Category Archives: Nature

Everything that is in a state of becoming.

On being mindful and responsible to living things

As a sustainable individual, acting in harmony with nature.

This impulsive cat seems oblivious to the possibility that I might trip over, step on or shuts doors on her; challenging me to practice mindfulness of her presence at all times.

This impulsive cat seems oblivious to the possibility that I might trip over, step on or shut doors on her; challenging me to practice mindfulness of her presence at all times.

The challenge of my cat, she is impulsive and acts on the viewpoint that I know where she is at all times.  Sadly, the reality is that I don’t, and the unfortunate possibility arises that I might accidentally harm her, such as step on her.

It is dark and raining, my cat is in the kitchen, I am at the front door, closing the door.  The cat suddenly has darted for the closing door; had I closed the door with any force, I would have killed my cat. Outside, the rain has brought out the snails and frogs.  I am fortunately mindful of where I am placing my feet, the frog survives, but the less easily seen snail dies, another accidental death by crushing of my feet.  In the dark, the cat lets out a little anxious meow as I kick her.  This is all a reminder of practicing mindfulness, the difference between life and death of the living things around me.

Yesterday I was camping.  A spider was crawling across my sleeping bag.  I attempted to evict the spider from my tent, but in the process discovered and caused the spider to lose a ball of eggs it was holding.  It is so easy to dismiss the spider and its loss of its eggs as insignificant, but to the spider, the loss of its young means everything.  I see the spider outside the tent silent and motionless, predictably the main item on its mind in that moment, the loss of its young.  I see the white ball.  I pick up and place the ball next to the spider, which immediately moves over the ball, gathering it up and running off to safety.

For the few that recognise and work towards action in harmony with nature in their daily lives, mindfulness born of awareness of the living things present  around them, and the responsibility to act in harmony with living things, is a good attitude to follow.

Being childish in nature

Embracing the child in nature.

Words associated with childhood: play; exploration; discovery.  My guilty secret, I still indulge in this activity. In a modern society that paradoxically creates an infantile population through overzealous management of every aspect of an individual’s life, the ability and opportunity to become childlike has become discouraged and denied by control and regulation in society.  There is no economic or practical advantage to society if free-spirited individuals enjoy simple, selfish and free pleasures in nature alike to a child simply enjoying splashing in a puddle of water.

The mantra is work and spend, yet last Sunday I choose to do neither.  On impulse, I get on my bike on a beautiful warm day, and I cycle ten miles to Mersea Island.  No map, no plan; I become a child, exploring, discovering and playing, armed with a bottle of water, a packet of digestive biscuits and a camera.

I head down a road I have always wanted to explore.  I become lost, but discover the beautiful world of Friday Woods.  I accidentally find my way back to civilisation, and then the road to Mersea Island.  I look for a notorious haunted rectory called Borley,  but end up at the wrong rectory.  I cross the causeway into Mersea Island, neither knowing when the tide will come in to cover the causeway, or what to do if it did, trapping me on the island.  Of the two turnings, I choose the wild side of East Mersea.  I discover red squirrels live on Mersea, my goal to photograph one.

Mersea Island burial mound is a living monument to life and death.

Mersea Island burial mound is a living monument to life and death.

I find the impressive Mersea Tumulus. Such burial mounds are a neolithic or bronze age practice, but my ancestors were still burying important people in these burial mounds two-thousand years ago.  Mersea Tumulus is Roman dated around the time of Emperor Trajan.  A Roman villa was found nearby and people say ghostly music emanates from the burial mound.

A red-tailed bumble bee attempts to make a nest for its young in the Mersea Island burial mound.

A red-tailed bumble bee attempts to make a nest for its young in the Mersea Island burial mound.

I go exploring round the rear of the burial mound.  I discover dozens of red-tailed bumble bees hovering all over the ground, seeking to hollow out holes into the mound to raise their young.  Here is a place of life and death.  I leave the bees and travel on to places I have never been, down roads I have never travelled, a child on an adventure.

Sources of inspiration for Liberated Way

I created links to sources of inspiration for Liberated Way.

Everyone have a source of inspiration.

Everyone has a source of inspiration.

Everyone has a source of inspiration, the many sources of inspiration for Liberated Way have now been listed here. The links include pdf or html sources to texts, and some videos that inspired me.

I hope you will find these links and the blog posts on Liberated Way useful.

The beauty of simplicity

Why it is best to keep everything simple in life.

A happy blue tit is attracted to and obtains food from a simple bird feeder.  Simplicity improves personal success and happiness in life.

A simple bird feeder attracts a happy blue tit to easily obtain food from it. Simplicity improves personal success and happiness in life.

I have various types of bird feeder in my garden, though I found that because the birds were not using some of the feeders I experienced food waste.  The problem was the visually appealing feeders that were too complicated for birds to know there was food in them, and the way to obtain that food.  The answer was simplicity, such as the feeder in the photo, which allows me to insert food into it, easily identifiable and obtainable to the birds.  The “log” feeder attracts many starlings, blue tits, and some robins, whilst keeping the fat greedy pigeons from grabbing all the food.

Nature is a good teacher, and one lesson is simplicity.  Plants and animals are effective and efficient in design and action, conserving, utilising and obtaining energy by the simplest and most practical way possible.  I have retired all my complex bird feeders, replaced with simple ones; now the birds visit and I waste no food.

Simplicity is important in business, as well as in life.  One of the great sources of stress of the modern age is the human obsession with complexity.  Why would I want to cut a hedge with a machine when I can do it manually with garden sheers in half the time? Why would I want a software program or cell phone with lots of features which I will never use and don’t understand? Complicated systems and tools means that more can go wrong, and demands greater energy, time and money to understand, use, maintain and solve problems.  I have low tolerance for anything complicated; I like and use simple solutions to my problems.

A simple way to build a simpler way of doing anything is breaking things into the goal, the process to reach that goal, and the desired result.  Having a map to a desired destination is good, so how about a written map involving everything you do in life? A process called Jugaad focuses on creating a process to reach a goal at low-cost, but high benefit.  A process called Kaizen concentrates on improving a process to make it more efficient or effective at reaching a goal through a series of constant and small improvements.  Jugaad and Kaizen is what nature is doing in creating simple and highly effective solutions to problems experienced by animals and plants.

The individual has only a finite amount of time, money and energy to achieve their dreams and goals, thus an approach in life focused on simplicity increases and enhances the chances of success in life.

Birds move into their new home

I welcome my first wild tenants to a nesting box.

Home Sweet Home, blue tits have moved into their new home in my garden to raise their young.

Home Sweet Home, blue tits have moved into their new home in my garden to raise their young.

I have decided to move into the real estate business letting out nesting boxes to wild birds in my garden.  My first customers moved in to their new home in the last few days.

I encountered birds nesting in metal boxes designed for smokers to dispose of their used cigarettes last year, which prompted me to supply nesting boxes in my garden as healthier places to nest for wild birds.

I miss my garden fox Amber, who last year spent many days sleeping in my garden in the sun.  My new visitors taking up residence are a pair of blue tits, who are currently building their nest in the nesting box, situated in an apple tree.  The nesting box cost me less than $5 to buy, something rough and natural, so I purchased three for my avian tenants.

Having wild animals living in a garden can provide hidden benefits for the gardener.  The blue tits can have anything as high as sixteen young in a nest, each requiring 100 caterpillars a day for food (or 1600 caterpillars a day for 16 young), which would significantly reduce any caterpillar problem in a garden.  Rather than use chemicals, a family of blue tits can offer a sustainable natural solution to a caterpillar infestation problem.

Look beyond appearance and prejudice

Looking beyond appearances and prejudice.

Everything in nature is good says the philosopher Heraclitus.  Humans love to divide everything into good and bad, thus missing the beauty of what nature offers in the blindness of their prejudices.

Everything in nature is good says the philosopher Heraclitus. Humans love to divide everything into good and bad, thus missing the beauty of what nature offers in the blindness of their prejudices.

A few years ago, I intervened to save a baby crow from traffic and school children, taking it to a veterinarian surgery, who had the contacts of people who could look after it.  The receptionist annoyed me on seeing the bird describing it as “evil.”

In fact, if people can look beyond the superstitious nonsense surrounding these black feathered birds, there is an intelligent empathy lurking inside these beautiful corvids.  If humans, dolphins and octopuses are in the top division of “intelligent” animals, the corvids, including magpies, jackdaws, ravens, crows, choughs and rooks, are in the same division.  The corvids use tools, play, can problem-solve, express empathy and have a rudimentary sense of self based on experiments showing they recognise themselves in a mirror.  The BBC recently reported how a child had developed a close relationship with crows she was feeding in the garden, birds that were leaving her gifts.  A flood of feedback by readers revealed that gift-giving by corvids to those showing kindness to them was common around the world.

The symbol of my town port is the raven. My business carries the logo of the raven, a symbol for me of its intelligence.  The stories of various archetypes such as Apollo, the Celtic Mercury and Odin had ravens as their messenger birds, who symbolised memory, thought, wisdom, intelligence, and the gathering or delivery of knowledge.

The sad situation is that most people blind themselves to the beauty of a living thing like a crow or raven, based on appearance and prejudice, so that they will do it harm, even though it might manifest the very qualities of intelligence and empathy that humans admire but often appear to lack.

Live life laughing and in play

A sense of humour and play makes life easier.

river_colne_colchester

I slipped down the river bank close to where I took this photo at the River Colne in Colchester.

Hunting in nature with a camera.  The plants looked soggy and droopy, like they had a big hangover.  The animals played hide and seek. It was a fruitless photographic journey.

At the river bank, chocolate biscuit in one hand, camera in the other, I slipped.  I rolled, my coat and trousers covered in solid mud, my chocolate biscuit and camera covered in the brown stuff too.  I laughed.  Nature grounds you, sometimes literally.

A sense of humour is useful when things go wrong.  I throw my muddy biscuit in the river, an edible opportunity for a creature from my misfortune.  I wash some of the mud off in the river.  I play with flints, each making a unique sound, rock and roll at the river bank.

I walk past a man with an Akita dog.  I signal with my eyes and face “play”, “fun,” “friendship” to the dog.  The excited Akita strains at its lead in my direction.  The man looks at me and my instant disinterested poker face.  I repeat my hidden signals to the dog, the bewildered man is struggling with making any progress with the Akita, oblivious of the communication between me and his dog.

Play is a universal language in nature.  Play builds bridges of trust, sharing and closeness between animals.  I have been playing with the Akita.  Play is good with animals if they show interest and enjoy the interaction.  I turn the corner, the dog is constantly turning then looking in my direction.

Life is often hard, laughter and play the honey that soothes those times of bitterness.  I walk past a recently dead pigeon, its legs comically sticking in the air.  The game of life is over for the pigeon.  My life rolls on.