Brides Snowdrops

  
Brides white followers

Rising caped from frozen earth

Melting hearts and soil
Bride is the Scottish Goddess of Sunlight, Spring and Summer, and she emerges from winters frozen earth on Februaury 2nd, known as Latha Feill Brighde in Gaelic Scotland. 

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Vibrant Pittenweem

 

Vibrant Pittenweem, Fife

There’s a beautifully vibrant wee town, tucked away in the East Neuk of Fife, which has reinvented itself many times over the years. It’s name, Pittenweem, is a mix of Pictish and Scottish Gaelic words which mean The Land of the Caves. (Pit- Pictish for place or piece of land) (na h-Uaimh – Gaelic for of the caves). Currently famous as the yearly venue for the renowned Pittenweem Arts Festival, it plays host to over 100 artists over a 2 week period in August, and the venues for displaying and selling work are unusual to say the least. When I visited last summer it seemed as though every available inch of free space within the town was displaying something, and that included a lot of private houses. The doors are flung open and venue numbers are posted all around the town inviting crowds of art lovers to come in and take a look.

 

Art displayed inside a house

 

Most of the houses host the work of just one artist, and stepping through the old wooden doors you are treated to one surprising exhibition after another. Often hosted by the artist themselves, most of whom are delighted to discuss their work and techniques, there’s a lot to take in and be inspired by, and after a while I was drawn back outside towards the simple beauty of the historic whitewashed and burnt umber houses and their red pan tile roofs. This costal town washed by the North Sea was once a bustling herring port, and the red tiles were used as ballast in the holds of empty ships from the Low Countries (Belgium and Netherlands), who came here to load up with the ‘silver darlings’ or herring. The crow stepped gable ends of the buildings ( called corbie-steppit in lowland Scots) were another influence from the Low Countries, which gives this vibrant town its distinctive and pretty look.

 

Vibrant Pittenweem house

 

Decked out with fluttering bunting and washed in that soft vibrant light which bounces off the sea and back around the historic painted buildings, it is the perfect venue for the yearly exhibition.  Almost a work of art itself, there are many delightful little surprises waiting to be discovered up and down the steep cobbled streets and wynds which thread up and down the hill from the harbour. Hidden away in a tiny steep lane is St Fillans Cave, once home to a Celtic monk and later an Augustinian monastery. It is thought to be the origins of the first settlement on the site, although I’m certain our hunter gatherer ancestors would have known of the cave and made use of it and it’s fresh water spring.

 

Pittenweem sea front during Arts Festival

Back down at the sea front makeshift tea and coffee venues offer a space to sit and watch the waves rolling in and to chat about the artistic merits of everything on display. This year (2016) the festival runs from Sat Aug 6th – Aug 14th and you can find out more here.

 

view from inside

Find more vibrant posts to cheer you up on a dull winters day here at the WP weekly photo challenge.

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Winter Bones

  
All night he rattled

The dead sapless tree bones while

Spring slept safe below

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At the Edge of Dreams

  
Somewhere at the edge of dreams, at the edge of night and day, a golden hare races through the dappled flowers and grass. Chasing the shadows between sun and moon he runs over the mountains curving paths at the very edge of our awareness, trailing stars in his wake. 

 The long dark fingers and shadows of night reach for his golden fur, and he runs onwards, towards dawn. He beckons us and dares us to follow his wild path, far from the known world, along the edges of our dreams. He shows us how to trust our deepest instincts when we don’t understand the world around us, when we’re reaching for something new. Will you follow? 

 This is another of the paintings I’ve been working on for the exhibition ‘movement ‘

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Life in Winter

  
Winter holds the hill

Whitewashed steely lifeless fields

Life’s flame flickers on

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Live for the Moment


The phrase ‘Live for the Moment’ encapsulates much of what we are trying to achieve when living mindfully. The idea being to move away from living in our minds and our thoughts about both the past and the future, and instead to focus on what is actually happening around us in our life right now. A good technique is to shift away from thinking, and to move back towards our senses, and what our body is telling us is happening around us in this moment.  Feeling the breath moving in and out of your body, feeling the breeze across your skin and seeing the colours and shapes of the landscape around us are perfect mindful practices. For me, getting out into the beauty of nature, and walking through it with the dogs is my favourite mindfulness practice. It can free the mind from endless cycles of worry, guilt or long to do lists, and instead opens a space for pleasure and joy.

This painted stone sits on the top of Berwick Law, itself a prominent pyramid shaped hill lying in the flat rolling fields of East Lothian, on the edge of the Firth of Forth. It was a beautiful gift to turn and see the words after the steep uphill climb as I stood finding my breath again. It seemed that Molly was showing me the message, and it brought a smile to my lips. What was even more poignant was to discover later that the words had been painted by a young man I knew who had died from his cancer the previous year. He had painted these words in all sorts of places while living his last year of life as fully as possible. Finding the joy and beauty in our lives and the world around us can be as simple as this message. Chose to shift your focus and come back into the lived moment, this moment, this breath. Look around you with curious eyes and notice what has been sitting waiting patiently for you to find.

You can find more words and letters at this weeks WP Photo Challenge.

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Chasing the dream

  
We all move in and out of dream space each night and each morning. This movement between the conscious world of wakefulness, and the unconscious world of  dreams and symbolism is a transition between the known and the unknown. All such thresholds bring a sense of uncertainty, and vulnerability, along with the potential for change. 

There can be times in all of our lives which leave us stumbling in confusion, with very little idea of what is happening. At times like this, dreams can bring us clues or symbols to help us find meaning in the unknown land. Symbols, like this hare, can rise from the wisdom of our own unconscious to guide us through the uncertainty towards our unfolding future. What have your dreams been telling you recently?

This is a watercolour I was working on over the weekend, for an exhibition with the theme of movement. It’s not finished yet, but I’m sure he’s trying to tell me something!

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