The Old Apple Tree
I was looking at an old apple tree a couple of weeks ago. Just a short exercise in really looking close at it. These are some notes I scribbled down whilst sketching it:
Sedate, Queen of the garden. Home to the leaf miner, lichen and numerous small insects and flies making a home the leaves and bark. And delicate spiders with impossibly long legs sheltering beneath a leaf, camouflaged and almost invisible. Holely leaves where something has gone munch! Apples holding water droplets, the branches: a perch for the blue tits using a feeder. Apples: the fruit of the Garden of Eden; fertility in spring; harvest in the autumn; memory of childhood and the taste of nature.
The Leaf and the Deer
I am sitting in a small patch of woodland beneath a couple of tall chestnut trees. It is early morning, warm, with a clear sky and sunshine that is so welcoming. The chestnut leaves are full of tiny caterpillers, munching their way through the upper and lower leaf surfaces leaving translucent holes on the fading leaves. I watch a leaf fall, a silent twist of yellow, caught in the sunlight as it parts with an upper twig and tumbles to the crisp ground. All the chestnut trees around here began to go brown weeks ago, way ahead of the other trees. They stand out from all the other trees around them. I think they have a disease or something but I keep forgetting to look it up on the web.
I am aware of a sound behind me and I slowly turn. A fallow deer has appeared and stares warily at me. It is so grey, I always think of deer as being brown. I sit motionless, it is just slightly out of my line of sight so I can't really observe it comfortably without having to move my whole body. It stays for a few moments before bounding off, a sort of leaping on all fours, over the undergrowth.
Learning to perceive things differently is a skill and it can take a bit of work on our part to do so. I was talking to a friend last night about tuning in to more of what is around us (in the natural world) and also started an evening course in NLP which covered similar ground. We all view things differently and we have to train ourselves to see things in a different way. The course in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) will, I expect, improve my communication skills and confidence. I am sure I cover much of the subject intuitively anyway but it will be good to get taught by a professional. I was surprised at how much I could relate to what I have already discovered on my journey.