Daily rambles

I’ve probably often mentioned this, but one of the greatest benefits of unschooling is that I get to spend at least two hours in the place I love the most, the mountains. (Well… Hills. But I consider them mountains, not having ever lived in a country where mountains are actually mountains.)
I live in the city, sadly, but I am blessed by the fact that with just a few minutes in the car I can be in the forest.
You’ve probably guessed just by the name of this blog that yes, I am a tree hugging hippie in many respects. You have guessed correctly.
We usually go on the same walk, but the benefit of that is that you begin to see things more clearly, because you know the area so well. I could probably find my way around the valley with my eyes closed at this stage! The trees where we walk are mostly sitka spruce, a beech wood, and a mixed wood where there are beech, sitka spruce and a sprinkling of ash at the edge. There’s an abundance of hawthorn to the north closer to the farmer’s land, a beautiful elder (elderberry) tree in the ash area, one or two budleia along the first path, birch, sweet chestnut, larch near the car park and a ragged mixture of gorse, heather, moss, and reeds in the area where the spruce were felled some time ago. It’s incredible to watch how that entire area sprang back after being cut, from being piles of grey, bare branches to a flourishing habitat filled with birds and deer. For plants, there is a lot of rosebay willowherb, heather and gorse, foxglove, nettles, coltsfoot, rushes, bracken, countless amounts. There’s plenty of fungi but I am sadly not at all familiar with their names, apart from sulfur tuft (There is a LOT of that around) and fly agaric.
The animal life is also alive, with deer constantly around, fox tracks, ravens, woodpigeons, chaffinches, robins, coal tits, jays, etc. Just this morning we were going up into the beech wood when the chaffinches we had spotted for the last few days were even more lively than usual. We sat quietly for a while and watched them feeding on (We think) the beech mast all over the ground. I’d say there were between 20-40 of them. As we reached the top of the beech wood there were two jays flying between the branches overhead.
There are a thousand stories I could tell about those forests, and I don’t think my keyboard would hold up if I tried to recount them all, so for now I’ll head onwards to other, less computer based activities.
By that I mean carving a handle for my (proudly hand smithed) knife. That’s what it will probably mean for the next week or so until I finish it. Or knitting. I’m knitting a lot lately too.

Peace,
Amy

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Beech Nut Earrings

I love beech nuts. To look at, to eat, everything. The only thing better is the tree itself. So why not use two of my favourite materials to make a pair of earrings?
A piece of copper wire stretches underneath the segments and holds the top in place, so they’re pretty secure.
I love making things out of natural findings. I was trying to make something similar with a hazelnut shell but it didn’t work :/ ah well.
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Deer Girl

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I’ve been drawing loads of these lately, and I don’t know why. Drawings of young girls saying goodbye to an animal that they look like in some way. I’ve done deer, birds, and I’m in the middle of doing a wolf right now.
I don’t really know why. I was thinking about what they might represent, and I kind of thought that it’s like, that there is a part of you which only one other thing understands, this spirit of play and imagination. But then when you grow old, you lose that spirit and you are left alone in the world being this strange creature because the only thing which understands you is gone. Also there are little faces in the trees which are kind of like people watching. I dunno.
Don’t listen to me. I’m just crazy, ok?

A few thoughts on nature…

This morning I went up the hills for the usual hike, and wow. It was so beautiful, you wouldn’t believe. Argh, it was so perfect.
I really want to live in the woods so badly it hurts. It’s like this feeling that just pulls at my heart and soul and it’s just so strong that it is the most deeply embedded thing I have.

Recently I started seeing nature from a whole new perspective. Nearly a spiritual one, I think. I’ve started to feel the earth moving and breathing beneath my feet and I can feel these presences in the trees that just pull me.
I saw a really nice stone this morning. I felt this weird thing… I thought it was that I wanted to sit on it, but I wanted to be it. I wanted to blend with the stone, become the stone.
You already know I’m weird, right?
I feel nearly more comfortable sharing these thoughts with strangers, even though I know that friends and family also look at this blog. Even so it feels less personal… Yet more personal…

Yeah but a few months ago, I had this really powerful experience with a tree. It was part of a nature camp. Basically what we were to do was go out into the woods and find a tree and sit with it for about an hour or so.
I found this beautiful beech. I said hi, and she let me in. She was definitely a she.
So I sat there, and I really connected with this tree. After a while, I was lying among her roots, and I really wanted to sing to her. So I did.
I never forgot that tree. I think it changed me a little. Because, I could feel her presence so strongly that it spoke to me.

A little while ago I started getting this urge to draw spirits, shamans, people on the verge of each world… I don’t really know why. I suppose that sort of thing has always enchanted me, drawn me in. I don’t know, do some people feel that way about their religion? I’ve never been religious, I’d say, but I follow many Buddhist teachings and I do believe in many Buddhist traditions.
Is this what some people would consider a religion? I’m not sure, as it is simply a connection with the earth and spirits, for me.
I don’t really know any more. All I know is that I want to be out there.

I really want to find someone my age whom I can share this feeling with. Nobody I have ever met in Ireland is quite as obsessed as nature as I. In Scotland I met a few… And it was the best time of my life. I just want someone to understand 😦
Personally, I believe that if more teenagers were connected to nature, the world would be a hell of a lot better. I love life. I love being me. I love everything and everyone.
And I think it’s because of nature 🙂

Knocksink Wood

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This place is so incredible, like seriously beautiful. I was there all day today.
To those who know it, you might not think it’s too great. A nice river, some big trees…
Have you ever gone further, though?

We went out foraging, me my parents and our dog. We’d been there before around the same time last year but we had only gone around the main loop. But up a little path up the valley, a whole new world opened up. I’ve never seen so many old, deciduous trees in Ireland before. It was so pretty, and the river was shining blue and argh. It was so perfect. The ground was all mossy and there were mushrooms everywhere.
But enough of me. Here’s some photos.
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Summer!

Well, at last, finally, we have summer.
I am now officially the happiest person in the world.
It has been 19c since last Saturday.
There is not a cloud in the sky.
I have eaten icecream for the last three days for the first time in five years. (I know, I’m mildly lactose intolerant, but seriously, that stuff tastes so good that I can put up with the sore throat. And my intolerance is getting better. Now I sometimes only get a cough for a day)
For the last few days, all I have done is lain in the garden on the hammock and read all day.

Yesterday, I went for a walk early in the morning up Three Rock/Two Rock mountains. This, before I went to school, was my daily marching ground, and so I know the place about as well as my garden. And I know my garden pretty damn well.
It was so beautiful. All the leaves were out and green, the sky was clear, the air was warm, the sea was sparkling…
Here are some photos.
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