Category Archives: The Mysterious

Are Trees More Than Meets The Eye?

There’s something mysterious about trees if you stop long enough to look, really look.

Do you notice the face in the tree? Eyes and ears, or their bushy brows? Do you see a long proud nose, or a bulbous one? Or do you feel a surge of something-or-other wash over and through you so unexpectedly that your hairs stand on end and goosebumps erupt all over your body?

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Tree Hugger gets Tree Hugged

A tree hugger from way back, I was in my element several months back when I decided to explore more of the countryside south-west of Brisbane.

Crossing over the Great Dividing Range and through Cunningham’s Gap can be somewhat of a white knuckle drive although the views of the mountain ranges does make it worthwhile. Pulling in to the carpark at the top of the Gap can be a blink and miss affair if you’re unfamiliar with the area because it appears quite suddenly – drive too fast and you’ll probably miss it.

It’s worth stopping for a leg stretch though. The rainforest is visually stunning and I couldn’t help but feel I’d landed on the movie set of Jurassic park. Now trees I adore, but dinosaurs – yeah…nuh.

Cunningham's Gap

Walking along the track I was in awe of this old rainforest, the bird call, and only slightly nervous hearing the rustling of something big in the undergrowth

The afternoon sun was beginning to disappear above the trees, bird call echoed through the trees, and just beyond the track animals of some description rummaged about in the undergrowth. Water dripped from leaves into puddles though I barely watched where I was going, instead I spent most of my time looking at the canopy of trees, most of which were covered in huge bird’s-nest ferns. My dad would have fallen over in awe at their sheer size and volume!

Rainforest tree Cunninghams Gap

Throughout the rainforest huge trees reached for the sky

Because light was fading I turned around and explored the other side of the carpark and came upon this lovely tree covered from top to bottom of these vibrant green leaves. The only way I could take a decent photograph with my phone was to practically stand against and under it. It was another wow moment for me of which there were many ♥

Cunningham's Gap vine covered tree

The air was thick though the temperature cool beneath the canopy of these glorious trees

Beside the green leaved tree was a tree (small strangler fig methinks) I’m sure housed a tree spirit, or maybe many – I’m not quite sure how any spirits take up residence within a tree.

Standing beside this tree a feeling of love and happiness washed over me, then enveloped me – like a huge energy hug – a feeling with stayed with me all the way back home. I’d never been hugged by a tree before but I like it ♥

I took the photograph below in memory of this tree and the tree hug it bestowed upon me.

Cunninghams Gap Walking Track

Although surrounded by a forest of trees, it was this tree where I felt peace, love, and harmony…strange but true…

Hug a tree today, you might get lucky and get hugged right back 🙂

Birdsnest Crysal Castle

The Ultimate Music Concert Starring – Plants

It’s early autumn when I head down the M1 from Brisbane to Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens nestled in Byron Shire’s hinterland of northern New South Wales Australia.

An easy two-hour drive I arrive mid-morning, the humidity bearable and the ambient temperature a comfortable 28o Celsius. Every now and I again I walk through a pocket of cool air – deliciously divine.

Spread over five hectares (12.4 acres) this ever-evolving property sits on an area of the Tweed volcano where lava flowed approximately 23 million years ago. Crystals of varying sizes are scattered through gardens and benches strategically placed to take advantage of the verdant surroundings.

Byron Shire Hinterland Crystal Castle

Views that roll on forever

Plant Communication

A lifelong nature lover, the Castle’s Music of the Plants experience is why I’m here. Research shows trees communicate with each other[i] as do other plants[ii] by releasing volatile chemicals. According to an article by Christine Hse dated Jun 11, 2012, Scientists Confirm that Plants Talk and Listen To Each Other, Communication Crucial for Survival[iii] they not only respond to sound but communicate to each other by making clicking sounds. Knowing this I’m curious as to how plant communication translates into music.

This experience began 40 years ago in Damanhur[iv] – an award-winning spiritual eco-community in the Piedmont region of northern Italy when Damanhur researchers designed a device capable of capturing the sound a plant makes, by connecting it to the plant’s leaves and roots. In effect this device picked up the plant’s electrical emanation and produced sound.

Fast forward to the present and I’m in the Castle’s Peace Room, now filled to capacity. Facilitator, Sjha’ra of Chocolate Yoga (worthy of its own story) welcomes us. The rock stars of the show, six potted plants and a synthesiser, sit beside her. Two electrodes are plugged into the device, the conductor has a nail attached and is placed into the soil around the root of the plant, the other is attached to the upper leaves. We learn that once an electrical connection is made, the algorithm is translated by the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) producing sound through the synthesiser.

The Concert

While hooking up the electrodes Sjha’ra introduces a Madonna lily. We’re told that to hear the best music an open heart is required and we’re instructed to project feelings of love toward Madonna.

An elderly gent in the front row turns to a young lady three seats across mouthing ‘Love?’ Smiling she nods. He mouths ‘love?’ three more times before turning to the front.

Now we sit and wait. Sjha’ra informs us that while these plants produce music, not all plants do and in fact need to be trained. My eyelids flutter wildly analysing this training concept. I later research plant training and discover trainers expose them to different music, handle them, and talk to them.

My mind wanders back to a 1986 interview where Prince Charles said he talked to plants. In a Daily Mail article of 2 March 2013 written by Rebecca Evans, Prince Charles further stated that these days he also instructs them. Kudos to His Royal Highness.

Back in the room Sjha’ra smiles touching Madonna’s leaves to encourage a response. ‘Maybe Madonna’s shy?’ she muses.

Madonna beeps once, pauses, then plays a delightful riff of experimental music. Goosebumps explode while I listen transfixed to the melody.

While Sjha’ra enlightens us with the music’s history, I mentally promise to become a better caretaker of my plants and shower them with love. I suspect there are others in the room thinking much the same.

A young agave Sjha’ra hasn’t worked with before is the last performer. Shy at first the plant takes a few moments to warm up. We send it more love. Sjha’ra jumps in surprise at its first note and smiles at the plant. Another beep, followed by a longer tone. Tentatively Agave plays several notes, picks up the pace before slowing down again. I’m unable to shake the feeling that this agave’s communication style is much like a two-year old, and subsequently fall in love with it.

After the concert I ask Sjha’ra about people’s reactions to this experience. She tells me there are many, recalling an older woman who at 65-year-old had never owned an indoor plant. “She always had plastic plants because she didn’t like messing around with plants, and didn’t want the responsibility of caring for them. Underneath all that was the fear of killing the plants.”

After her plant music experience, she bought her first indoor plant – one is truly never too old to begin something new.

It’s no secret that plants and music have healing qualities, and from a personal point of view found the combination of both to be profound and a reminder to become a better guardian of the surrounding plant life.

[i] http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/05/20/4236600.htm – Do trees communicate with each other
[ii] http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/38727/title/Plant-Talk/
[iii] http://www.medicaldaily.com/scientists-confirm-plants-talk-and-listen-each-other-communication-crucial-survival-240775
[iv] http://www.damanhur.org/en/research-and-experimentation/the-plant-world

Mysterious White Horse

Day Four 7-Day Nature Challenge

Day Four of the 7-Day Challenge ((nominated by lovely Laura from The View From My Window)

The white horse on the hill

Just before I close my eyes before meditation, a vision appears of a beautiful white horse on a green hilltop. The white horse, with its calm demeanour, looks directly towards me and waits. I have arrived home.

This morning I stopped along one of the backroads in the Samford Valley, sounds far but is only around 15 kilometres as the crow flies (really, this long distance travel is brutal). I took several photographs of brown horses, paddocks, trees, and flowers. And then I saw it, a white horse grazing on the far side of a green hill; the star of today’s challenge.

As I neared the fence it too came closer until we stood eyeballing each other (photo below).

The White Horse

Pretty white horse with pretty brown eyes

Throughout the ages and cultures, legends speak of a white horse :

  • In Revelations 6:1 one of the Four Horsemen rode a white horse
  • The winged white horse Pegasus is one of the best known creatures in Greek mythology, not surprising considering its Mum and Dad are Poseidon and Medusa
  • In Chinese mythology there is Longma a winged horse with dragon scales, also known as  a dragon horse
  • The Uffington White Horse figure dating back to the Bronze Age, is situated on White Horse Hill (where else?) in Oxfordshire England
  • In Hindu mythology the king of horses is a seven headed white horse called Uchchaihshravas
  • Even the Lone Ranger rode a white horse called Silver
White Horse Eating

White horse eating the abundant grass along the fence

What a pleasure it was meeting this white horse today 🙂

Walking the Spiral

What does triumph mean to me? To me triumph, or success, means I’ve achieved something such as:

  1. overcoming difficulties to cross the finish line
  2. threading a needle in dim light
  3. a decent job offer
  4. finishing a course – yay – go me!
  5. a perfectly clipped hedge
  6. tuning a digital television set – this deserves its own level of achievement
  7. cooking a BBQ (the first and only time I was allowed to toss sausages on the BBQ the fire brigade was almost called – think I chargrilled our lungs)
  8. the discovery of knee high boots that fit around sturdy calves (built for long distance walking)
  9. a robust mind, body and spirit
  10. walking the Damanhur Spiral at Crystal Castle

I recently drove to Crystal Castle in the Byron Shire Hinterland of northern New South Wales, where I discovered The Damanhur Spiral. The Damanhur Spiral is advertised as, ‘An energy link between Damanhur, Federation of Communities, a spiritual eco community in Northern Italy, and the Crystal Castle’.

Made up of 900 bush rocks, the spiral’s stones are connected to those of the Sacred Woods Temple in Damanhur, so to walk the spiral is special, providing an opportunity to reconnect with the Self and nature – just what I needed.

After walking the walk within the spiral surrounded by abundant nature and crystals, I was űber relaxed and thought it time for coffee and lunch 🙂

Photograph 1

The important instructions before stepping onto the spiral (a bit blurry due to image compression).

Damanhur Spiral

Damanhur Spiral Instructions

Fully immersed in the present moment and inner reflection, as well as safely navigating the spiral I missed a photo opportunity of the spiral itself. It doesn’t matter though, being clear of mind and focused within is also an achievement.

Photograph 2 (as is)

At the centre of the spiral is this magnificent smoky quartz throne for visitors to sit upon. Morning rain had only just cleared so the lighting wasn’t the best for this photo of the crystal chair justice – shame.

Stretching the imagination with contrast as far as possible, the white (sparkling white in real time) contrasts with the earth around it.

Spira Quartz Crystal Seat

At the centre of the spiral is this gorgeous quartz crystal seat

Having walked the Damanhur Spiral, I can say it was a lovely achievement – win!

Until next time XO

Four Perspectives of the Brisbane Planetarium

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

~ Captain James T. Kirk Commander of the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise (1966-1969)

In my next life I’m going to be an astronaut and head to Mars, oh yes, and save John Carter and Matt Damon while I’m at it. Because I love astronomy and all things space I decided to visit the Brisbane Botanic Gardens again to take a photo of the planetarium.

Photograph 1

No filters were used during the taking of Photograph 1…

The planetarium in all it’s natural beauty – all lines, curves, blue, white and camel.

Brisbane Planetarium natural light

On a clear day the white stands out!

Photograph 2

A greyscale or black and white perspective of the original photo. The white dome in the background appears snow white, the rest lifeless and grey.

Brisbane Planetarium Greyscale

Curves and lines in greyscale of the Brisbane Planetarium which I think gives it a 1960s sci-fi look

Photograph 3

I used the negative filter for this perspective. The lines on the planetarium stand out including the curving stairwell. The snow white dome is now in darkness and the foliage from trees brilliant white – looks like I made it to Mars – now to find John Carter and Matt Damon – see ya!

Brisbane Planetarium reverse

How clear the lines are taking the photo in reverse – looks like it could be on Mars

Photograph 4

Fully saturated, this perspective (to me) has an apocalyptic vibe, from the muddy sky, to the seemingly dead branch and charcoal leaves, the only thing that appears to signify life is the jade pathway.

Brisbane Planetarium Saturation

The sky looks foreboding, nuclear almost, maybe we’re on Mars?

As an aside, my eldest grandson and I saw Cosmic Collisions and Saturday night ‘live’ last year – interesting and spectacular nights out. When life gives you lemons – look to the skies 🙂

Garden of Mystery

I found mystery and light this afternoon during a spontaneous visit to the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens (I was secretly looking for the wee folk – shhh tell no-one).

Photograph 1

Anyway, I walked right by these three … then backtracked for a closer look. The one on the left looks like Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean franchise if you squint (or squirt) hard enough. On second thoughts, maybe they crash landed from outer space – they do appear to be shuffling towards me repeating ‘Take me to your leader’ in their squeaky, squid-like slurping tones.

Mysterious desert creature

Mysterious, alien, squid-like – worthy of a starring role in the Pirates of Caribbean franchise

Photograph 2

Although there wasn’t a fairy fort to be seen, I did find these lush ferns providing the wee folk with dappled shade from the early autumn sun. Faeries are lightning fast and just outside human perception, but if you quiet your mind, open your heart and breath deeply, you might be lucky enough to hear their music, their whispering and sweet giggles, or feel the brush of their wings as they glide by.

a faerie garden

Perfect faerie garden

Photograph 3

Thanks to May Gibbs, author of the Snugglepot and Cuddlepie series, every time I see a Banksia tree I remember cute gumnut babies and bad Banksia Men. A bad rap I think  because I find Banksia fascinating and mysterious.

Is the brown banksia top right on lookout duty? Is the grey banksia bottom left, disguised as an owl or just has bushy eyebrows? Did the little people photobomb this image (bottom right)?

Who knows? It’s a mystery to me.

Banksia men

Is one disguised as an owl and the other a lookout? And is that Snugglepot and Cuddlepie bottom right, or some other homunculi?

Photograph 4

This photograph doesn’t show the true beauty of this pond nor the water lilies that cover it with elegance and grace.

In American Indian Fairy Tales by Margaret Compton, (1907) and the World of Fairies by Gossamer Penwyche, the North American Ojibwa Nation of the Great Lakes, regarded the stars to be good spirits and called it The Land of the Stars. Here luminous Star Maidens dwelt and watched the earthly comings and goings – vaguely reminiscent of Zeus keeping check from Mount Olympus.

The brightest of these stars so loved the land and its peoples that one night she came to a young brave in his dreams. She requested he ask the elders if they were okay for her to live among them. Of course they were delighted but asked the Star Maiden to choose a home for herself.

The Star Maiden searched high and low until one day she saw a beautiful white flower with its heart of gold float upon a lake. She decided the flower would become her  new home, flew down and hid herself in its bloom.  As the villagers came to wash early the next morning, they saw the lake gracefully covered with white water lilies.

So there she lies among the lily pads, brilliantly bright, fully awakening when The Land of the Stars is visible at night.

Water lily pond

The eastern side of the water lily blessed with water fowl, fish, and afternoon shade