October 12, 2012
Here are some colour photos as a follow up to the earlier black and whites (which you can find here).
Mountain Light, larger version here.
Fern detail, larger version here.
Expecting ‘Postman Pat’, larger version here.
Last of the Sun on Great Gable, larger version here.
View from Scafell Pike Summit, larger version here.
Walking towards Wasdale Head, larger version here.
August 21, 2012
Sometime in the middle of last month we had an unexpected visitor at breakfast. As we sat together, one of us noticed a caterpillar crawling up the outside of the window, we watched as it got to about half way and then it stopped. We soon got bored and carried on with breakfast and forgot about the caterpillar. later on in the day however we noticed that it was still there but it had sort of deflated a bit and dulled in colour. Tiny silken fibres had begun to surround the caterpillar, anchoring it to the window. Slowly over the next few days a chrysalis formed around it.
We went away on holiday and came back and ‘he’ was still there, unchanged, though perhaps a little darker in colour. Then a couple of days later, (once again at breakfast), we noticed some movement. The butterfly was emerging, head and legs and the first part of the wings, still all tucked in and neatly folded. We watched for a while but he didn’t seem to progress any further. Perhaps he was waiting for the sun to shine, but the sun didn’t shine much and it was an unseasonably cold and wet day.
Sadly, he didn’t make it. All those weeks of waiting for the moment to arrive and when it did it all went wrong. So near and yet so far…
(See photo on Flickr here.)
December 19, 2011
Walking around the garden the other day I nearly trod on it, something so tiny and yet in the cold and darkening gloom perhaps of greater significance than its small size would suggest. A ‘Daisy’ was not something I expected to see. Of course in the summer the lawn is covered with hundreds of them, but I can never recall seeing one at this time of year before. In attempting to take the picture (no doubt a funny sight as I tried to avoid getting my knees wet on the damp grass), I smiled because Spring had claimed a momentary beachhead, reminding me that even in the middle of Winter the hope of Spring is not too far away…
September 20, 2011
Hungry Caterpillars munching away on the remains of our broccoli plants!
One of my favourite books as a child was Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. It begins with the words:
In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.
Then continues a wonderful story, complete with caterpillar holes in the pages, eventually ending up with the hungry chap becoming a “beautiful butterfly.”
It has been a joy to read this story again to our boys and is perhaps one of the reasons why they get so excited about seeing caterpillars in the garden and especially when they find Pupa delicately hanging from underneath windowsills and other hidden places!
People have often found the transformative process of a caterpillar becoming a ‘beautiful butterfly, as something reflective of the process of coming to faith in Christ; we leave our old way of life behind and begin a new life with Christ (rather than ourselves) at the centre. Of course the physical reality is usually not so clean, for the Christian continually battles with their old way of life and with selfishness, greed and all the rest of the baggage that we all carry. The process of change is piecemeal; little by little He works in us and so even if to ourselves (and to those who know us well) there might seem like a very long way to go, the end result is that we shall (eventually) become the way that we were always meant to be. We cannot of course take any credit for this change at all, it is all because of His love and His grace…
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)
September 13, 2010
I suppose we don’t need any reminder that Summer has now reluctantly begun to make way for Autumn. All around, the leaves are beginning to change colour, many flowers parade their final encore and the sounds are those of finality (for this year at least); the swan song is in the air.
I came across this butterfly whilst recovering a rugby ball from a flower bed. Like the autumn leaves, its wings are fading; once glorious colours are now only shades of brown. Yet it is still beautiful.
Having helped with a couple of funerals recently, the words of the old funeral service (which is seldom used now) came to mind:
Man that is born of woman hath but a short time to live … He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.
A little bleak perhaps, but a stark reminder of not only the fragility of life but its transience also. Not only we but all of Creation are in an inevitable Autumn, waiting patiently for that eternal Spring to come…
May 31, 2010
It’s amazing what you can find when you’re not looking for anything! My better half came across this tiny little flower whilst she was cutting the grass (the blades of grass around the flower give a sense of the small scale). We think that it is the beginnings of an Early-purple Orchid, but are not entirely sure, maybe some of you green-fingered readers will be able to help us out here? I know some people like to treat their lawns with all sorts of chemicals so that they can enjoy a velvety grass-only lawn with not a weed or any moss in sight – I’ll gladly put up with a few dandelions here and there if it means we can get to see such lovely flowers as this:
Lord, just as a flower can radiate its precious beauty
and cast its fragrance everywhere.
So I ask you to cast the sweet fragrance of your presence over me.
Surround me with your love.
Fill me with your healing balm.
Enfold me with your peace.
Comfort me with your presence.
May your fragrance linger in the stillness of my soul.
May your healing love renew my very being.
(From Fr. James McSweeny: A Year in Reflection)
March 25, 2010
Nikon D70s, f4.5, 1/30 sec, ISO 220, 127mm equivalent
Nikon D70s, f4.5, 1/60 sec, ISO 200, 127mm equivalent
Nikon D70s, f8, 1/250 sec, ISO 200, 112mm equivalent
It’s wonderful to have a stroll around the garden and see everything coming to life, especially after such a long, cold winter. There are of course the great parallels with Easter – New Life, New Beginnings etc. It is as if the whole of Creation points us towards God:
Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. (Romans 1:20 The Message)
St. Augustine said:
Ask the earth and the sea, the plains and the mountains, the sky and the clouds, the stars and the sun, the fish and animals, and all of them will say, “We are beautiful because God made us.” This beauty is their testimony to God.
December 21, 2009
In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Hard as iron,
Water like a stone:
Snow had fallen,
Snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Heaven cannot hold him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and Earth
Shall flee away
When he comes to reign:
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The lord God almighty,
Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But his mother only
In her maiden bliss
Worshiped the beloved
With a kiss.
What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part;
What I can I give him,
Give my heart.
Christina Rossetti (1830-93)