A rose amidst the gloom

It is mid November and the last flowers of summer have mostly faded away. This particular rose is defying the bleakness of the season to provide a last pink flower. It is a rather curious and unexpected specimen on this rose plant devoid of any leaves.

pink-rose

The flower has survived an early frost and stands proud amongst the fallen leaves and bare stems.

According to the rhythm to the seasons it shouldn’t really be there, but it is a late gift from nature, who likes to throw a few surprises every now and then.

It is a special wolf moon tonight – the closest the moon has passed to the earth for 60 years, but it is cloudy so we can’t see it here in Oxford.

 

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Autumn leaves

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Autumn leaves.

Autumn in the full sun is a beautiful time of the year. There is also a strong feeling of impermanence with the leaves falling from the trees as you photograph the trees. It’s the kind of beauty you want to catch and hold onto, especially because you know in a few weeks or even a few days, the garden will be empty and bare until next spring.

autumn-leaves

Nature’s last magnificent flurry before the quiet of winter. Continue Reading →

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Matlock hills

Fate keeps taking me back to Matlock.

Aged 17, I took part in a school cricket tour based in Matlock. We drank a lot of beer and played a little bit of cricket. I wasn’t very good at playing cricket or drinking beer, so I never went on another cricket tour.

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A few years later – after joining the Sri Chinmoy Centre, we had a joy weekend at a youth hostel on Bank Road (and met in the church on the left). Bank Road is a very steep hill and I thought what a great steep hill to cycle up. The funny thing is I took my bike to Matlock, but left my pedals in Oxford – so my thoughts of cycling never got further than that. It made a change from forgetting my front wheel (which I had a habit of doing at that time). Still, I had a good time on the weekend with a bit of meditation and walking in the environment of Matlock.

In 2008, the National hill climb championship was on Bank Road. I hadn’t done much cycling that year, but thought I would give it a go. I finished 14th, which was quite good. I was definitely better at cycling up steep hills than playing cricket or drinking beer. Though I still preferred longer ones to the short steep Bank Road. Continue Reading →

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The joy of compost

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This past year I’ve been doing a bit more gardening. In particular I’m quite proud of my compost heaps. I used to just put things in a pile and it would take years to rot down (too dry). But, I bought three compost bins and have sought to keep it the right moisture and mix of materials. Producing good compost is almost as satisfying as growing a good plant, and any kitchen leftovers get put on the heap – every scrap helps – as they say in the manual of organic gardening. Continue Reading →

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Meditation in the rain

In October, I visited New York for the anniversary of Sri Chinmoy’s mahasamadhi. It is quite a meditative occasion.

With less outer distractions and the inspiration of Aspiration Ground, I try to take the opportunity to meditate more than usual.

The first few days it rained almost continuously. When in rains in New York, it can keep going for 24 hours without stopping. I like meditating outside in the rain (so long as you have a waterproof cover to keep dry). The sound of rain pouring down the sides of the canvas cover is quite peaceful.

race rain

On Saturday morning, I had agreed to cycle at a two mile race to honour Sri Chinmoy on the weekend of his mahasamadhi. So I wrapped up and cycled to Flushing Meadow. It was cold and wet, but worth going. Continue Reading →

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