Under Whispering Trees

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Ever since I can remember, trees and plants have meant so much to me. My first real memory in a garden was as a tiny 18-mth-old toddler, visiting my grandparents. It was Spring and the daffodils and tulips were in bloom. I remember moving along a concrete and stone path, as fast as my wobbly little legs could carry me, toward a brilliant red tulip. I remember… I wanted to smell it. It did have a subtle scent; slightly sweet, like rain. My grandfather, observing, was so intrigued by my single-mindedness, that he captured the moment on his old ‘Brownie’ black and white camera. I bent ever so delicately, without touching the bloom, to sniff-in, a long slow reverie. I was inconsolable when taken back indoors. I wanted to be in the garden. Lots of tears and I struggled terribly when picked up against my will. 

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Growing up, I spent more time in my garden than indoors. I would examine caterpillars, ladybugs, worms (apparently I was fascinated with them as a toddler), and I would have my hands in the soil more often than not. Night time journeys in the back of the car, I would stare longingly at the trees that loomed up in the headlights like sentinels along the road. I would spend hours deciding if they were friendly or not. Most were. 

I grew,  At age 8, I tried to convert our wooden garden shed into my own house for me and my collection of pet insects. At age 10, a school mate (he is now my husband) gave me an acorn he had found. He later gave me some maggots (I think to scare me), but I loved the gift, so the joke fell flat. At age 11, I would leave that school, and not see him again for another 36 years. I kept the acorn for a while, and then planted it.

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“The creation of a thousand forests

is in one acorn.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

A friend’s mother watched me once in my early  teenage years,  her daughter and I would go into their garden, and I would tell my friend how to talk to the flowers. We would walk solemnly around the garden, addressing all the plants with “hello, how are you today?” She told me years later that she had been very worried about me, thinking that I was an abnormal child. Maybe she was right. My mother had a nervous breakdown after my birth, and she always told people that I was evil. I was an intuitive child. My Grandfather recognised it. I think my Mother was scared by it. 

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

― Robert Louis Stevenson

Mine is not an unusual story and I have always been a tree-hugger kind of person. I love to touch and talk to trees silently in my mind… society is not kind to people who appear to be talking to ‘nobody,’ so I keep my secrets hidden. 

We are all born with an innate sense of what brings us life. Unfortunately, it is mostly educated out of us. I was different. My Mother was too sick, and my Father too busy to take much notice of me. Sisters were older, and had little time for a sibling so much younger. I was left in charge of my own thoughts. I did not find school enthralling, but perhaps that was good because  I never lost my sense of wonder at the magic in nature.

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Trees are the most long lived life form that we have (if they are left to grow to full maturity). ‘The Fortingall Yew’ in Scotland is Britain’s oldest tree (nearly 2,000 years old). Yews are considered to be sacred trees. First worshipped by druids, Yews were considered to be able to rejuvenate and resurrect themselves (when a dying tree branch touches the ground, it will root and start a new tree). Christians adopted them for obvious reasons, and to also appease the Pagan communities. The oldest Yews in Britain are always in church graveyards where there is a reluctance to remove them.

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The next most iconic tree, is the oak. There is a great oak tree in Sherwood Forest (fabled home of Robin Hood). It is thought to be between 800 and 1000 years old. The rest of the Forest was felled, replaced by a pine monoculture. The Great Oak is now held aloft with scaffolding and cordoned off from people. As a child, though, I stood inside the hollow of the tree which could hold at least 6 adults inside its hollow trunk. Access was through a narrow slit in the outer bark. I loved the feeling of being inside a tree. I wanted to be there by all by myself. I was really sad when my mother joined me inside. The Great Oak has since become frail and the tree is in now danger of collapse. With all of the other Oak trees removed, it has become starved and lonely. I have never been back to see it, even though I easily could, I do not want to see it in distress. 

Oaks are my favourite trees, but I love all trees. They hold the secrets to life and provide the earth’s natural air conditioning and protection from the sun. They provide nuts and fruits, and some have edible leaves and flowers. They provide shelter from winds, capture and release moisture in the water cycle, and give themselves up each autumn, replenishing the soil with nutrients for fungi, microorganisms, small invertebrates, beetles, wasps, bees, and other insects that make their homes in our soil. The trees themselves can be home to insects, lizards, squirrels, primates, snakes and birds, making a tree one of the most sharing lifeforms on the planet. A thousand lifeforms can live in a tree. 

And the trees can communicate as this short piece explains…

I hate to see them felled, but trees can  provide us with timber for homes, firewood and mulch for soil conditioning. We should use these resources sparingly though.

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” 

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Forests have disappeared in ever increasing numbers, for agriculture, cattle farms and paper and biomass production. We humans have lost the connection of what trees really mean to our lives. There are calls for forest regeneration, but the ideas seem to have monocultures in mind, to cage the trees by species, rather like we cage animals. This is not natural. It is just an excuse to use the trees, rather than care for their spirit. 

I want to see real forests regenerated where they have been clear cut for agriculture. I wonder if you feel the same? Can we bring life back to our planet.

Some people have already proved that cleared forest can be regenerated and still provide some income for local people.

We certainly need actions. I am hopeful. I keep talking to the Trees, I hope that we can save them. Do you think that we can? 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/04/planting-billions-trees-best-tackle-climate-crisis-scientists-canopy-emissions

Under Whispering Trees ~ A magical reverie in the forest

 

Oh, and  before I forget, Joseph (the young man in Kerala, India, that I chatted with the other day on Twitter), sent me a picture of his forest home.

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47 thoughts on “Under Whispering Trees

    1. It is ticking, and I worry for the trees. When ever I am really upset, I always go to where the trees are. When no one else can help, I get comfort (or is it wisdom?) from being with the trees. They are part of my soul. ❤️

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  1. Jilly Bean, As you were talking above about the Geat Oak in Sherwood Forest, saying you could not visit it because of the destruction all around, it said to me it wished you would come back, because it is lonely and needs a friend. It is dying of lonliness, I think, Colette. Please go, next time you are near. Or sooner, if you can.

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    1. That is a good suggestion rg. I do not have a way to go at the moment, but I will go when I can. I won’t be able to touch the tree (sadly) as it is cordened off from people to protect it, but I can see for myself it’s situation, and the state of the land around it. It likely survives just on the love of people, and animals who care about it. 🤗

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      1. Okay. It was not so much an impending doom I felt as a cry for companionship. Maybe the need for intelligent conversation, or just the passing on of wisdom. (Just I say, but not “just” I feel. To know that wisdom gained is being passed on is a great feeling, and a freeing one. I’m sure you understand.) Say Hi for me, please.

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  2. I also a Lorax. I speak for the trees, most of the time! I listen to them constantly, the talking trees in Narnia made perfect sense. I prefer poplar and birch, even in the winter their branches speak.
    I also have a mission to save earthworms from sidewalks, gravel paths, and drowning. 🙂 When fishing, that’s another story!

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    1. Oh, that is lovely Kris! I can so see you hugging trees. 🤗
      And the worms… I remember once trying to remove all the worms from a road during their great migration. I didn’t want them to get squashed by cars. It was hard enough not to step on them. I must have looked crazy, trundling around with handfuls of worms! 😁🤗

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    2. Please do not use live bait if you must fish? That is absolutely cruel. Fishing itself is cruel, you are taking away not only a living being’s life, but you are taking its freedom while it is still alive. Please imagine would it would be like to be dragged by a rope behind a land vehicle or boat, unable to stop the dragger from what it is doing to you. Imagine being a person of colour being dragged behind a car by some KKK redneck, bouncing over the road, having the skin scraped from his or her body, hoping for death to release him or her from excruciating pain. A fisherperson is no better than a KKK executioner.
      Why do you think a hooked fish fights so hard for its life? It is not ready to die, and it certainly does not want to be murdered. It is not fighting for your enjoyment, and you are not giving it a fair chance to get away. Even if it does somehow manage to escape it will probably die from the wound, or at the least have to live with a broken hook stuck it its mouth, interfering with how it eats. Please have some compassion, and empathy. Go buy a fish at the store or market. It is already dead. It has already suffered. But at least it (hopefully) was not physically tortured first…

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      1. Gently my friend, gently. While I agree with fishing being a cruel thing, especially with live bait, others are still on the journey to see that. My lovely friend Kris has lots of things making her feel a bit sad at the moment… Please be gentle. She does love animals, but has always lived in a very pragmatic world. Her escape comes from the natural world which she does love dearly. 😍

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        1. Feel free to remove it, Colette. It wasn’t complete anyway as I forgot to address the predicament of the worm more fully.
          But as for how I feel about hunters or fisherpeople, I cannot shut up. They have no idea of what is happening on the other side of their hooks and bullets or arrows. And if they do, and ignore it, that is even worse. I cannot ignore my responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

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        2. I won’t remove it, your opinion counts and is your truth, but please try not to make other commenters feel targeted or uncomfortable. We are all looking at the world from different viewpoints. And we are all on different points of a journey. We are like flashes of stardust colliding in outerspace. Be the good light! 🌟

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      2. I so totally agree with this comment! Hardly anyone these days fishes or hunts out of basic need, it’s all about lust, the lust to create maximum pain and to kill; to express that innate violence of the blackened Earthian spirit of death. No wonder we have mass murders and wars – so few are willing to change their nature. I proved to myself many years ago that vegetarianism, no meat or fish, is so much healthier. But I wasn’t even looking for health, I was looking to eschew the need to commit violence against helpless victims. It’s a win-win, however one looks at it.

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        1. Yes Sha’Tara. I myself am a Vegan. I understand your position on this. I eschew more than you even, because dairy and egg industries also perform their own unique forms of animal torture that would make most people cry. 😭
          Many people have not examined their food choices. They operate from notions that we have to eat animals otherwise we will not be healthy. Not true, but it is a choice and one that each individual must live with. There are consequences to everything that we do in life. 🌿

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        2. The issue for me isn’t health, it’s the endemic violence, the need to cause maximum pain, that is part and parcel of the Earthian spirit. The lust that always demands blood (power) from victims. This concept was handed down from earliest times of Homo Sapiens as a demand from his gods. Sacrifices and scapegoating. I chose not to become vegan because I know, from being raised on a homestead, that it is entirely possible to interact humanely with domestic animals. There is no need to torture animals who provide eggs or milk to us, quite the contrary, but there is no escape from inflicting maximum terror in killing animals.
          There are some mega problems associated with this world that go beyond man’s doing; that are much older than the existence of HS. The deepest, most endemic problem honest ‘change agents’ are faced with here is predation. On earth it is accepted as normal. It has been described as the food chain. It’s convenient to label a serious problem as an aspect of normalcy since likely no one, should s/he be interested, has a clue on how to tackle this killing ostensibly for food or survival, problem. Questions arise such as, is this process endemic to the universe? If it is, then where did we get the idea that it is possible to live a humane life that involves the endless destruction of indigenous, helpless, innocent victims? Why would a presupposed amoral nature develop in such a way? If superior intelligence is involved, why would it not design a different pattern to “control” its output? Would it not have known it wasn’t going to work and would end up creating injustice? Or, if the killing was deemed necessary, why design sentient creatures that can feel terror and pain? I could go on with these questions but they always bring me back to one conclusion: a massive problem was introduced “here” for a reason we have yet to understand, or a massive error was deliberately introduced specifically to create pain and suffering to the many to feed the lust and increase the power of the few – hence to promote endless injustice. Man has simply taken this convenient short cut to illegitimate power-taking and proceeded to turn his entire world into a hell hole.
          Man kills and destroys because he has been essentially neutered, rendered incapable of achieving a state of self empowerment. The power he uses has to come from exploitation, either of nature in terms of natural resources, or oppression of victims of his martial aggression.
          Finding and applying the solution to the problem of endemic violence is what I’ve been working on for the last five decades of this life. I have found it but…

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        3. Do you raise your own chickens and Dairy cow Sha’Tara?

          I do know what is possible, and what a pure intention can bring.

          What is the ‘but’ to your solution to endemic violence?

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        4. To your first question, no, I live in a city now (but I do try to maintain a garden!) It isn’t need but greed that causes animal factories to mistreat their animals. It goes back to predatory capitalism.
          Intent is everything. Working out that intent is everything else.
          There is but one solution to man’s greatest, haunting problems, and that is for each and every individual Earthian to chose, personally and deliberately regardless of consequences, to live ‘the’ compassionate life. Compassion brings out empathy as well as deepening awareness of what it means to be alive and it demands the development of self empowerment. Since self empowerment can only happen through detachment, the circle completes and closes. Any form of evil or selfishness is automatically barred from entering this circle of personal power and any remnants of such are crushed and eliminated. What this means is the willingness to enter into a complete change of nature where none (yes, “NONE”) of the old values and beliefs have any legitimacy.
          The compassionate being becomes “all powerful” (having nothing to defend) yet incapable of inflicting any degree of pain, loss or suffering upon another. The compassionate being is the ultimate anarchist; the ultimate anti-system; the ultimate servant of life.

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        5. That is a great answer Sha’Tara. One that I hope everyone is open enough to take on board. Two things hit me succinctly…

          The first. Compassion is the highest quality of character we should aim towards. Every decision should involve the question, Is my action compassionate?

          The second is that we are alone in our decision. It must come from our own heart. What ever we decide, will define us. There are no shades of grey on compassion.

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        6. You obviously never read my rant to vegetarians, lol. It is not on my blog, but just in comments to people who ignore the personhood of plants. I don’t have time to rant for you right now, but I am sure if you read the last sentence you can see where I am going, and coming from.
          Later,, S’T.
          me

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        7. Yes I know your take on eating plants but common sense has to come into play. Plants are in a different category and until we rediscover the trick of breatharian living do need to feed the body.

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        8. I am not ranting on eating life, life lives o life, a sad fact of life. But eating plants is no different from eating animals, unless you can survive on nuts and berries and eggs. With those you are not killing living beings, but just about anything else you are, whether it can move or not. A vegetarian is no different from an omnivore or a carnivore, they still have to kill to survive. But, again, I won’t get any deeper into that here.

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  3. It’s funny you should post about trees. I just finished a working stint on Keats Island, one of Canada’s west coast Gulf islands. This entire area is rain forest country and these islands are peopled with “tree huggers” hence the trees are aggressively protected. The islands are covered with the typical towering west coast rain forest trees: Douglas fir, red cedar, balsam fir, hemlock fir, the ubiquitous broad leaf maple and the alders are basically the weeds that grow tall, spindly and quickly among them. Arbutus grow near the shore line. Visiting here one would have no idea that so much of Earth is being depleted of trees. Personally I have no attachments to trees. I could never live on Keats island for example, where I felt as if I was living in an anthill or in Mirkwood forest! The only thing missing were the Wood Elves and of course, the Ents. I can understand the need for trees and they probably have a greater claim to this world than mankind, but I like open vistas such as the open seas, the shores of Brittany where I was born; the Great Canadian plains where I was raised, just south of the Arctic muskeg country and in my heart resides the great deserts, not sure if from Africa, or from past life remembrances from another world. If trees are as necessary to a healthy biosphere as I’ve always heard it claimed then people are really, really stupid in not protecting them and helping them return. Modern man, it seems, has been a total failure in terms of adaptation to one’s world and it is very unlikely that future generations will learn that lesson in time to save themselves – awareness of cause and effect just isn’t in the artificial creature’s DNA, exceptions noted, and exceptions prove the rule (or they would not be exceptions).

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    1. That experience on the West Coast Islands would have been a real treat for me Sha’Tara. 🌿
      My closest experience to that was in a remote National park up on Lake Superior about 100 miles from Thunder Bay.
      The forest was dripping with moisture. Mosses cushioned everything, and fairytale red and whit mushrooms sprouted from their mounds. 🍄 It was mid summer, and my trek saw me clothed head to foot with mosquito netting over my face to stop the voracious mosquitos, but it was the most magical moment of my life. I came upon a small inland lake with winnowing Loons. As I sat on a rock to watch them, I could hear wolves howling to each other in the background. An experience that makes a person long for something almost primordial. It was the most perfect scene of tranquility.

      But I’m with you on those open sweeping views too. I love the sea too and most water (hence I live on a boat). Somewhere in an existence (perhaps long existences past), I have a fear of fast tidal waters. To navigate on a tide, always makes my heart pound with trepidation. I think doing it does help me face that fear.

      I pity people who have no desire to embrace nature… They have lost so much when they only want to surround themselves with man-made baubles. They do not provide life. 🤗 Love your thoughts on this.

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    2. Trees being necessary to a healthy environment is not an “if”, but an “IS!” Plants evolved before animals, particularly on land. They ate the carbon dioxide that was so prevalent from volcanoes and general cooling of the molten earth. If they had not changed the CO2 into oxygen animals would never have evolved, which means humans would never have evolved! Life hss been an ecosystem of sharing ever since. Plants use CO2 and replace it with O2. Animals use O2 and replace it with CO2. All give and take. Sharing!
      But humanity has changed that cycle. We use O2 at a much higher rate, still giving off CO2, but we destroy the main users of CO2, and the main producers of O2. Something has to give. It cannot be all take. If nature is not stronger than humanity, everyone loses.

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  4. Just a thought here, but if you are interested in one way you can plant trees without any real effort but an intention to do so without any financial commitment, do consider using Ecosia for your internet browsing. I use it for general things, (but revert to Firefox with java script, tracking and ad blockers to do my secure stuff).
    Ecosia rides on the back of Google Chrome, but most advertising profits go into tree planting projects across the globe.
    Have a read of their goals.

    https://info.ecosia.org/what

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    1. Not a sales pitch, by any means. I checked it all out before committing myself. You should do so too. We can only believe or not believe since we cannot be boots on the ground to see for ourselves. But this is one ‘return to nature’ venture that I think has at least a little bit of integrity.

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  5. I’ve never been able to talk to trees as such, but when I changed my life I became able to sense the mood of plants, in particular houseplants. Happy plants made for a happy home, and vice versa. Unhappy plants caused stress in a home, and, again, vice versa. Humans filling a home with stress scares the plants. Such is the way of life.
    The non-humans I could talk to were cats and horses. Cats because we always had cats in the home, horses because my friend’s father worked at the racetrack, and he alway took us there to watch the races while he worked. I would stand by the rail as the horse paraded past, and I would ask each one how they would do in the race. Most did not know, but some would tell me if they were going to run good or not. My friend’s father would give us a couple bucks each, and I would only bet my money if a horse told me it would do good. I always bet to show, because while that paid the least it returned money most often. I was all for winning candy money. And it worked. I never lost a bet.
    Then one day the father asked me how I always knew which horse to bet, and
    I told him I talked to the horses. I would not bet unless they told me they would run good, and they never lied. Well, didn’t he tear a strip off me. “No one can talk to horses!” he yelled at me. I tried to say I can, but an eight year old kid cannot reason with a yelling adult. He scared me to death. That was 62 years ago. I have never talked to a horse since. I have talked at them, trying to recapture the ability I remember, but no go. Now I lose more often than I win, lol.
    But I can still talk to cats…

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    1. I think you may be able to get your ability to talk to horses back rg. Try listening to them first… What are they trying to say to you? How is that beautiful little foal of yours? 🐎

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      1. She looks like an appaloosa right now, and thoroughbreds are not suppesd to look like an appaloosa. I am going to email you Gail’s cell number. If you can text her we will text some pictures back. to you. She is a healthy little filly, very playful, and seemingly very happy.

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    2. I am sorry that your Dad was so tough on you. He has made you forget who you are… Perhaps someone did that to him too.
      I love that you talk to your plants… They are but small trees. Trees and plants both love it when we care about them and return our love with lots of growth. 🤗

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  6. Wonderful memories, Colette. We have much in common, though I loved school because a) it removed me from the chaos of a family of nine b) I could be appreciated for my own merits and c) I just loved and still love learning. But the trees and the rest, I’m right in there with you. It’s why my gardens are jaw-droppers, I think. For all who believe plants and trees do not communicate, well, perhaps they do not in words, though they certainly respond to energetic communication. I don’t know how I could do without this kind of living.

    As for monocultures and reforestation, I have no control over what happens outside my gates, but within them was once only just over 1/2 acre of grass. Now it’s sanctuary for birds and for us as well. I do hope humanity wakes up, but I harbor no illusions. I have read far too much history (told through common people rather than the gentry who were paid to pen history) to think otherwise. Greed and corruption seem always to trump quality of life for us common folk. But one can hope.

    Best to you, Colette. Enjoy your summer! Aloha

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    1. Thanks Bela,

      I can imagine that you have a beautiful space in that paradise Island of yours. You are one of the most important people on the planet (IMHO), because you care for and tend to nature. This is a beautiful way to touch the world and to let it touch you back. Truly connected living. 🤗❤️ Hope your summer is filled with beauty and peace. Aloha 🙏

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  7. Wow, there is so much in this post I like, and can relate to.. I too married a boy who I met aged 7 he then being seven years older. I told him then and there I would marry him. He laughed… And low and behold we have been married 44 yrs.. 🙂
    Also a great tree hugger too… There are more us strange ‘children’ about.. LoL..

    You have been So so busy since I last visited Colette and I have much to catch up on.. I am on a bit of marathon today, trying to catch up with peoples comments and their blog posts a little.. But I want to spend time devouring your posts especially the hand writing ones..
    And as Arnie said.. I Will Be Back!

    Enjoy your day.. Speak soon ❤

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    1. Hello Sue,

      Yes this is my favourite kind of post. I relate most to nature. And I am concerned by our human disconnect from it.

      The handwriting blogs are more difficult, both to write and to read. We so want to Bury our faults and embrace the positives in life, but until we face down the negatives, we cannot hope to evolve upwards.
      It is my journey but I have provided other examples for people to relate to… They are not just posts about me, but rather a series of comparisons to well known people to help us see the hidden qualities that their handwriting holds and that they may not be aware, shows up a lot of influences throughout life. The blogs are intended to question ourselves carefully, rather than pick fault. It is important to understand how all of us think differently, and act differently.
      Enjoy your weekend love. 🤗❤️

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      1. Yes, I always wanted my handwriting to be studied and tried it a couple of times from articles.. Which is why I need more time to study your excellent posts.. and look forward to doing so 🙂

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