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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating skin

Warmer summer weather makes it possible to have more bare skin without freezing to death. Living in the UK (and not having great circulation) I feel the cold and I spend much of the year covered up. With more skin exposed, I am acutely aware of sun, wind, rain, shade, temperature changes and so forth. I’ve had some intense personal encounters with brambles and stinging nettles this summer and, as usual, blood sucking insects find my bare skin really appetising. Bare skin increases my sense of connection with the natural world.

It’s good to be able to uncover my body without fear of having that sexualised. This is part of why I think it’s so important to deliberately celebrate our bodies, making a clear statement of the joyful innocence that bare skin can also signify. We should not be reading sexual possibility into bodies that happen not to be heavily clothed. We should not be imposing desire on other people’s skin.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Nature red in tooth and elf cap

I admit that I don’t watch a great deal of television, but I do get occasional exposure to nature programs. While there’s delight to be had in seeing things that would otherwise be unknown to me, the narratives of nature programs bother me intensely. There tends to be a focus on drama, and that means the four Fs – fighting, fleeing, feeding and reproductive activities. There’s a lot of death in most nature programs.

In the last eight years, while out and about, I have once seen a seagull snatch a coot chick. I’ve seen one rabbit caught by a buzzard, two rounds of a heron eating fish. I’ve seen a lot of fish eaten by kingfishers, and once saw an owl feed a rodent to a fledgling chick. I’ve seen sparrowhawks chase birds, twice. I’ve seen a lot of predators in the process of quietly looking for prey. Pigeons are the only things I’ve seen shagging, although in fairness they do a lot of it. Most days I spend time outside, and there’s a lot to be seen from my windows. There’s seldom much drama out there. Most of the time, most of the creatures I encounter are not fighting, fleeing or shagging. Many of them are feeding in a non-dramatic way. I see them resting, pottering about, and communicating with each other.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Flying the nest

When we talk about flying the nest in human terms, what we mean is a sudden, dramatic exit from a place of comfort and safety to having to fend for ourselves. I find it interesting that this is not what birds do. As it is very much fledgling season right now, I thought it a good time to explore this.

Aquatic birds leave the nest not long after hatching. Fuzzy, excited and with no idea about anything much, they are led to water. Floating comes naturally to them, and momma duck, or in the case of swans, both parents, will get to work teaching them how to survive. Young swans will still be with their parents into the winter.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating Colour

The grey skies and the angle of the sun in a British January often conspire to wash the colour out of the landscape. Whatever colour remains, that is, after the leaves come down, and the grass dies back. Sometimes we get frost and snow – pretty at first but rapidly greying as well. Our winters tend to lack visual drama. What we get instead is drab, and demoralising. This is why celebrating colour in January is so very important.

There are of course brighter days, when the lower angle of the sun can produce surprising effects. Intensely bright blue skies are always possible. I walked on Christmas day this year, and the combination of cloud and low light conspired to create soft light, filling the woods with unexpectedly warm tones. When there’s any kind of decent daylight, it is important to get out there and experience it, especially if you are someone prone to winter blues.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the first frosts

Here in the UK, the first frosts can turn up any time in the autumn, but represent a significant shift towards the winter. In terms of being something to celebrate, I admit to mixed feelings. The coming of the frost is an important part of the wheel of the year, but it means moving into cold and hardship.

 Frost is of course beautiful. It sparkles on grasses, leaves and spiderwebs, creating delicate beauty and catching the first light of the day. Today, with the first frost in my little corner of the world, the fields were iced at first light, giving them a sheen of mystery and otherworldliness.

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  • Sue
    Sue says #
    What a refreshing change to see another viewpoint! I sympathise very much with your thoughts on the first frost. I have an elderly

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Love Letter

I love October.

I mean, I really, really love it.  Do you know that fluttery, warm, sparkling feeling you get when you hold hands with your beloved, when you catch the eyes of your crush, when you see a message or note with that special name on it?

Well, my calendar is showing that special name.  October’s eyes are bright.  October’s hands are cool.  October’s name is like sweet honey on my tongue.

Ah, October.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    beautiful! thank you!
  • Trivia at the Crossroads
    Trivia at the Crossroads says #
    Thank you for taking the time to comment, Lizann. It really means a lot! And I hope October has been fabulous to you this year!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Grandmother Bluebells

I am more naturally conscious of ancestry around Beltain than I am at Samhain. Partly because there are so many traditional songs that start with someone roving out on a bright May morning. Usually to get laid, or to indulge in the kind of voyeurism intrinsic to folk music. And partly because of my grandmother, who loved the bluebells.

My grandmother was a keen walker for much of her life, having grown up with a mother who went walking on Sundays in preference to going to church. In old age, she could no longer climb the hills each spring to go looking for bluebells, and so this time of year became a source of grief to her. I have never driven a car, I was never able to take her out, but others did, and I’m not the only one to think of her when the bluebells are flowering.

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