November the year before, feeling sad about it.

Here are a few impressions of where I live since June 2018:

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The first walk from Avalon to Dartmoor, end of springtime 2017
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A walk on Dartmoor, May 2017
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Haytor and a group of visitors, plus a climber going up with the assistance of ropes and a buddy 
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High up Haytor Summer Solstice 2017
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Lime Kilns in Buckfastleigh
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A view from high up on Haytor, July 21 2017 Summer Solstice
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A former monastery or priory, very well kept, a beautiful harmony.
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High up Haytor, did you know that the cows come up here as well?
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Rocky stairs, a beautiful design, at the seawall of Dawlish beach
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Red rock and a peculiar structure along Dawlish’ coastal path
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Haytor on a summer day 2017
Ally with view on St. Mary's church Ashburton 06-2017
I love these old winding alleys, with the warmth of the sun, or the cold of frost, radiating from the stone walls and the peculiar acoustic effect, the colourful coverage of flowers in May and June. Red Valerian is most present among them here.
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Blue bells in woodland, May 2017, on my way to Waterleat.
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A former monastery garden reminds me of  the book”The Secret Garden”
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I believe it’s Cow Parsley, at the bridge near St. Andrews Church.
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Springtime is beautiful in Devon!

Going back in time, here are a few impressions of Dartmoor, summer/autumn 2016:

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The area of Whistman’s Wood on Dartmoor
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The area of Whistman’s Wood on Dartmoor
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A stone cross near Moorshop S. West Dartmoor

A few impressions of Wookey Hole, where caves are. My first year in Somerset, 2015, though I didn’t live in a cave 😉

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Walking over Titlands Lane to my home, with a view on the Mendip Hills, summer 2015
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Oswald, a dog I often walked with, through woodland with wild garlic. Each year, end of summer,  I visit  Wookey Hole and meet friends who welcomed me warmly and supported me in my first year in the UK.
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The Wells Bishop’s Palace cat on his high seat. I’ve worked as a volunteer in the communal garden of that beautiful park/garden. 

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Saved green bird 06-2016

A lovely bird, recovering, after it flew against my door-window in Wookey Hole.

This green bird flew against my window and sat dazed and concussed for 20 minutes on my terrace. I watched it from a safe distance and had to encourage it to make a move when it found its bearings again.                  

It looked at me sideways with a bright eye, moved its wings and…. off it went on its green wings, steady. I felt so relieved, after finding 2 small birds flying against my window to their death. I’ve held them in my hands until they lay silent. It’s a wonder and mystery to me, how small birds, with their fragile structure of bones are able to fly.

See how it looks like near Horrabridge in the South-West of Dartmoor, where I moved to after leaving Wookey Hole in Somerset:

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Sunlight streaming through the leaves of low hanging branches over a stone wall
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Walking to the Moors near Horrabridge
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Another day on the same spot, this time with Dartmoor ponies around.
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At times, the atmosphere turns a bit gloomy, on Dartmoor. To me, there’s charm in all seasons on Dartmoor, with its changing light and colours. An empty vast landscape without a sound is magical to me, also the wide open sky with massive cloud formations and far views from a high spot, with a glimmer of the sea, at times. And larks rising, while my heart joins their jubilant song and mad ecstasy while reaching for the skies… how high is my Heaven.. on Earth?
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This is a canal in Tavistock, a town in S. West Dartmoor, where once boats were towed by horses, transporting ingots of tin, copper, lime and quarried stone. The granite of Dartmoor is precious.       
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A magical display of light and purple flowers against a South facing stonewall in a public garden near Buckland Abbey. 

 And to end with a few, to me, prophetic last words of Henry David Thoreau, in his book Walden: “The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

🕉Blessed be, Marian 🕉 

Artistic selfportrait 2011

Article 19 of the Human Rights Charter: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
(The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, in Paris.)

 Copyright2012@tHEARTofCare

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