Powerfully evocative image, and the message that goes with it aint half bad either…


dhamma footsteps


POSTCARD #219: Delhi: Everything comes to a stop when I see this photo, sent by Jiab in Gujarat, West India. All the pain and suffering I’ve experienced recently is suddenly nothing when I see the endeavor of this woman pulling what looks to be the trailer belonging to a truck. Even so, some would say, it’s easy for me to say, easy for me, comfortable in my male middle class security… and I search for words: admiration, respect, deference. None of these seem to describe the way that lady who looks like my Auntie is pulling that thing with the momentum of a short run at it, to get up and over the incline leading up to the bridge, then over the top and holding the weight as the trailer gathers speed on the downside.

When I first examined the photo it looked like there were two women pulling the…

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Feeding the Enemy

I’m sure there is a massive lesson in here for humanity. Can’t quite put my finger on it… but hopefully some world leader somewhere might read it. They are much smarter than me, and might be able to figure it out…😉


animals food cups peanuts chipmunks eating_wallpaperswa.com_95 Wallpaperswa.com

We knew he’d been living  in the front yard for a while.

What we didn’t know was that he was munching on the tomatoes, leaving them on the vine.

Then, he got sloppy.

He left seed drippings around the outside of the pots.

Busted. In broad daylight.

Like most of us who grew up with Alvin and those adorable cartoon chipmunks, I was always delighted to see them. Until now.

He was eating them green. By the time we caught him, 10-12 tomatoes were ruined.

We had just come to terms with the rabbits and squirrels in our yard.

But this one was bold. We caught him mid-meal.

We tried blocking the entrance to his abode. He just dug out another hole.

Maybe we could devise a trap, and relocate him to the woods ?

And then, a simple suggestion.

“Maybe they are just hungry…try feeding them something, like…

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The Penalty of Being An Ecologist

Cliff Seruntine

grandmother birch of the Old Wood small A truly ancient birch or massive proportions, growing in a secret place deep in the Old Wood. Unlike the forest service, I will not cut it down to see how old it is.

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

Aldo Leopold

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Out of Time – part II

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Morning came too soon.

Appearing hardly rested, the coachman seemed distracted as they enjoyed a hearty start to the day, courtesy of the Innkeeper’s wife. The Nereid had come to him, in the depth of a sleepless night, and the hours passed quickly with her words. Words of anger. Words of fear. But; mostly; words of sorrow.


There was a time, so long ago, that memory of it remains only in tales for children. Once upon that time, all of Nature worked together. Once upon that time, Man knew us, and we knew Man. We walked the woods and hills together. We toiled and tilled together. We sheltered and protected him. He was of us.

Then: the Great Unfolding. Everything changed.

We were forced, gradually, to withdraw into shadow. The Bride of Fire faded first; her children dance no more in open ecstasy. The children of Earth too, sunlit no more; scattered in remote wooded dell, secluded lofty fortress, and, among their brethren, in deepest mountain cavern. The song of Water, now so rarely in beauty heard, faded as we sought out gentle places of hiding. The children of Air fared worst of all… so few places of refuge…

We are still here. Small in number. Watching. Tending. Toiling. Willing him back to us. It can never be too late…


They mounted the carriage later than they should. The residence of the exiled Fisher lay many miles hence. Their goal: the ancient fortress of Eternal Isle, sitting amid the great rapids feeding the Lake of Many Suns. The journey there is invariably pleasant, regardless of weather. High above the waters of the lake, the trail winds through dappled forest and rocky townships scattered among the Sentinels of the Ancients.

Seeking the indulgence of the Fisher, the four descended to the head of the falls. The Maiden and the Crone remained above the bank, communing with ancestors unknown, whilst the Mother dropped to the water’s edge. Images and forms swept past on the current. A lone, twisted pine gently stretched on the breeze and dipped a single frond…


Only women are admitted to the mysteries of the Triune Temple. Three, triple pillared halls, each connected, separately, one to the other. A place of enduring power, set apart in the landscape, housing the Vessels of Luanistyn. At this time of the year, the sacred content of the Vessels continuously overflows, flooding all of Creation with the Blessings thereof. Transporting the Nereid would require that outpouring to be temporarily stopped; the Powers in the Temple, closed down.

The three enrobed in the precinct, and prepared for the task ahead. The driver sifted through their assorted instruments;  not expecting such a task to be thrust upon them, they would need to improvise. From all that was available, each selected a sound most pleasing to their ear. Three brands were lit and placed atop the Eastern pillar of the North Gate.

The Crone, as Air, entered first, making her way to the Western Hall; the Mother entered next, as Water, and made her way to the Southern Hall; the Maiden, as Earth, entered last and made her way to the Eastern Hall; the coachman remained outwith, tending Fire and keeping watch of the Gate.

Placing protection on the altar of their respective Hall, the three began the ritual in unison. The vibrations of Air, strong and loud; the vibrations of Water, so far off, yet high and clear; the vibrations of Earth, faltering and low. The Temple lights dimmed, time slowed, the Vessels faltered. All of Creation paused…

An hour later, the Temple now in complete Darkness, the coachman rang a high pealed bell to call the Rite to end. The Maiden, the Mother and the Crone slowly made their way to the Gate, exiting, in order, as the first of the brands burned out. Within the Temple, but five minutes had passed.


The coachman dismounted at the bridge, made his way down the bank, and dropped to the rocks. The Nereid was sluggish, and much smaller than he expected. For this he was grateful. Had she appeared as the night before, it would have been impossible to transport her in his makeshift container. The Fisher twisted down, stretched, and gently dipped the Vessel…

His head spun. Temple Time closed over him and everything stopped. The Nereid rose, moved carefully across the void between them, and settled into the Vessel. Nausea and weakness overwhelmed him. Sealing the container, the driver stumbled back to his coach.

The Mother accepted the Vessel. She alone could carry it, and its precious cargo, for the rest of its desperate journey.


They planned to stop at the Refuge by the Great Pool of Offering, where they could give thanks in sight of the Grand Stele. Already the outpouring from the Vessels of Luanistyn was building up behind them. They would have to hurry.

Having barely reached the Place of Meeting, the road suddenly filled. A vast tide of humanity; carts and coaches, flocks and herds; refugees fleeing, they knew not what, all moving in the opposite direction. With little choice, they stopped and waited as the exodus clamoured around them.

The Priestess of the Offering, in the midst of closing the Refuge, looked up as the coach drew to a halt. She welcomed the group in, without complaint, administering the Sacred Rites, and refusing payment for her service.


Parking the coach as close to the Bounding Bridge as safety would allow, the coachman and the Mother prepared for the long hike to the Healing Pool. It was here, in purest, mountain fed water, that the Nereid could soonest recover. The Maiden and the Crone, unable to travel such a distance, held vigil.

The coachman and the Mother, clutching her precious cargo, crossed the perilous gorge to the sweet meadow beyond. In the far distance, their rocky goal, from where the faint sounds of falling, tumbling, dancing water could be heard. The Nereid slept.


The bear, which usually resided in the falls, was nowhere to be found. Luanistyn watched from his mountain. As the coachman lit a brand, the Mother took the Vessel to the water’s edge, and gently lowered the Nereid into the stream. Slowly, she woke, taking in her new surroundings. A long, hesitant, pause. Then, with hardly a stir, she was gone. The fallen centurion smiled as a stony bear cub pulled itself, glistening, from the pool.

They took their time, basking in the last of the sunshine, as they made their way back to the coach. The Maiden and the Crone stood in the roadway, waiting. Unknowing, they had completed that which they had, unwittingly, come to achieve.


The Land still had much healing to do, and her inhabitants would take even longer to recover. But the three eagles, which would come in the days following, brought a message of hope, alleviating many of their fears. The worst that Man can achieve, Nature shall surely endure.


Part I











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Out of Time – part I

After such a long trek, the three were happy to have arrived at their final destination. The excitement in the coach was palpable. The vista, well recognised by them, would soon open, and they would be “home”.

Turning into the valley, everything changed. Something was wrong. The scene before them was as far from the expected, tranquil forest idyll, as could be imagined. Before them. Devastation. Bodies strewn everywhere. Dismembered limbs heaped in random piles along the highway.

“How could this have happened?” the Mother cried. The Maiden simply gasped in despair. The Crone, laying aside the weft she wove, sat in silence, observing the scene of unfolding horror.

The carriage moved on, the silent coachman searching for some word of comfort but coming up short. As unexpected as this was, there was an inevitability about it. Man, in believing he had come so far, still had so much to learn.


The double portal, too, had been violated. Not overtly. The pillars of each remained but, between the two gateways, scorched earth, devastation, and a tangle of lifeless limbs. The Maiden shrieked in anguish. This. This was too much to bear.


The Place of Meeting, thankfully, was safe. Far enough from the centre of devastation to have been spared. At least for now. The carriage drew to a halt. The three stepped out, breathing clean air and basking in the unspoiled, twilight view.

Un-beckoned, the driver moved around the coach to retrieve the tools he knew would be required. The Maiden, turning East, took the first brand offered and gathered unto her Earth. The Mother, turning South, took the second brand, and gathered unto her Water. The Crone, turning West took the final brand, and gathered unto her Air. The coachman, as was fitting, stood off, to the North, holding Fire.


Next day, intention set and Powers gathered, the three travelled through, and beyond, the blasted landscape. Only in the Great Hall could their intention be rooted. Only in the Great Hall could their Powers be joined.

Leaving the carriage some way off, they climbed the short, oak-strewn hill and moved, carefully, through the gates of the three concentric rings, formed in pillars of stone, to take up their position. A makeshift altar, dressed in black and semi-precious gemstone, was set; at its centre, a plain vessel, carved from antler and adorned with a simple rim of silver, was filled with a honey coloured fluid.

The coachman, having lit and handed out the brands, was invited to stand in the North, as Fire. The Mother, as Water, stood to the West. The Maiden, as Earth, stood to the South. The Crone, as Air, stood to the East, from where she oversaw the rite; her thrice-weft wand of sacred thorn, focussing All to the Work.

“Blessings upon Water,” the cup was sipped. “Blessings upon Earth,” the cup was sipped. “Blessings upon Trees,” the cup was sipped. “Blessings from the life-giving Sun”, the cup was sipped. The driver, directed towards the greatest oak in the Grove, poured the remaining libation, such that the Fae may bless the coming endeavour.


The sun had not fully set when they de-carriaged at the Mourning Tree. In the Grove it appeared darker than it should, given the backlight of sunset spilling over the ridge beyond. Not far off, the sound of the falls, eternally filling the Votive Pool, splashed across the meadow to harmonise seamlessly with the leaf chatter all around.

Brands lit, with one each for the Maiden, the Mother and himself, the coachman stood off, to the North. The Maiden, as Earth, took up station in the West, whilst the Mother, as Water, took up station to the East. The Crone, as Air (now obviously of Trees), stood to the South.

Approaching the Mourning Tree, her administrations and offerings remain obscured by the semi-darkness and the song of Nature around them. In the growing darkness, a gasp from the North. On the ridge opposite, silhouetted against the last glimmering of day, a… something… has appeared, and stands, in tree like form, observing…


The drive to the Inn, where they had spent the previous night, was filled with conversation about what could the sudden appearance of a “tree” on the gloaming skyline possibly mean? What its nature and form? Approaching the bridge into the village, the horses shied. Something was wrong and they had sensed it.

It was the coachman who heard it first. The Nereid, daughter of Nereus, who had lived under this bridge for over three millenia, was struggling. The devastation upstream had left her vulnerable, trapped, and unlikely to survive. She cried out for help.

Tomorrow was going to be a busy day…


Part II


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Children playing with matches

New government announced...

Not so cute now…

I leave you alone for a week, and what happens? It was all very well allowing the children to shake the box… such a nice rattle noise to keep them amused for a while, and all… but who on earth thought it was a good idea to open it for them? These three, overgrown toddlers really should not be allowed outside, never mind handing them matches…

I’ve kept a low profile. Having been through the whole Scottish independence debacle, the (almost) immediate switch to UK independence was WAY too much to bear. I have friends on both sides. Some things are not worth losing friends over. The machinations of an overfed elite, as they trip over each other to manipulate a system designed to ensure that they always win, being one of them…

To say that the result is disappointing, would be an understatement matched only in scale by the global stock market losses that our three “innocent darlings” managed to initiate on Friday (is two trillion even a number?) Of course, when they said “short-term uncertainty” you possibly assumed “we won’t know what we are doing for a couple of weeks”, when what they clearly meant was “pensions could take twenty years to recover, the poorest in the world will pay dearly for it all, and inflation and interest rates could go through the roof”.

Understandable mistake to make, really…

What isn’t so understandable, however, is that over half of those who turned up to make their mark appear to have whole-heartedly bought into the xenophobic rhetoric, the jingoistic language more appropriate to the Victorian era, or the outright deceit of it all. Do we really imagine, for a single second, that these three give a single hoot for anything other than lining their own pockets, promoting their own, petty agendas, and winning at the “power game?” We, on the other hand, will always remain little more than potential cannon fodder – merely the collateral damage to be expected in such high-stakes gameplay.

In some areas of the country, these stakes are much higher than others: the ramifications for the Irish peace process have never really been aired; economically depressed areas, long supported by EU investment, may find that critical funding more difficult to obtain;  and, possibly most serious of all, the entire EU project itself may be under threat, not just in terms of the additional pressures placed on already struggling nations, and the effects on currency stability, but, more worryingly, the impetus given to far right groups across the continent.

Most disturbing of all?

Now, more than ever, nation states are completely incapable of resolving the big issues facing the planet. At a time when the only viable solutions are to be found in increased cooperation, we have essentially walked away. “Going it alone” hardly seems more inappropriate than in the opening chapter of the 21st century.

whowillweblamenowThere are, more than likely, opportunities in all of this, assuming that the children don’t burn everything down first. Indeed, many believe that it may spell the end of the ultra-right,as they will no longer be afforded the scapegoat of external influence for every problem within the national economy. Unfortunately, having split the UK in two, the English Nationalists have effectively handed the Scottish ones a baton to call for a THIRD, no, sorry, SECOND referendum on the Union itself – which may be a positive, depending on which side of that particular fence you sit, especially given the almost guaranteed result on the back of Brexit.

I genuinely hope that the rifts caused can be mended in the coming weeks and months. I genuinely hope that all the much yearned-for positive change can be achieved.

Unfortunately, I’m a realist, and more than old enough to remember why we joined in the first place. In case you aren’t, let me assure you, the “good old days before the EU” really weren’t…



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The Premature Burial of My Idealism

Yet again I attempt to analyse the state of my inner and outer worlds and a little voice protests ‘this navel gazing will come to no good!’ Ah, the shrill voice of doubt and uncertainty…

Source: The Premature Burial of My Idealism

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