I am not yet confident enough to predict the end of the world but I think I can safely go with the end of the year. December 31st. This time last year I was 11 days into my recovery from the heart op. I was 1 month away from leaving Hong Kong. It has been a challenging year. Not one I shall look back on fondly. Get thee behind me 2015.
Over the last 7 or 8 months I have lived surrounded by trees. I have found it an enriching experience. Arguably the only enriching experience of 2015. When we moved into this house the trees were not yet fully in leaf. That took a few weeks but the garden seemed to shrink as the trees bushed out. We thinned some out of our own volition and in the fulness of time the cycle turned and the garden expanded again, leaving me with the bare skeletons. Not quite bare though. Mosses, lichens and a few refuseniks remained. Here is one today set against the azure sky of late December, early April.In recent weeks I have found some time to explore the wood behind us. This afternoon I ventured down into an old hollow near the Yew tree. I found Red Campion in flower. I also found some fungi hanging on and a treasury of branches swathed in mosses bedecked with baubles of water, spider webs and lush lichens. It was like a miniature tropical rain forest. My landscape lens was useless so the campion was taken with an iPhone. I need to go back with a macro lens.
The woodland floor is erupting with Bluebells, Arum leaves, Dog’s Mercury and all sorts of other Spring bounty. Today I chose to take some stump shots.
And the base of a tree or two.
I need to find a way to show off their real splendour.
At present I am finding little in the way of insect life but the birds are there. 3 Buzzards cruised over my head today. A charm of Goldfinches tinkled their serenade on the woodland fringe. I however am looking for the roosting place of the Tawny Owls. This is work in progress. I had 3 around the garden 2 nights ago. They must be nearby.
I have not yet reconciled the conflict of looking down for plants and insects, forward for scenery and up for birds. I need binoculars, wide lens, macro lens and ears tuned.
The end of the year is rewarding my senses. In 10 days we head off to Vienna. February we are off to Hong Kong for the lunar new year and in March I fly to Tokyo on business. There will be no resolutions other than to continue my exploration of my local patch. So, if I am spared, that is the goal for the coming year, the year in which at some point I shall cross into my 60th year on the planet. I shall become an explorer. Dr. Livingstone, I presume?