The thistle patch featured a few days ago is already no longer, the flowers being replaced by fluffy seed balls like dandelion clocks. These pictures from that time, of small white butterflies click well with the colour of the thistle flowers. The first is an especially pleasing composition, to my eyes.
The (small and large) white butterflies were very common in my youth and a bit of a nuisance, with their caterpillars all over the brassica plants. Now they’re not so common, so seeing them is a bit more of an event, and photographing them more of a challenge.
The comma butterfly has a quite outrageous outline shape, supposedly helping as camouflage against a background of dead leaves. This was an occasional visitor to our garden, usually only seen on a few occasions during the summer.
You can’t see the comma that gives this butterfly its name from the top. For this you need to see the underside, as in this earlier post.
The colour match with the buddleia and phlox is not wonderful, but that’s where it deigned to linger…
Most of the year the long straggly patch between two local fields on one of our walks is a bit nondescript and weedy. We bemoan the poor state of the hedge. But at this time of year comes a profusion of thistles into flower, some quite beautiful.
Look closely, and you see tiny insects on the leaves and flowers, with body length of just a few mm.
New to me, this day flying moth, a Silver Y, was flitting about rapidly on the lavender, never staying still for a moment. Out of maybe 100 shots there were just a few that were not too badly blurred and relatively in focus. This was maybe the best, head-on, proboscis in flower.
The antlers of the red deer in Tatton Park have been growing for quite a while, as they do every spring; they are ‘in velvet‘. Their texture really do look like soft velvet. They can grow up to an inch a day.
As with most photography, the lighting makes all the difference.Read More »
Here’s the concluding part of another insightful poem from Steve Taylor.
Life can be frustrating and full of obstacles
with desires for a different life constantly disturbing your mind
or life can be fulfilling, full of opportunities
with a constant flow of gratitude for the gifts you have
and the only difference between them is acceptance.
Old age may be a process of decay
that withers your body and mind
and poisons you with bitterness
as you yearn for the freshness of youth
Or old age may be a process of liberation
that enriches you with wisdom
and makes you more present as the future recedes
and lightens your soul as you let go of attachments.
And the only difference between them is acceptance.
Death may be a cold, black emptiness
that mercilessly devours your ego
and makes everything you own seem valueless
and everything you’ve achieved seem meaningless
Or death may be a perfect culmination
a soft twilight at the end of a long summer’s day
when you’re filled with heavy tiredness and ready to sleep
and know that you will wake up again to a bright new dawn.
And the only difference between them is acceptance.
Brambles are ubiquitous in Cheshire at this time of year, with those spiky stems riotously spreading forth from every wild patch and hedgerow. When I first saw these attractive hedgerow flowers out in the countryside I thought they might be some sort of wild rose, but no, they are simply quite large bramble flowers. And the spikes are vicious.
Must remember to pass that way again in a couple of months time to pick the blackberries!
The southern screamer is a large South American wetland bird. What is it doing in the UK? This pair are at the Wildlife and Wetland Trust’s Martin Mere centre, now reopened for a limited number of visitors. The centre contains specimen birds from all over the world, as well as providing the space for thousands of local and migrating birds.
We were lucky to find the birds in photo-posing mode, rather than screaming at all and sundry.
Unlike geese and ducks this bill is not designed to filter water; they mostly feed on vegetation. These birds are thought to be the ‘missing link’ between wildfowl and game birds.Read More »
Black swan theory is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise and has a major effect, based on the observed historical fact in Europe that black swans did not exist.
I guess we could call covid-19 a black swan event, although it was actually predicted that such an event would happen at some time, which was always ‘in the future’, until it wasn’t. Of course, globalised trade made this black swan event a worldwide phenomenon pretty rapidly.
Globalisation also means we can now see black swans in Europe without travelling to Australia. This one was at WWT Martin Mere, caught in the act of biting off chunks of reed.
This thoughtful post on women leaders and the coronavirus highlights the political systems in New Zealand, Taiwan and Germany that make it difficult for macho populists to gain control, and provide the space for empathic ‘feminine’ leaders, who have clearly made a better job of handling the coronavirus.
Then look at the macho leaders: Trump, Johnson, Putin, Bolsonaro, and what ‘success’ they have achieved…. The stats give the answer.
I am hosting this important article written by Kate Maclean,Professor of International Development, Northumbria University, Newcastle and published by The Conversation
Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Tsai Ing-Wen of Taiwan and Angela Merkel of Germany have all been singled out for the way they have handled the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve been praised for demonstrating care, empathy and a collaborative approach. These skills – stereotypically described as “feminine” – have enabled them to listen to scientific expertise, work with local authorities and communicate effectively with the public. It has made them come across as transparent and accountable at a time of mass confusion.
In stark contrast, male leaders in some of the worst performing countries – the UK, the US and Brazil – have adopted a leadership style of belligerent rhetoric. They’ve taken guidance from entourages of confidantes, often instead of experts. Their inconsistent, unclear communications have been compared to
Crosby beach is a popular place to view the ships coming into Liverpool down the deep water channel in the Mersey estuary. The windmills provide an ideal backdrop, as the Antony Gormley statues look out.
A good place to rest awhile.
And as the sun goes down you can watch the ships queuing to come down the deep water channel into Liverpool.
Antony Gormley’s installation ‘Another Place’ on Crosby Beach, Merseyside, continues to be a favourite place to visit. Identical statues of Gormley himself are placed across the beach and into the sea.
Who is this?
Some of the statues have become very weather worn; others are in relatively good condition – and they’re quite an attraction for visiting dogs.
Always, the statues look out to sea – the perennial search for what lies beyond…
Featured image shows the view from the beach towards Birkenhead on the other side of the River Mersey.
Another great poem by Steve Taylor in his newsletter, deserves sharing:
Your Being Belongs to the Present
Your ego-mind belongs to the past.
Like a museum, everything in it comes from the past –
beliefs that were handed down from your parents
ideas you absorbed from your culture
thought patterns that formed when you were young
old traces of trauma that still cause you pain
and random memories that keep replaying.
And your thoughts keep dragging you back to the past
like old friends who are jealous of your new life
and keep making you revisit
the haunts you’ve left behind
and the habits you’ve long outgrown.
But your being belongs to the present.
It has never known anything but the present.
It only knows the past and future as ideas
that pass through its nowness, like clouds through the sky.
So untangle yourself from thoughts and concepts.
Give your full attention to your experience
until the structures of your mind grow soft
and you feel the calm wholeness of being
seeping through your inner space
and bringing you back to presence.
Slip outside your ego-mind
and leave the past behind.
Then your life will be an adventure –
an exhilarating voyage of discovery
through the endless spacious freshness of presence.
A gang of these came around our pond for a few minutes, buzzed around furiously and noisily, occasionally briefly settling on water lily leaves. Then they disappeared. Nothing like the usual hoverflies that hang around flowers for ages.
This beauty is a marsh hoverfly. Magnificent body markings and lace wings! Judging by the Wikepedia entry this appears to be a female.Read More »
We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time
TS Eliot, Little Gidding
In the beginning, after the big bang and the formation of the earth and living beings, human beings emerged embedded in the dream of nature. There was no differentiation.
Gradually there emerged language and groupings of people.
There were some societies where the connection with nature remained strong, where language worked in consort with the one, where men and women each brought their own strengths to that cooperation with others and with the one. They developed wonderful creativity in their cave paintings, and a wonderful science that enabled them to comprehend and relate to the cosmos through great stone constructions. They told stories that passed through the generations, passing on archetypal knowledge, lessons of experience to each new generation.
With the coming of written language, some feared that the knowledge of connection would be lost. They wrote it down, hidden away for when ignorant barbarians came, which surely they did.Read More »