Sleeping #midnighthaiku

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#writephoto -The Tower by Willow

Lisa knew that the sudden freeze was supernatural. They all did but while Mathew, Rachel and Lisa discussed the phenomenon Fay strangely kept her own council.

As evening fell Fay went out to hunt, ignoring Mathew’s protestations that he was fit enough to go for himself. It almost came to a row but Lisa eventually banged the table and looking Fay in the eye she said “Go if you must Fay, go!” The vehemence in her voice shocked the others. Fay seemed most unsettled by Lisa’s outburst but smiled at her before turning on her heels and disappearing into the night.

Rachel pulled her cloak tightly around her and fastened her belt against the bitter cold. Taking a last look up at the window where the others were she vanished.

Continue reading: Sue Vincent Thursday Photo Prompt: The Tower. | willowdot21

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Garden of Extinction reblogged from champagnewhisky

Reblogged from champagnewhisky… “Any species, now matter how unusual or common, is vulnerable…”:

Of all the areas of the stunning Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, South Africa – and all the areas are stunning – one in particular stood out. It was probably the smallest section, the least visually impressive, and one where few people lingered.

All photos: PKR

The Garden of Extinction area is just a tiny corner of the Gardens, which spread over 5 sq km (2 sq mi). Against a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain, the gardens are lush, and feature all manner of wondrous plant life from various corners of the world. It’s a place to be edified, dazzled and revived.

But the Garden of Extinction is there for education. There are a few plant species, all of them somewhere on the spectrum from endangered to extinct in the wild.

Most of the species are modest, the kind of plant you would walk through on a windy hillside and only notice if they were in bloom.There are informative panels on how extinction occurs among plant species, and some suggestions for what can be done.

The plants aren’t fenced in as the last and final specimens of their kind, they are there to be experienced like all the other (currently non-endangered) species throughout the park.

Please continue reading: Garden of Extinction | champagnewhisky

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Tower #WritePhoto Response by Kim at The Writing Process

Prompt from Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

It was a cool morning during early spring.  The wind was gentle and there were birds singing in the trees.  The sky was grey and threatened to rain but that did not stop curious and playful minds.  Three children stood at the bottom of a tower, staring up at the highest window.

“What do you think is up there?” Thomas asked.  He was the eldest, a boy of twelve years.  His short brown hair had not been combed that morning and it stuck out in all directions.  He wore a plain, tan shirt with buttons down the front and black shorts.

“I don’t know,” replied Mary.  She was eleven and had long brown hair that was braided down her back.  Her pale green dress stopped just below the knees, but the sleeves were long to protect her from the chill.

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!”  Gemma yelled loudly.  She was the baby of the group, only eight years old.  Her dark blonde hair was tied into high pig tails and she wore a simple, purple dress.  The older children laughter at her, causing Gemma to stamp her foot with frustration.

“It might have worked!” She insisted.

The three children continued to stare at the window, letting their imaginations run wild.  There were all kinds of possibilities.

“You know, there is only one way we are going to find out what is up there,” Thomas finally said.

The three children looked at each other, knowing what Thomas was thinking but unsure if they were prepared to voice it.  There was something very intimidating about the unknown.

“Oh, come on! Don’t tell me you’re scared?!” Thomas said.

Mary sighed.  She could tell that he was nervous too, but curiosity was starting to get the better of her.

Continue reading: Tower #WritePhoto Response | The Writing Process

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Is it time to turn off comments on your blog? – Hugh’s Views and News

Reblogged from Hugh’s Views and News:

Is it time to turn off comments on your blog?

I’ve always believed that leaving and responding to comments on a blog is one of the actions at the very heart of what blogging is all about. Imagine my surprise when I then read that some bloggers are turning off comments being left on their blogs for good.

#bloggingtips #blogging

If you’re lucky enough to get lots of comments left on your blog, then responding to them can become overwhelming. In the almost four years I’ve been blogging, I’ve approved and responded to nearly 30,000 comments, and it can sometimes take me a whole morning responding. However, I’ve always had the attitude that if somebody has taken the time to read and leave a comment on one of my posts, then it’s only right and polite that I acknowledge them and write a response.

 

Continue reading at: Is it time to turn off comments on your blog? – Hugh’s Views & News

Comments are turned off for this post… please leave your comments on Hugh’s blog.

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The Tower of Hope #WritePhoto by Alethea Kehas

An ancient tower

Source: Sue Vincent

She thought the climb would be worse than the descent. Instead, the air buoyed her above the bracken, and her bare feet hardly touched the broken stone. The hem of her green skirt swept the dew-laden grasses, and she felt their kisses linger as she pushed open the door at the base of the tower. He had told her, Go within to find the key, yet she felt doubt.

Columns of white light split the black space around her, as Grace stepped beyond the threshold and heard the heavy thud of the door shutting her inside. She had cried for weeks until the ocean inside of her became an arid desert. There is life in the void, he had said before death took away his last breath, but you have to open to it. 

The air inside the tower smelled of sulfur, as though someone had lit a fire inside to ward off the damp, but no flames remained. Grace tried her best to stay inside the columns of filtered light as she made her way to the altar in the center. A book lay open on a dais, its width greater on the right side than on the left. He hadn’t told her there would be a book.

Continue reading: The Tower of Hope #WritePhoto #SueVincent | Not Tomatoes

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Solstice of the Moon: Mysteries on Loch Ness

After the incredible experience of Clava Cairns, it was probably just as well that our next destination was not far and would offer no more than beauty to bewitch us. I have camped on its shores and ‘showered’ in its icy waterfalls, but it is many years since I last saw Loch Ness.  There is a geological fault in the land here that runs right across the north of Scotland. Aeons ago, glaciers found the weak point and carved the Great Glen out of the earth, almost separating north from south. Loch Ness is the most famous of the interconnected lochs that follow the faultline and, for size alone, the most impressive. It is around twenty-three miles long and 755 feet deep, holding more water than all the lakes in England and Wales together. It also holds a world famous mystery…the Loch Ness monster. Perhaps.

Stories of the monster go back a very long way. The earliest recorded sighting dates back fifteen hundred years to the Life of St. Columba by Adomnán. He records that the saint came upon Picts by the River Ness who were burying the body of a man slain by the monster. Columba sent Luigne moccu Min, one of his followers, to swim in the waters. When the monster emerged and was about to attack, the saint made the sign of the Cross and cried, “Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once.” The beast obliged and the Picts hailed it as a miracle.

Stories, photographs… some spurious, others simply mysterious, have emerged over the years. Opinions are divided about what the monster might, or might not be…or if it exists at all. Scottish waters abound with kelpies, selkies and other magical creatures, after all. But regardless of the authenticity of the stories, ‘Nessie’ is now a major tourist attraction. Sceptical by nature, I am inclined to dismiss a good proportion of the tales, though some remain intriguing… but I defy anyone to stand on the banks of the loch and not scan the waters hopefully for some sign of the monster’s presence.

We looked out over the silky calm of the deserted loch, exploring the rocks, some a beautiful pink that seems to glow when the setting sun touches it, others folded, poured and streaked by the forces of planetary evolution. An incredible number of them seemed to echo the shape of the monster, even on our little patch of shore and it is very easy to see how some of them could be misinterpreted in the half-light. Especially when, out of nowhere, and for no reason at all a long, high swell arises in the smooth, silken water… as if something very large were swimming just below the surface…

We scanned the loch for any sign of a boat, or anything else that could have created the unexpected swell… but there was nothing to be seen. As we watched, the swell rose again, as if a second ‘something’ had passed by, sending waves to disturb the serenity of the shoreline… There has to be some explanation for it… a perfectly rational one… doesn’t there?

We watched until the water subsided and became once again a silent sheet of silk, looking across the loch and wondering where the notorious Boleskine House might be. Its notoriety comes largely from its association with the occultist and writer Aleister Crowley whose reputation meant that tales of orgiastic rites and sacrifices in the woods were inevitable, whether or not they were entirely deserved.  He had bought the house from the Fraser family in 1899 to use as a retreat in which to undertake the Abramelin rituals which require seclusion and a six month period of fasting, abstinence and celibacy, but which also require their practitioner to call up some dark forces. He never completed the rituals and tales of strange and unpleasant happenings began to emerge. His lodge keeper there, who lost two of his children, was thought to be one victim of what Crowley later called experiments that had got out of hand.

Boleskine House, though, has had a dark reputation for far longer than the house itself has stood there. A thousand years ago a chapel that stood on the spot is said to have caught fire during one of the services,burning the entire congregation to death. Strange lights have been seen over the churchyard, which is reputedly connected to the House by a tunnel and the severed head of the executed Lord Lovat can be heard rolling around the floors of the rooms of Boleskine. Perhaps it is no surprise that its next owner committed suicide there in 1965. It was bought next by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page as a place to write songs, then sold on to become a hotel and finally a family home. In 2015, while the owner’s partner and daughter were out shopping, the empty house somehow caught fire and burned down, leaving nothing but an empty shell and a memory that will go into legend.

We drove on, stopping for the obligatory shot of Urquhart Castle and lunch in Invermoriston and resisting the temptation to stop once more at Drumnadrochit. We had already seen so much that morning and driven over a hundred miles… and we had another hundred miles to drive before dinner. But I knew the road I wanted to take, a beautiful road with a very special place along the way, if I remembered rightly… and the view through the windscreen showed us that the distant slopes of the Cairngorms were waiting…

Posted in Don and Wen, History, Landscape, Photography, scotland road trip, Solstice of the Moon, Stuart France and Sue Vincent | Tagged , , , , , , , | 33 Comments