Sheep Encounters

Sheepish E - Elizabeth HarperNormally, which really translates into always … I carry a camera of some sort. When I’m out on a run, I take my iPhone because I can listen to music, make a call if necessary, (As in I’m lost somewhere in England … help!) and most importantly take a picture when a perfect opportunity presents itself.

Fuji -Elizabeth Harper

When on a hike or just traveling around, I carry my little Fuji Finepix Z100, a great little point and shoot I bought after I got here and found my larger camera to big to haul up and down the coast path.

Rock Climbing Cornwall

When I need more power and picture quality as in when I’m shooting a wedding or doing some portrait work I use one of my Nikon D200’s.

Dancing - Elizabeth Harper

A couple of days ago, I went out without my camera and I missed a perfect photo opportunity while in the homeward stretch of my run. I was running down the very narrow lane in the picture below while listening to music on my iPod, not my iPhone when all of a sudden there were 20 or 30 sheep racing down the lane in my direction. Notice how narrow the lane is in the picture below. Lanes are roads wide enough for one car or one woman, or twenty or thirty sheep, but not all at the same time.

Reaching - Elizabeth Harper

If you notice all the green on the hedges of the sides of the lane … you should know that there is a sticky (ouch!) plant called a nettle which lives in the hedges that look deceptively beautiful.

Nettles

If you touch it even slightly, it causes a lingering stinging sensation that will still be sore the next day. It feels a bit like a burn. Notice the spiky things sticking up on the under side … avoid those spikes!

Toothy Sheep

We saw each other about the same time … at least the first few sheep noticed me and slammed to a halt causing the sheep running behind them to bump in to the ones in front. For half a second we just eyeballed each other uncertain how to respond. I was thinking, “ Why didn’t I bring my camera?” I’m not sure what the sheep were thinking.

E Hedge

All of sudden a white dog looking a bit like a wolf comes tearing down the lane behind sheep heading straight up the side of the lane where I’m standing. The sheep begin to run in my direction and as they race my way, I fling myself into the hedge not even remembering the stinging nettles in an effort not to be run over by the wooly mass coming towards me.

Sheep

The white dog shoots past me and runs around to the front of the escaping sheep and goes down on his front paws into a position that the sheep understand as turn around, ” Boys … we are going the wrong way! ”  In one quick motion the sheep turn and run back up the lane, through the gate, and into the field where the farmer stands waiting.

Seeing the sheep are safe, I pull myself out of the hedge and go off in search of some dock leaves to rub on my nettle stings to reduce the ouchy side effect of my sheep encounter.

Dock Leaves

Dock leaves, nettle stings, sheep encounters, every day is a new adventure … does it get any better than this?

 

Reposted from original GOTJ

Washed Away

Wellies - Washed Away

The constant rain over the last few days has made it easy for me to spend what seems like an endless amount of time staring into the screen of my computer.

I’ve been editing the 3000 plus images I’ve snapped on our adventures around the southwest of England over the last eight weeks sorting though the best ones to share in this space. In each one I’m struck by the lush green that provides a backdrop to this blooming paradise.

Rain is an absolute requirement for the never-ending sea of green. The breath stopping beauty depends on the watery bounty that falls sometimes for days. It’s an unending form of nourishment from the blue grey clouds that frequently dot the Cornish skies.

In the rare moments lately when the clouds hold back and we have a bit of weather relief, we pull on our wellies and tromp about the countryside like a pair of nine-year old boys stepping deep into the mud of the moor. Decorating the waterproof legs of my rubber boots with mud spatters like some sort of earthy Jackson Pollock, I love the freedom that comes with knowing that it’s just a bit of mud and that the next deep puddle I wade through will provide me with a clean canvas and a chance to do it all again.

I can’t help but think how wonderful it would be if all the mistakes we’ve made in our lives could be washed away like that. What if all the errors in judgement, thoughtless acts or careless words could be washed from our memories, slipping away with a splash or two of water from the next waiting stream. Just think how healing that might be.

I am inclined to wonder that if by freeing ourselves from the muck of our memories we might lose some of the fertile ground that spiritual and psychological growth needs to continue to flourish.

The lessons of life cling to us instead like dried mud on our boots sometimes flaking off a bit at a time, sometimes requiring a good scrubbing, but no way easily dismissed.

Perhaps that is as it should be.

Reposted from original GOTJ

Independence Day

American Flag - Elizabeth Harper

‘My Country, ‘Tis of Thee …’  are the words running though my head this afternoon.

I left the United States seven and a half weeks ago and aside from a few passing moments, I have not been really homesick until today. Today is the 4th of July, if you’re reading this and you’re an American, the date has meaning. Today in England, there is nothing on the news to indicate what’s happening on the other side of the ocean. The US seems to make the news here everyday, but today, when I’d like a glimpse of home there is nothing.

Cullene's Table - Elizabeth Harper

I’ve tried to create a bit of flavor from home by making some of my favorite family recipes. Things you’d recognize on any table at any gathering on July 4th.  I thought it would help, but I think I miss the traditions of the day and the people I love from home even more.

Watermelon

My sister in Alaska quite sweetly made me my very own version of a Peachtree Road Race number with a few modifications to fit my geographical location.  I usually run this race every year with exception of a few when I’ve been out of the country on vacation. I spoke with one of my closest friends this morning as she was preparing for the race. We ran the Marine Corps Marathon together last October and it would have been fun to run the what is touted as the world’s largest 10K run, with her today. It’s limited to 55,000 runners and the race numbers are almost as valuable as one of Willie Wonka’s Golden tickets.

Race Ticket

The weather here was quite different from the 91 degree heat I noticed on the Atlanta Journal website. Of course it’s always heat stroke weather for the Peachtree and it would not be right if wasn’t hellishly hot. Which is why when I looked out the window today and saw the weather here, I decided to skip my morning run.

Water Window

With the windy wet weather we’re having here, our barbeque chicken had to be cooked in the oven instead of outside on the grill. John keeps referring to the amount of food I’ve prepared for just the two of us as a feast. I can’t help thinking about my dad manning the grills on the 4th. Yes, you read that right. I said grills as in at least two and sometimes three. Chicken and burgers and ribs … oh my! Even though there were usually only five to ten people at our house on the 4th, my dad would cook as if the whole neighborhood would be on the doorstep before the day was out. We would have leftovers for days … with so much chicken you’d think you were going to start clucking if you had to eat another piece.

July 4 Lunch 2008

It’s been a quiet day here at my home away from home. Thanks to my sister in Alaska who took the time to dig out some family genealogy …we’ve spent a bit of the day reading about the life my ancestor, John Sparks who along with many others fought for American Independence.

Apple Pie

It’s late evening and John and I have had our first 4th of July together. We’ve had a lovely meal and lots of conversation about the ways our respective countries are both different and alike. When I went to Wikipedia to see who wrote the lyrics to ‘America’ also known as, ‘My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee,’ I found that Samuel Francis Smith wrote the lyrics without knowing that the melody he was using was the same as the one used for ‘God Save The Queen,’ the national anthem of the United Kingdom.

Imagine that … I guess in some ways we’re really not that different after all.

Reposted from original GOTJ

Sorry to have such tiny photos, but the originals were smaller on the first GOTJ blog.