The Physical Form

It is said if we met ourselves in the street we would not recognise them as our twin. Every morning, afternoon, or evening in general we see our reflection in a mirror at least once, does a it really reflect who we are? To me it is like a silent mime act mincing our actions for a few moments in time. The visual it shows is a representation of us but not who we are as a human being lives in a world of words and sound.

A photograph does similar, it takes a representation of us at that moment, but no matter how many selfies we may take or edits we make on Photoshop, they can only speak for us so much. We form a representation of our physical form based on these, this can be both positive and negative, but what we need to remember this is only a brief representation in time of who we and how we look to the outside world.

When a stranger on the street or in a bar stops to tell us we’re beautiful or handsome it again is only a representation of ourselves they find beautiful as they do not know the mind and soul of the person within or our history. Accept it with a thanks. If we had never seen a banana or pear before, what would we think of their shape and colour, would we judge them like we do other people or how we see ourselves?

Beauty shines from within not just from the physical form, we’re like flowers in a meadow or a piece of art. Decorating with “make up” or other “beauty products” is like decorating a with glitter tortoise shell, pointless. Make up creates a mask to the world, perhaps we have been brainwashed for so long to believe it gives us confidence and/or makes us more attractive, when they are colourful chemicals to paint us.

A surgeon’s knife or injection may be used to change our physical form, but why do we spend money on vanity and ego, is it from believing our own voice or that of an industry built to give us poor self confidence? Accepting who we are is hard, it is sometimes call self love, I call it acceptance; it cannot be bought, sold or made, as we are the only ones who walk the full journey of our lives and nobody can change that.

Also our behaviour demonstrates who we are; for example do we help others because we want to, it looks good or our mate does it so we will do too? If someone suddenly became interested in helping others, like volunteering at their local hospital with sick children, at the same time they were starting internet dating to find a partner, are they connected and does the first really show their personality or a tool?

Knowing someone at a friendship level tells us far more about a person, their likes and dislikes, passions and hates, so the representation they have of us is the real us. They accept us for who we are as see beyond the tortoise shell and/or mask we wear, it is through their love and friendship we see ourselves better than any mirror or selfie can ever show. So if a friend says we look beautiful, we wear it with a smile.

Our physical form comes in all shapes and sizes, a variety of colours too, no one size, height or colour is better than the others, we are all human sized, one size does not fit all. Next time we see ourselves in the mirror, or a photograph of another, do not judge them or ourselves on that image as only a representation of physical form for a few seconds of their or our lifetimes nor the story behind the image we see.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Sciurus and Me

Today I walked in the late summer sun, the leaves were chatting to each other to discuss the forthcoming autumnal ball and the birds were busy packing their bags for the journey to the south. As I looked to my left I saw a flash of grey dart past, which then settled down in front of me, as my eyes caught up they saw it was a squirrel. I swear he smiled before he was off again. I followed with my eyes and ears where he ran, up the nearest beech tree to the top, then looking down to see if I was watching him, he paused for just a few seconds but unlike an Olympic diver he did not jump off but run back down the tree and paused again to see if I would ever catch him with my camera lens or not.

Instead of running he teased me walking slowly through the grass, posing briefly in the sun before running off once again up a tree. This time he chose a sycamore, going through a hole then stuck his head out from it, like a small child it felt like he was sticking his tongue out at me. As I went to take his picture, again he disappeared. Soon I felt a brush by my feet, as I spun round into the distance between to oaks I saw he’d run. He stopped again, but this time was to say goodbye. I held out my left hand aloft and waved his way but he was gone again for his next adventure. I hope one day we’ll meet again, even if we do not, I know I will always remember our all but brief encounter.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Sciurus

Let’s go for a walk

Let’s go for a walk this sunny Sunday afternoon down my street,
Look at the world through my eyes just for these next few hours.
Listening to the conversations that go on behind the closed doors,
Or reading the newspapers with a pot of tea and rich tea biscuits.

Cars arriving back and forth to visit family creating lifetime memories,
But remembering those that are alone and love even a phone call.
Birds flying south as know the festival season is all but over again,
And not because soon the trees will be reds, oranges and yellow.

There are the those that suffer from ill health (physical and mental),
Wishing that people saw them the person and not their diagnosis.
Looking out of their windows not to spy upon their neighbourhood,
But wishing they could be outside enjoying it not stuck inside.

Others head to worship their god not in a cathedral but in a mall,
Buying yet another pair of jeans identical to their other twelve.
Do they stop to think just who made the clothes that they buy,
Or the welfare and life of the animal now their Sunday dinner?

A few take time to reflect over their week now over forever more,
Learning from the days past and planning for a future to come.
Where as some prefer the company of the black box in the corner,
Watching anything from the Grand Prix to Celebrity Big Brother.

Each one on my street spends their Sundays in their own way,
An unique artwork of many colours, sights, sounds, and smells.
Perhaps one day you will walk down the street to enjoy it too,
For now look out your window to your street view with fresh eyes.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The Last Ship

From a writing prompt: “The last ship is leaving Earth and you aren’t on it. You’re standing at a console able to send a message to Humanity’s destination. You know it will arrive before they do.”

This message is a from the ship Earth, together we make up the last of the citizens of the Planet Earth, third rock from Apollo’s cave, in the Milky Way galaxy.

Many of our species thought themselves lord and lady of our world, when really we were as important as a grain of sand to the greater world. They thought they could build concrete jungles, instead of the ones in guidebook of Earth. Many did not see how like the flowers of a meadow they are, different colours and varieties, none more special or worthless than the next. Nor did they hear the songs of the birds and animals, instead they drowned them out with bombs and gunfire. They became to scared to touch each other as frightened what diseases they may catch from a hug of empathy and/or love. Their taste did not warn them that genetically modifying their food sources would change not just the source itself but destroy homes to other living beings and kill ourselves slowly inside. When they released the chemical weapons they did not smell them, as had not seen the planes that had flown overhead for many a year in preparation.

So now the last of us are headed for your world, we ask not to be treated as slaves, royalty or equals on arrival. We ask you make your mind up when you see the similarities we share and the differences between us and all that makes up your world. We come in peace as have now learnt it is fighting over difference that hurts many, we all make mistakes, money is not a source of happiness but control, and we know how fortunate we are to be heading to your world, millions did not.Thank you.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Dare to imagine

Walking past Summerhall (formerly home to the vet school of the University of Edinburgh) I saw an art installation outside by Mexican installation artist Antonio O’Connell called “Virus”. I took photographs and examined it from different angles before reading his note on it. O’Conell states that that we live in a “contrasting world – where imagination is a luxury for some but a necessity for others”.

I immediately thought of the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his brilliant book “Le Petit Prince” (The Little Prince), which has a theme of while children have imagination that is capable of understanding the essence of things, grown-ups have had their imaginations encumbered by attachment to the quantifiable. They have lost the curiosity of childhood, and their lives are bound by the here and now. What we see with our eyes is merely a shell; the essential reality of things is detected only by the heart.

I first read the book in French around twenty years ago and is still one of my all time favourites. As a deep thinker with a vivid and visual mind I can see this still true of now. I have a curtains that are a mix of blue flowers, which I swear the leaves spell life or love at one point! Equally, I agree with O’Connell that it has become a luxury as we too often do not take the time to look or read with the creatives or artisans that try to look beyond the boundaries and make us do the same.

If we do not know the answer to what a child has asked us we probably look the answers up on the internet so can explain it in a way they understand. My favourite time of year is autumn, I remember asking my great uncle and later my biology teacher what was happening, despite understanding the science I see it as part of nature’s art. I love the idea that the deciduous trees are the girls of the forests where as the boys are the evergreens; the girls are in all their different coloured dresses ready for the autumn ball, but like Cinderella must disappear at midnight, hence they fall off the trees.

I think using our imaginations as to understand and appreciate what is happening in what we see, read, hear, feel, smell and taste is important as lets us experience more from this world than we can from a book or the internet alone.This in part is why do I not work in a laboratory now; I would be imagining the environment changing as I worked, the seeds or pollen from a particular tree telling me it was growing around 2000 years ago to the present day. The world is an infinite art gallery, with innumerable works of art.

Let your imagination lose, don’t be afraid of being “silly” or “childish”, it’s what matters to and part of you. For example, water from a tap, does it not tickle the fingers or is sand on a beach the stars of the ground? Meanwhile, I’m off to find beech (Fagus sylvatica) seeds that have parachuted from the trees by my house and think of what the escape from each year, perhaps taking some photographs of them too.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Mental Health

With the decline in NHS care and treatment for mental health, maybe Robin William’s death can be a way to show how it can impact anyone, regardless of age/gender/race/ability, at any time. It also shows much we need to talk not stigmatise mental health. As someone with depression I know this only too well, as well as the feelings of reaching such a low that putting on the mask to be happy to the outside world when inside all is crumbling seems too much to bare any more. So please remember, if the first or even second person does not listen, we must not give up, we all matter.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Hopes and Dreams

This week I hope for:

1. Peace in my mind
2. Health in my body
3. Love in my heart
4. Fire in my soul
5. Honesty in my words
6. Freedom of a bird
7. Music of an orchestra
8. Colours of an art gallery
9. Inspiration from nature
10. Wisdom of father time

© Fi S. J. Brown

The Phoenix’s Story

In my hands lies the shattered remains of a vase,
Each piece pierced my skin to reveal a red blaze.
My tears fall to try put the fire but it is now a river,
Which sends my legs and arms into a deep shiver.
The fragments I cradle like a sick child needing aid,
As I fall to my knees all around me begins to fade.
Like a tree in the forest nobody hears the sound,
Of having a breakdown when lost but not found.

I wake with no sign of the vase pieces to be seen,
No scars or cuts showed where they’d once been.
Starting to rock in the position of a newborn baby,
I cry out for help from the walls in a muted plea.
I feel like a rock that has fallen down from a cliff,
Pushed over the edge after yet another miff.
As I move I realise I am the vase that shattered,
I wish I’d not been born a of glass but like a bird.

How do you mend a broken glass I ask of myself,
I have nothing left to read on the old bookshelf.
Stumbling to my feet I decide maybe once more,
The phoenix within me then rises so I can soar.
I laugh as I feel the wings that I never knew I had,
I will cope now with whatever in life makes me sad.
Three words I write on my left wrist to remember,
“Believe it again” they say and be my life’s anchor.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Phoenix vase

 

Remembering and never forgetting

Today marks 100 years since the start of one war that humanity will never forget. I shut my eyes to try to imagine what these people did in the name of freedom for their countries: I immediately become deafened by the gunfire, falling over the lifeless bodies of sacrifice to an almost undeserving god, a loss of innocence on all sides, and memories no one that survived the battles would ever forget as scarred in their minds forever. A century on, the red rain continues to pour in every corner of the world. There is no way to shelter from it for once it starts, as is like monsoon season. Tears fall in fear, empathy, and sadness from all over the world as we do not know how to help. Sadly, many do not want to know now as too depressing, preferring their scripted soap operas or reality TV, which are exaggerations of every day life and an escapism from the real world.

Twenty years ago I wondered after the first Gulf War and the breakdown of Yugoslavia if there would ever be peace in my lifetime. Instinctively I knew there would not be as saw people bully me for the silliest of things day in and out, multiplying that up at a country level I sensed only more pain to come. Today I am not a dreamer, I am a realist, accepting what I could sense then. I cannot dream of a peaceful world when I see people everyday not accepting difference in another from gender, race, religion, sexuality and ability. Is it human nature to do so or do we let an arbitrary box dictate how to treat another person? As children we accept someone for who they are, maybe this is another thing we need to learn from them to keep us grounded in what matters.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The big question(s)

As part of the Edinburgh art festival a couple of installations have sprung up in the Grassmarket area of the city asking several questions. Here are the questions with my answers to them, have a think how you would answer them, welcome to leave yours in the comments below.

We are all going on a journey but before you set out:
1. Where do you come from?
2. Where do you do you feel is home?
3. Where do you belong?
4. Where are your roots?
5. Do you where you’re going?
6. How will you know when you have arrived?
7. What is it like there?

1. I grew up in this city but do not feel part of it, I have moved away and she called me back a few times, when I had no choice but to return to her, always with a heavy sigh and heart.
2. I have yet to find my true home as nowhere calls me other than when I am at one with nature listening to birdsong, watching trees dancing in the wind and streams laughing from tickles of the rocks below them. I feel like the dog in the television series “the littlest hobo” and maybe tomorrow I will want to settle down.
3. I belong nowhere I have yet lived in Scotland, England or Italy, but felt happiest when not in Scotland. I am a free spirit that belongs among the natural world or in a landscape painting of days gone by.
4. My roots are a mix of England and Scotland, so maybe I am British rather either as both are marked by a line on the map, the course of the River Tweed. I love this island’s nature and landscapes.
5. I have no idea where I am going in life, but part of what I love about life is living in the moment, as can change for better or worse in an instant and what happens tomorrow will happen, I cannot change that just as I cannot change the past.
6. I will know when my instincts tell me and feel at peace with myself, those I love, my surroundings and doing what I enjoy best in life.
7. Full of nature, music, art, laughter and endless love for all.

© Fi S. J. Brown