For the love of trees and solitude: Forest Bathing continued

Reading Forest Bathing Retreat has made me long to be surrounded by trees, soak up the atmosphere and hear the sound of the woodlands; the bird song, the trickle of a nearby stream, the creak of a branch, the rustle of leaves as they dance in the soft breeze and my breath as I inhale deeply the fresh air. I dream of sinking to the base of a large tree shaded under its extensive canopy and write in the dappled green light. I miss the solitude of being able to write in nature alone; the oneness I feel and the creativity it encourages. It is one of the top things I miss since losing my mobility and independence. Herbie, my trusted scooter is lovely. He takes me out of the four walls into the countryside lanes to see and hear the world outside but the true places of interest, those off the beaten track away from cyclists, zooming cars and trundling tractors remain inaccessible. They are tantalizing close. I can see them over the bridge wall or rickety stye and it is hard not to think if only.

If out, I also rely on others to accompany me; gone are the days when I could leave a scribbled note on the side declaring I will be back soon. I dream of being left in a wood for a few hours or even an hour with some goodies – a flask of coffee and cinnamon roll will do, a notebook, a phone to type on and just be.

Be happy

Be creative

Be me.

And mainly be alone.

 

Writing in solitude without interruption is when I write my best work. My mind is free to grasp the thoughts and words without competition of conversation, expectation and general activity. Sentences flow easier and the clarity of images and dialogue are stronger. The only battle I have is from my own distracting thoughts but add nature into the equation and it is easier to block these and allow creativity in.

I miss the days when as a child, I would grab my notebook or novel and sit by a brook near my home in the shade of trees hidden from view. No parents, arguing siblings or frantic pets. I did not care it was on a public footpath nor that the silence was interrupted by the roar of a busy A road 100 yards away. To me, it was a little bit of heaven and the seeds of Ellfaen were planted.

Now, I must leap into my imagination and allow Amber to amble through the forest. I will focus on bringing nature into my writing room, snap photos of trees I can get to and peruse the web for images to create a forest on my laptop for inspiration and cyber forest bathing.

Do you have a favourite place to write, read or be? Let me know in the comments below. Even better, if you visit or see some wonderful trees and nature on your travels share the joy tag me on Instagram.

Happy writing, reading and if you are lucky a walk in the trees.

 

Book Review: Forest Bathing Retreat by Hannah Fries

I was drawn to this book because of my love of trees and my research for my WIP where forests play a big role. I have always found being surrounded by trees calming and a place I like to retreat so Forest Bathing sounds ideal.

Book Review: Forest Bathing Retreat by Hannah Fries

 

Book review for Forest Bathing Retreat
Forest Bathing Retreat cover

Title: Forest Bathing Retreat

Author: Hannah Fries

Genre: Non-fiction, spirituality

Publisher: Storey Publishing

Release Date: 4th September 2018

Blurb

People have been retreating to the woods for quiet meditation, and inspiration for centuries, and recent research finds that time spent in the forest doesn’t just feel good but is, in fact, good for you. Inspired by the Japanese concept of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, poet Hannah Fries invites readers to bask in the company of trees, whether in a city park or a rural nature preserve.

Fries combines her own reflections and guided mindfulness exercises with a curated selection of inspirational writing from poets, naturalists, artists, scientists, and thinkers throughout the centuries and across cultures, including Japanese haiku masters, 19th century European Romantics, American Transcendentalists, and contemporary environmentalists. Accompanied by beautiful forest photography, Forest Bathing Retreat is a distinctive gift that invites frequent revisiting for fresh insights and inspiration

Author Page: http://hannah-fries.squarespace.com/

My thoughts

Forest Bathing is based on the idea walking among trees is good for our health and soul. This book is full of stunning photographs, quotes, poems and facts relating to trees . I love the new words I have learnt by reading this book. Do you know what psithurism means? This book will tell you. It guides you through the woodland encouraging you to relax, meditate and notice surrounding nature using all senses so you can learn from trees.
As many of you know I have struggled with poetry but books like these open my mind to them and show me, they can be a wonderful way to express ideas and feelings.
I would love a physical copy for future reference dip to into when woodlands are too far away and inaccessible. As someone who relies on wheels to explore finding accessible woods is difficult and this book places a little piece of their magic in your hands and home.

Would I recommend?

It is perfect for fellow dendrophile* as a gift and I would recommend it for photos and quotes alone.

Thank you NetGalley and Storey Publishing for allowing me an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

Do you love the forest? Share your favourite tree related poem or quote below.

Happy reading!

Kate Kenzie's Blog

* someone who loves trees and forests

 

A Visit to the Moors

It is years since I have driven through the North Yorkshire Moors, never mind stop for a picnic but today we did.

Empty pages ready for inspiration

The scenery is breathtaking. The patchwork fields, dramatic dips and hills with an abundance of purple heather make you stop, look and breathe. The air is fresh, the gentle breeze a relief from the sweltering sun. It is a little piece of paradise.

While family explored and munched through the food I was able to take the time to be inspired, listen to the characters as they formed in my mind and  write notes for another day. Being only 7 miles from Whitby it was only natural for my mind to drift to Willow’s story rather than my current WIP. She plays a significant role in the Journals but she has her own tale and she is eager to tell.

The moors are atmospheric and it is easy to place Willow as a child there and explore how they would have affected and moulded her into the character she is as an adult. This is the part of writing I love most – the brainstorms, the excitement as one idea leaps to the next forming a backstory, plot or personality. The difficult part is moving it forward to the completed draft but it will get done.

Do you have a place which triggers ideas? How do you stay focused on one project?

Happy writing!

Book Review: The Illustrated Herbiary by Maia Toll

Book Review for The Illustrated Herbiary

 

This beautiful book popped up on my NetGalley dashboard and with my recent interest in herb growing and research for The Journals I was excited to receive a digital copy from Storey Publishing to give an unbiased, honest review.

The Illustrated Herbiary by Maia Toll

 

Book review for The Illustrated Herbiary
The Illustrated Herbiary by Maia Toll

Title: The Illustrated Herbiary: Guidance and Rituals from 36 Bewitching Botanicals

Author: Maia Toll

Publisher: Storey Publishing

Release Date: 7th August 2018

Genre: Non-fiction, botanical, spirituality

Blurb

Rosemary is for remembrance; sage is for wisdom. The symbolism of plants — whether in the ancient Greek doctrine of signatures or the Victorian secret language of flowers — has fascinated us for centuries. Contemporary herbalist Maia Toll adds her distinctive spin to this tradition with profiles of the mysterious personalities of 36 herbs, fruits, and flowers. Combining a passion for plants with imagery reminiscent of tarot, enticing text offers reflections and rituals to tap into each plant’s power for healing, self-reflection, and everyday guidance. Smaller versions of the illustrations are featured on 36 cards to help guide your thoughts and meditations

My Thoughts

This book was different to what I was expecting in the best possible way. Rather than an encyclopedia of herbs  I thought it would be, it is a reflective look at a selection of plants and their meanings and uses with the view to guide the reader in meditation and life. The illustrations are beautifully vibrant, bold with the distinctive look of tarot cards which complement the easy-to-read text well.  I loved the insight into the meanings of the plants, inspiring quotes, snippets of information and the simple rituals you can slip into your daily routine. It was a pleasure to read as a book but with the additional cards included with the physical copy I am certain the oracle potential will come into its own. I keep returning to my copy; the more I do, the more I see, and the more magical and grounding it is. I feel lucky, Maia Toll has shared some of the knowledge she learnt from her year stay in Ireland with a healer and herbalist. As I look at the plants in my garden and in the Yorkshire countryside I have a greater appreciation and connection to them. Sometimes you read a book and hear the author’s voice in your head urging you to discover more; this is one of them. I was happy to discover her blog so I can do that.

Favourite flower

Book review for The Illustrated Herbiary
Trillium – A plant to be inspired by

My favourite flower and the one that calls to me has to be one I have never heard of, Trillium. With it’s simple flower nestled in the forest floor, it helps the birth of ideas and nurtures them; just what I need in my creativity.  And I will always remember Valerian and her permission to have guilt free afternoon naps.

Would I recommend?

It may not be the in-depth book I was expecting but I long to have a physical copy of this magical, insightful book and the accompanying cards on my bookshelf to delve into for guidance and inspiration. I need this book so they are high on my Christmas wish list, if I can wait that long.

Thank you NetGalley and Storey Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.

Hope you are not sweltering in the summer heat.

Happy reading!

Kate Kenzie's Blog

July’s Success and August Goals

July's Success and August Goals
White Rabbits – hello August and goodbye July

Whooohooo! I did it – I won Camp NaNoWriMo. A week ago I thought I would fail especially when my visitors arrived a week early but I managed it. Phew! I could not face another admission of failure.

And as of today I have made the momentous leap over 50,000 words in my WIP. How many of those will stay once I edit? Who knows, but they are there on the screen for now.

July's Success and August Goals
New month, new word count

And I submitted to 3 competions too. I do not expect any success there but it is enough to be trying at this stage and I wrote that blasted synopsis. I am no longer in Hell.

This month is a difficult one due to said visitors and the expectation that I should be social. So it’s happy smiles and nod in the right places while I dream of places and plots instead of writing them down. The plan is too sneak my phone out to take notes when I can. I do not want to slip after July’s successes.

Currently reading: Mark Edwards The Retreat

Listening to: Lucinda Riley The Pearl Sister

Happy reading and writing!

Kate Kenzie's Blog