What I found in my Garden

A couple of weeks ago, I was busy in the garden doing some tidying before the approach of harsher weather, when I encountered this little critter (pictured below) making his way across the lawn (at an alarmingly rapid pace for a caterpillar!). It’s an Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar, apparently fairly common in the u.k., though this is only the fourth time in my life that I’ve come across one.

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar

I popped it in a plant pot so I could search for a suitable safe place to put it. The eye markings are false eyes. It puffs itself up to make itself look intimidating, with a good degree of success I think. Last summer, I read in a local newspaper how one family had called the R.S.P.C.A. (Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to report having found a baby snake. Of course, it was investigated and found to be an Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar and was returned to the outdoors. I was amused, but completely understood how it could be mistaken for a baby snake.

Pictured below is a clearer photo from the internet.

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar (picture from Internet)

By now, I hope my little friend is safely cocooned inside its chrysalis, ready for the ongoing winter transformation from caterpillar to moth. Below is a picture of what it will look like.

ELEPHANT HAWKMOTH

You can find more information about Elephant Hawkmoths at the Woodland Trust.

CHRISTINA ROSSETTI (1830 – 1894)

The Enchanted Life

“What does it mean, to live in a way which acknowledges our embeddedness in the world, and our relationship with everything which participates in it along with us? It begins with remembering that, when you are in a relationship with someone or something, communication goes in both directions. Try approaching the world like this: don’t just identify that bird as a robin, and listen to his complex and beautiful song – talk to the robin in return. Let him listen to and come to know your song, just as he would come to know the caw of a crow or the husky night bark of a fox. Don’t just see that this is an ash tree, and listen to the sound that is made when the wind passes through its leaves. Let the tree listen to the sound that is made when air passes over your vocal cords. Open your mouth and let the sound out. Let the tree hear your voice. Read it a poem – maybe a beautiful poem in praise of trees. Why not praise the tree? Maybe this is what that song thrush is doing, singing way up there in its heights.” – ‘The Enchanted Life’ by Sharon Blackie

“Ultimately, to live an enchanted life is to pick up the pieces of our bruised and battered psyches, and to offer them the nourishment they long for. It is to be challenged, to be awakened, to be gripped and shaken to the core by the extraordinary which lies at the heart of the ordinary. Above all, to live an enchanted life is to fall in love with the world all over again. This is an active choice, a leap of faith which is necessary not just for our own sakes, but for the sake of the wide, wild Earth in whose being and becoming we are so profoundly and beautifully entangled.” – The Enchanted Life by Sharon Blackie

Healing Nature

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

John Muir

Taking a walk in nature has healing power for our minds and souls. We don’t ask anything from nature, yet nature gives us silence, peace, harmony and beauty, without limits. Walking in nature is free and efficient therapy for our stressed, fast-paced lives.

The Forest’s Blessed Abode

Belinda Stotler

Come, walk with me into the forest’s blessed abode,
To see the wondrous beauty the Earth has bestowed;
We’ll bask in the surreal splendor that surrounds us,
And listen to nature composing the forest’s grand opus,
As sounds of whispering trees and burbling streams,
Send our minds wandering into a poet’s lovely dreams.

We’ll walk where sunlight sets the forest’s leaves aglow,
Weaving open paths to dapple golden light on all below;
Where trees shade us from summer heat and harsh rays,
Freeing our minds so we can see Mother Nature’s ways,
Of creating nurturing sanctuaries for life dwelling there,
To shield its tender wards from storms too hard to bear.

Come sit beneath the glowing embers of an autumn tree,
Whose rich hues are a natural wonder many come to see,
While colorful leaves glide down in a whirling course,
Like embers breaking loose from their flaming source.
Glowing for a moment as if falling to their ending fate,
Instead, nourishing Earth for rebirth into a new state.

The wintering forest seems to be a still, desolate place.
Yet, under the snow and autumn leaves of a tree’s base,
Beats the promising pulse of new life that patiently waits
For spring’s warmth and rain to open wide nature’s gates;
Roam with me under the trees standing strong over it all,
To watch them quietly sleep until nature’s beckoning call.

Let us stroll in spring’s forest where we will reap
The joy of Earth awakening its children from sleep,
And hear life’s chorus and watch its offspring grow,
As waking trees renew their canopy over all below;
Come share with me the forest’s spirit at rebirth,
So we too are reborn within this temple of Earth.

Every now and then let us answer the forest’s call,
To come see life’s beauty and the miracle of it all;
If we listen with our hearts as we walk among trees,
We may understand the message carried on a breeze,
For us to blend with the forest’s spirit so it will beguile
Us into walking under its lovely trees for just a while.