Autumn…

There’s now a feeling of preparation as shops focus, we’re all aware, on “next month”.

We gradually realise what our own preferred time of year is. Is it Spring? When that winter coat evaporates with the year’s first sunbeam? Perhaps you look forward to Summer, when the sun pays a warm visit that never outstays its welcome. Is it Autumn that finds you out and about, the first time in the year that you’re wearing plenty? Or Winter, when the only advisable thing to do is “keep warm”.

Whatever your own thoughts, I’d like to make the case for why this time of year (Autumn) is something to value.  Indeed, once September passes Autumn days are broad with possibility.

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Nothing is now ‘urgent’ as the day never wilts. It remains a pleasant “neutral”. I’ve also noticed the significance of the notable and awakening nights, as foxes roam at half past four.

The epoch and change from the stand-still feeling which was heralded effortlessly by July, as Autumn swoops by with speedy activity. Indeed perhaps you’re running for shelter when out in heavy showers, or working to an indoor-itinerary, “busy” is often the word. Of course, It’s certainly true that there are (at the last count) 7 billion Autumns a year.

Then there’s the comfort when feet are in front of the fire, and that television or radio programme which  finally emerges from somewhere in the dales come on. The only thing more relaxing than this, is perhaps watching it in a woolly sweater and holding that cup of flavoured tea as the curtains are closed in time for half-past seven, yet the bus drivers are still making their way.

By Amanda Lynsdale

Moon Piglet

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Full moon this evening, I hope it’s a clear evening! – some people make claims about it’s influence on our mental state, it affects mine in positive ways. I’ve been watching it’s progress this last couple of weeks, with awe, visible during it’s early waning from dark (new) moon, in the bright blue, day sky, and subsequently a few nights ago while strolling late evening, it nearing a full silvery circle. http://www.moonwise.co.uk/sky.php

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The day had been one of the hottest of the year so the cool evening breeze enabled me, like the nearby trees of Woodhouse Moor, to take in oxygen, me having flights of fantasy about climbing up on one of it’s branches, reclining along them as people and animals do in the tropics, or stringing up a hammock and rocking to sleep, which had been hard to find indoors,  

-‘ Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?’,

lack of sleep is  notorious for altering one’s perception,  being outdoors, snoozing on a bench, as a friend suggested perhaps allowing nature to hug me – a dizzing moment when the boundaries separating me from things ‘out there’, almost dissolved.

Apparently it’s been reported that pigs also display pleasure on moon lit nights, by singing and playing more often than usual during them!  Jeffrey Masson, former psychoanalyst, writes so movingly and amusingly about their emotional life in his book ‘The pig who sang at the moon’, he relates about a pig in New Zealand called Piglet, who was often seen on the beach, swimming- singing (in a pig like grunty way),…I’ve had the book on long term loan from veggie/vegan friends, Masson himself a vegan, concerned about people misuse of animals as food, my attempts over the years to stay meat free have failed. I only started to read it because I had been invited to an ‘Adults reading children’s fiction’ book group– that week’s  book, ‘The Sheep-pig’  by Dick King-Smith and upon which the film Babe was based, the author was once a pig farmer and the seemingly unlikely skills and adventures Babe gets up to, not so fanciful, I was surprised to learn how intelligent they are and capable of tasks usually associated with dogs, being both clean and affectionate house pets, trusting  of humans, they enjoy a tummy rub.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ARnZUbMjS0

I’d never been to a book group before, getting together with strangers where the focus might be different from our usual interests and social circle, might result in facing possible disparity in age, background, social standing, that can be  hard  regardless  of whether we’ve experienced mental distress or not, mostly I manage to overcome any colly-wobbles.

Vicky wrote in a previous post about being transported from Hyde Park corner to Greece whilst visiting one of the  many eateries bordering the moor, I’ve seen Adonis there occasionally myself!

 After rousing myself from my waking dream, I wandered to another exotic shore – Thailand. Or at least to Mamsy’s café where a plate of the most refreshing  ‘warm’ and piquant salad priced £6, was adequate for two, after 9.30pm we had the place to ourselves.

 

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Possibly when the student population are around that might not be the case, Mamsy’s also do take-a-way and home delivery, I guess they will be busy this coming Saturday, when the moor is the stage for Unity Day.

http://www.unityday.org.uk/

In the meantime watch out for me tonight, I might just be communing with the trees in their respiration and giving voice at the moon!….indeed Hyde Park, as some are want to call the moor, once had it’s own Speakers Corner….amongst the rebel rousing speakers there, several suffragettes.(no name dropping!), each one played their part in emancipation for women, however lowly their status in the movement.

Lily

 

Fireworks on Woodhouse Moor

‘The Chartist movement in Leeds may be said to date from the early Autumn of 1837, when, at a meeting on the Moor, the decision was taken to form a Leeds Working Men’s Association. In that same year, 40,000 people assembled to consider nominations for the Leeds MP’ -according to local historian Ian Harker in his book ‘A History of Woodhouse Moor’.

It felt like that number last Monday – it was heaving. At least this time they had some floodlights so you could see more or less where you were going. I remember coming to the bonfire here a few years ago and once you were away from the fire it was really hard to see anything.

The bonfire was impressive, probably the biggest I’ve ever seen – it looked about 40 feet high, a bit like the one on ‘The Wicker Man’, but let’s not go there.

There is something really exciting about being in a big crowd, and the atmosphere it creates, although I did find myself a bit nostalgic for the days of childhood when each street had its own little version, and bonfire night was more of a neighbourhood thing. This was spectacle, and once it was over the army was suddenly moving in all directions, to the funfair, or the local pubs.

I didn’t know how it would work filming the display, but I think you get some of the atmosphere. Terry

Woodhouse song thrush

Hyde Park or Woodhouse Moor, as the Friends of: more accurately call it, has to be one of the most popular and busy open spaces in Leeds. I have a particular nostalgia for it as it was a place where,as children my brother and I played. Our family lived in Woodhouse Square. Little Woodhouse, (check out the stunning slideshow on Little Woodhouse Online http://littlewoodhouseonline.com/gallery/?show=slide)

Several years ago my brother returned to live in this area, adjacent to the park, and it enabled me to regularly use the park for exercise and much needed time for reflection after visiting him. My brother’s long term, chronic mental health problems affected his motivation, preventing him from strolling with me, these visits often left me heavy hearted, but walks across the moor to town raised my spirits. Taking photographs there gave a creative outlet to my melancholia and feelings of frustration at not being able to ease his distress.

After one such visit on Good Friday this year the park was less of a bustle than usual, possibly because of this a song thrush felt bold enough to alight quite near me, being very short sighted I rarely spot birds, so it was a special privilege, it had it’s beady eye on me and stood his ground, tilting it’s head to listen to the few words I passed with him, too scared to scare it off by slipping out my camera phone, I simply enjoyed the few minutes granted me. It had been raining therefore he was too busy looking for a wormy treat to honour me with a song.

My day brightened. I planned to research  more information about song thrushes, as I was sure I’d read they were in decline and I planned  to return the following day with my camera…………..

…within the space of the next few hours I received news that my brother had died suddenly. The memory of sighting that chirpy little song bird comforted me and seemed even more special.

It’s my experience that loss of any kind…. opportunities missed when ill …… people close to us in death……can push us in to a state of transcendence, a heightened awareness which is not accessible most other times. I’m not sure I believe that birds are the messengers they are described as in myth and legend  but I like this Turkish saying  ‘his soul bird has flown away’.

I’m sure Woodhouse Moor will continue to be my favourite urban stomping ground for years to come, it feels a safe enough area for a lone walker to stroll, I’m reassured by the presence of the wardens who patrol regularly in their buggy.

The park has been the setting for some dramatic and  interesting events both during the civil war in the 17th century and in more recent times for my personal battle with the ‘stormy search for self’, I’ll save these stories for a future post, possibly on my own blog site! yes. although previously dubious about the usefulness of social network blogs etc, I’ve become so enthused during the training course to see it’s potential as a creative outlet for expressing thoughts and musings which might otherwise be left under wraps.

Sue Margaret