In an Archaic feeling misty rainforest, I feel like I could be in a forest in Washington State. As I observe my surroundings I note the trees look dead apart from tallest ones, despite the deadness of the trees this is actually a healthy patch of land.
Deep calm emanates from the green amongst the pitter patter of rain as light gusts of wind whisper and whoosh through the cathedral canopy. Sticks mutedly crack underfoot as I advance slowly deeper into the lush unwalked forest floor. Dark fungal blooms jutt out of dead logs, brown preserved leaves lie undisturbed, no smell, just a fresh cool pure pre spring day.
Some of the trees are dead and consequently more light is entering through the canopy, allowing new sphagnum moss to grow everywhere, it is almost neon with green, even in February on a gray day. This would be the perfect environment for horsehair parachutes come Autumn. I emerged from the house today just ‘because’, it’s a wet day and there aren’t many people around, everything is dripping wet. The canopy is cathedral esque, a friend once told me that cathedrals are modeled after forest canopies, splaying out at the top, we partly evolved around forests so I can believe that.
What I notice the most today is the peacefulness. Dead branches hang with pure clear rainwater glistening in droplets, looking almost frozen in time. In another context I wouldn’t look twice at them, funny how such a beautiful place can lay undocumented for decades, just 20 feet off the beaten track. A perfect example of why you should just duck under a bush and yomp off into the undergrowth on a whim, you might find a place like this. It looks like no one has ever walked up this little area in decades. I could be in the middle of nowhere. If I were in a vast American or Russian forest I’d probably have to be on my guard, but there are no predatory animals here so I can relax and enjoy the stillness, the best of both worlds.
Many think of May as the first fully green month of the year. I say white. Elderflowers, wild garlic and Hawthorn all start flowering in May. I couldn’t sleep last night because of the heat so I awake early and am out running before 7. The day is nothing special, it starts off slightly overcast. The run is also nothing special, but all the smells of May are here, as I focus on my breath and the mild burning of my calves I notice the ultra distinctive smell of Elderflowers, nothing else like it, followed by wild garlic. I stop to catch my breath and have a little moment watching the water roll by, no plump trout to be seen but I know they are lurking in the shadows allowing the cool oxygenated water to flow through them in the darker areas. As I finish up the run the sun begins to burn away the denser cloud to reveal a silky white late spring haze. The rest of the day is spent relaxing.
Milky sun casts diffuse light on everything, my favourite kind of light. This tends to happen around March. Seals honk, snort and wail on slabs of rock and seaweed between the mainland and the calf. A trawler labours through the the tidal rush, a phenomenon where sea is funneled between 2 large landmasses. The tides race against each other invisibly, creating static standing waves. I hear waves sloshing against surging seaweed. Grass shimmers in light wind and white sunlight next to me. The Mountains of Mourne hover above white sheets of Marine fog in the distance. The calf of Man – an island of solitude – sits solidly nestled in calm sea. Light white cloud hangs in the blue sky as people amble around here united in bliss on the first nice spring day of the year.
I wake early today, in time for the very first signs of the morning twilight. Venus still shines brightly, a familiar dawn friend, a single buoy in the bay bleeps dutiful green. Seagulls are already hovering and squawking incessantly. A few sparse gray clouds hang in the deep dark blue air. Palm trees flutter gently in the sea breeze as the waves make a satisfying hiss. Streetlights add a synthetic tint to the immediate surroundings around my apartment’s balcony. My fingers tingle in the crisp air. I take a sip of a hastily made cinnamon coffee. A perfect drink to brew, sip and hold in cold hands, perfect for an early morning start in pristine air. Coffee coats the mouth with a mildly fumy, aromatic spice taste. I look up to the sky and see a single aeroplane contrail, high enough to made silver by the sun, which is lurking undetected behind the horizon, ready to spill forth the day in all it’s fluorescent prestige.
I have often wondered why I am so mesmerised by fire. As a young boy I would stare into my grandmother’s fireplace, watching the flames dance with each other. The older I got the more I realised that fire is an innate part of the human psyche. So much so that I am beginning to think there is something genetic to our fascination with the beauty of fire. There has certainly been enough time for a ‘fire fascination’ to have entered our genetic make-up. If epigenetics can have an effect generation to generation, then obviously 100,000 years of fire, or however long humans have commanded it is certainly enough time for it to become a part of us psychologically.
Or maybe I just wanted to write that because I’ve been messing around with HDR shots of a fireplace with my camera!
This past couple of months has seen some considerable effort put into a project at work. 14-15 hour days, forgetting to eat, amongst other negative psychological effects. If one good existential thing has come out of all the extra effort, is a reminder that hard work brings a ‘swing’ effect that allows you to appreciate the positives that much more. In my case, it is the ability to drive for 30 minutes in any direction and be presented with mountains, evergreen plantations, deciduous forests, wetland nature preserves, secluded bays, long sandy beaches, medieval castles and hilltop towers.
The other day, I took a walk up at Ballaugh Curraghs. Believe it or not there are Wild WALLABIES. Yes, wild wallabies in a wetland forest! I didn’t get any photos of those, but it still gave me a ‘recharge’. Sometimes the sun is in the right place in the sky, the trees are at the right angle, and the temperature is perfect for how you are feeling. That was this day.
I don’t know why duck eggs aren’t more popular… They’re almost always bigger, have a firmer white, and a deeper more flavoursome, nourishing yolk with heaps of omega 3 fatty acids… There’s nothing like fresh scrambled eggs eaten straight from the pan, especially when they’re duck eggs.
The feature image was produced with:
- 3 large duck eggs
- 50-100 ml of full fat milk (for the consistency… In all honesty I just poured some in and don’t know the measurements 🙂 )
- As much butter as you want!
- Dash of ground black pepper
- Dash of ground Maldon salt (Or another non-treated natural salt brand)
- A wooden spoon
- A non stick milk pan
I’m not going to tell you how to scramble eggs, you already know how!
Figs, semi-melted mature cheddar, and caraway seeds
No reason, I just wanted to test out the new camera (Canon 700d) and tripod. I was pissing about with exposure, aperture and shutter speed, slightly under exposed this one if I remember correctly. The image is pretty heavily post processed too.
A sign of good food is the finished plate. In this case, home made guacamole and doritos! If I’m honest the doritos are superfluous, I often eat guacamole all by itself!