The End of the Year is nigh

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.Branch spreadIn 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. untitled-8-2I 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.untitled-20-Edit

Stump1And the base of a tree or two.Moss stump

HollyandtrunkI 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?

36 thoughts on “The End of the Year is nigh

  1. Well Dr Livingstone, I look forward to doing some exploring with you in 2016. I believe that there is old gravel pit lKes near us that are paradise for birds.

  2. It has been a rough year for you but I hope that the experience laid a foundation for future good years at the manor and in the garden especially, Andrew.
    I am envious that you are finding flowers and I think the things that we find on stumps are of great interest and most often offer up beauty that is under-appreciated.

  3. Molto belle le tue foto, sicuramente diventerai un bravissimo esploratore e avrai modo di farci vedere tante altre belle foto. Allora tra poco via il 2015 e largo al Nuovo Anno, che ti auguro sia ricco di serenità e tanta positività.
    Saluti, Patrizia

  4. You might say that 2015 was a somewhat of a bummer but I think it was a huge success. You over came afib without difficulty other than the surgery. You and Ms. Ha moved successfully even though it put you in the throes of searing misery at times. You made several trips back East. There were pleasant times discovering all the treasures hidden on your one acre. Last but not least, you and Ms Ha and Lulu have remained healthy and that is something for which you can be grateful.

    Oh yes, the photos are beautiful. Amazing stump decorations of fungi.

  5. Talk about a formula for happy exploration, Andrew: “…looking down for plants and insects, forward for scenery and up for birds.” 😉
    And all around for life.
    Happy New Year.

  6. Glad to hear it’s all tickety-boo down your way. At least you didn’t pick Yorkshire for your new address.

    • Thanks Denise. Much appreciated. I experimented with Color Efex’s detail extractor for the final 4 images. It takes me a bit too far away from film and I am not wholly comfortable with it. It certainly works but it borders on grunge HDR for my liking.

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