Today I was astounded by the lusciousness of nature. I’d like to think I’m generally fairly in touch with how awesome nature is but on the basis of today I may have to throw that misconception out of the window. Because. Really. Nature is AWESOME.
My astoundedness came about while in a 20 year old forest garden in Devon. I’m currently on a course with Martin Crawford, director of the Agroforestry Research Trust and generally inspiring human who’s been researching and growing and sharing his knowledge on forest gardens for many a year. He’s also the author of some brilliant books on perennial veg and forest garden species. Anyway, I digress. The course started with some “classroom” teaching before we had our initial visit to the garden. Being me I was wandering around in flip-flop type shoes and as soon as we were in the garden the shoes came off and that was in.
Walking barefoot is truly revelatory.
Much like my recent awakening while walking in the dunes in Scotland, I found myself slowing down (when there’s no protection for the soles of my feet I tend to tread more carefully) and really feeling the texture of the earth beneath my feet. Be it grass, or twig, or earth or veritable mud. But more than the brilliance of wandering barefoot, I was totally awestruck by this amazingly rich and diverse environment where so many different plants were living so merrily alongside each other. Twenty years of planning and growing have gone into this space – and as far as I’m concerned have created a veritable paradise. The course was still going on as we walked around but I would have been more than happy simply to have wandered and paused and pondered and drunk in this amazing space and atmosphere. Trying to get across the feeling this wonderful forest garden inspired me is nigh on impossible. So let’s give it a go with some pictures…
I feel incredibly fortunate to be on this course. There’s an incredibly exciting diversity of people here, with a number who have travelling internationally (one from Chile!) to access Martin’s knowledge. The fact that I simply had to move from one bit of this landmass to another, *and* the course fell at a time I could do is utterly wonderful. Seeing a forest garden “in action” rather than just in my head or pictures brings back, again, the resounding truth that technology can do many things, but interacting with “the real stuff” is a pleasure too great to be disregarded. And, indeed, one to be revelled in!
Being on holiday again is also a wonderful pleasure. As I thought to myself as I walked along the Prom on Wednesday, I certainly seem to have taken the bull by the horns in 2014 and really got stuck in. And the thing about grabbing bulls by horns is that when it’s working it’s an absolute dream, and when it’s not it can be a bit painful, but all the way through it’s a definite adventure! Beyond July I have more holiday planning to fit in, methinks, but I suspect the plans for that will become apparent in due course.
It’s also been a bit of a rollercoaster getting to this next bit of holiday. The last few weeks I’ve just about managed to catch up on things at work and (with any luck) prime things for my return in a couple of weeks, but I’ve also been catching up with friends, playing gigs with Batala, wandering around hills raising money for the Cave Rescue Organisation (donations always welcome!) getting snippets of sunstroke (but thankfully not getting burnt) and being involved in the NO HANDS Massage Mastery Assessment weekend. All of which has been incredibly full on and occasionally a bit mind blowing. And all of which makes me very happy to be me and alive and living my life. And the fact I’ve got a quiet evening to catch my breath makes it all the better.