A Samhain Story

The trees are aflame with red, orange and yellow across the land, for today marks the Samhain ball. All season long the deciduous trees have prepared for this day, changing their leaves in celebration. All because today signals the end of the year to the natural world, as a new year starts tomorrow and will winter begin her song, a bittersweet and tearful lament.

Some humans spend the day in celebration of their ancestors past and those who left this year, making bonfires to match the glow from the trees, feasting and dancing till dawn to bring in the new year. Others dress up in costumes from witches to vampires and ghosts to trick or treat the neighbours with a song or dance, hoping to be rewarded for their efforts.

Whilst other animals, from squirrels to turtles and bears are also busy today, running around making their last minute plans as with the coming of winter marks the start of their deep sleep. All fear the laughter of Jack Frost, a hollow chill that freezes all that hear it and they don’t want it to be them he turns to ice forever. Remember nothing is safe from his laughter.

However, to keep the world is safe, some trees remain green, the evergreens. They act as the world’s guard from Jack Frost’s laughter, protecting all from hills and rivers, to pigs and horses who choose not to sleep but stay awake, is it insomnia or choice it is uncertain. As humans choose to carry on, till they realise even they are not immune to his laugh.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The Dodo

Many now know the Dodo is long dead,
But do not know it was what he was fed.
The diet of fish, chips and mushy peas,
Made him blow his nose and sneeze.

Till one day he blew a bit too hard,
He flew clean across the backyard.
Landing on bum with a great thump,
And let out an enormous loud grump.

If he had only landed on his two feet,
He then may not be under concrete.
For his bum landed upon an old nail,
Alas there was noone to hear his wail.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The rivers of war

Out from London Tower a river of red blood falls,
In memory of the fallen in wars now history books.
Each poppy is to mark a life taken far too soon,
A Sacrifice in freedom’s name for each one of us.

If we look the poppies are not just red of blood,
There are hidden colours that need to be seen.
Stems of green showing the jealousy and envy.
And black of the darkness and fear war brings.

Across the world there are many hidden rivers,
Filled with tears of pain, anger and depression.
And turned red with the blood spilt in revenge,
But where is the white of love, peace and hope?

© Fi S. J. Brown

Great Uncle Lauderdale

Perhaps because I never knew my grandparents, who died before I was born, the previous generation to my parents enchanted me in childhood. Their wisdom gained through living in times I could only imagine and how different the world that changed around me daily through my young eyes but to them must have felt like a different world to them. A place filled with hard times and bloody wars they had survived to be met with the concrete jungles of corporate buildings of fifty shades of grey and a sound like drones of bees in a hive, which were growing across the land instead of old forests of greens, reds, oranges and yellows filled with unique sounds, smells, words and tastes.

My guide to the world then was my Great Uncle Lauderdale. His role was to awaken me to use all my senses, look for every colour and shade, take in the changes at home and away. When we were together, be it in his little room away from the noise of my great aunt playing a game his father had made with a home-made die or walking along the River Nith proudly with a man who looked like a slim Santa Claus and Sherlock Holmes in one, perhaps the beard, hat and pipe gave him even greater wisdom beyond his years. He was a gentle man, I never once heard him angry at anyone. He gave me powerful gifts and insights, which he encouraged me to use in oral and written form.

I was not related by blood to my great uncle but the memories I share of him for nineteen years play back in my mind as happy times. A person that I will forever be grateful that touched my young life and showed me the world as I continue to see it. Earlier this month marked 110 years since his birth, so wanted to write a little thank you note and feel his presence once again, remember the times of happiness in a childhood that had many tears. In the autumn leaves as I walk I can smell his pipe and we’ll go one day again to walk along the river. I may have felt his passing as he died those years ago but his gifts to me will never die and it is these gifts I share with you now in my writing.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Insomnia’s soliloquy

Time to turn the page on the story of my life and end this day, as when I wake it will be a new page to be written and filled of adventure and mystery now unknown. Grateful for what ever blessings come my way, but will not curse the bad tidings if they call my name. Today I laid a foundation or two for tomorrow and sent away a ghost or two of yesterday. So now like the sun that set many hours past, I turn off my light and let the moon with her chorus of stars sing me to sleep. Whatever comes your way, be gentle with yourself, and paint the world with your brush of love, light and peace. Goodnight.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Autumnal dreams

Colour bursts have exploded all over the city, the trees are ablaze with autumnal fire. Soon one by one they will fall to the ground, like a thousand memories of this year now almost over. But they leave behind a green of guard to protect us from the bitter finger of Jack Frost. As once he starts to laugh and point, no creature on Earth is immune from his white brush and song.

© Fi S. J. Brown

autumnal dreams

Memories of Plavecky Hrad

Plavecky HradDeparting from the village with a stream and air of times past I began my ascent. My journey was joined by cornflowers, clovers and cowslips marking a path with flashes of blue, purple and yellow lights to guide my feet to the edge of a forest.On entering the forest it was like I had completed level one of a secret test to locate the castle. The climb now because very steep and enclosed by trees, which were trying to prepare for their autumnal ball or awaiting a Prince Charming for a dance. Steeper and steeper every step seemed, I felt like I was missing an equine friend to enjoy the journey together. I stopped five times to rest and refresh, with each one my legs felt like they were climbing Everest five times over such was the distance and steepness climbed.

Then level two cleared as the ruins first caught my eyes and I felt at one with those who had made the journey before me. The light of the sun caught the remains of every window to the highest tower, giving each one their moment in the spotlight. The view with a hazy filter caught my breath, it then felt like it was that which covered my view. Through the haze were fifty shades of green, like soldiers standing guard over the land. The human settlement that shares the land appeared to be singing nature’s songs along with her, a far cry from the fifty shades of grey that I often saw back home. I then saw a solitary tree beside where I stood, he whispered in the wind he now guarded this view, which once human had; Mother Nature told him it was the most important role in all the land, so he took great pride in his work. Then I returned to the remains of the castle which glowed in the sun, almost showing off medals of past victories against an enemy now nowhere to be seen or heard. Looking out of her ruined windows was like looking into her soul and how much the view had long been part of her; she was as much part of the land as the tree who guarded her.

The descent felt like I was on fast forward, although watching for branches and roots with every step, the steepness seemed almost to have been a mirage, perhaps it really had been part of a test to see if I was worthy of rescuing a princess, which in this case was the castle herself. Soon I was met by the floral friends I met on my my ascent, who I felt were cheering my way for seeing what few of them ever could or would. My final step down was accompanied by the rushing of the stream, almost applauding and toasting me on behalf of the village as I had seen their princess. On meeting the mayor of the village I felt like I was meeting a relative or colleague of the tree in human form, a foot soldier at the the bottom of the hill. I smiled as I now knew a secret that the world did not of this village and her castle, which I then realised were twins as there would not be one without the other.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Life is a ladder

One of my favourite pieces of art at Danubiana by Jozef Jankovič reminded me of life being like a ladder: It is best taken one step at a time, with the freedom to move up and down at our own pace; sometimes we fall off and need to start again but that is only natural; and it is not how far we climb up the ladder but go as far is comfortable for us.

© Fi S. J. Brown


A Slovakian Escape

Flying to Slovakia my journey was high above the clouds so could not sense where I was physically was passing over, but I felt like a bird finally free and spreading my wings. As I came to land it was as though I was going through ice caps, the clouds did not look fluffy but irregular blocks of ice, and I was about to enter Atlantis.

Upon arrival it hit me what it must be like to not understand any word of a language, I had not looked at my Slovak phrasebook that much, but there was English alongside them. It felt like old and new meeting at once, the Slovak words making me curious not just to their sound but the traditions and people of the country I now stood.

Bratislava herself made my eyes feel at first like I had stepped into a television, so many advertisements along my path. However, her charm is something to behold, with an old town of architecturally stunning buildings and a majestic river, which at sunset was as turned my breath to light and shone over all it was touching.

The views from Bratislava castle were like seeing a new friend opening their arms and giving a giant hug, knowing I could trust her with my every word and step. The bridges made me feel I could achieve my goals, the high towers felt like I could build a life here and the red roofs, an eternal warmth of love not danger was in this city.

The Danube herself sung and danced whenever I saw her. My first impression was Strauss was right with his famous piece. An art gallery (Danubiana) sits in the middle of the river; inside was like walking on water among some incredible works of art, the statues outside felt like his guardians of all forms of Earthly life.

The trip to Plavecky hrad (castle) is a story in itself through a magnificent forest and up a steep hill to reach her ruins but rewarded with views (although hazy) worth every step of the climb. No cold and ghostly feelings from the castle herself, but a tree overlooking the view felt like the final guard to keep the ruins safe.

The day trip to Vienna along the Danube at first was spoilt, for when entering Austrian waters a fog descended, which as it lifted felt like Styx had been steering the boat. I have travelled to Austria before, the richness of the architecture to the German language made me feel like I was now in familiar but foreign ground

Upon going to leave I cried, not just in sadness to say goodbye to Blanka but to this “little big city” that had left a big impression on me and I had left a little part of me there. The flight back among the patterns of black and orange across Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands and finally to the UK. I will return soon I hope.

© Fi S. J. Brown



Plavecky Hrad

Rid the world

The Mind Unleashed posed the following question to their social media: “If you could rid the world one of thing, what would it be?” I thought this was one that needed a good ponder. The following is what I decided.

I noticed a couple of people had said “humanity“, which as many liked as said it was stupid or wrong to even suggest ourselves. To only think of the entire world and ourselves being at the centre is to me our egos talking like this is our playground so will play by our rules only, where as there is much more than what we have created to it and believe we enrich the world with being in it. To me those that did not agree with it were falling for the latest trick, thinking only of themselves and not others, and could not see we should sing a song with nature not autotune the world’s voice to suit our own needs. However, getting “rid” of humanity is not the answer, retuning ourselves to rediscover our role within the world for me is what is needed.

Quite a few had said on those that abuse and/or hurt children, which I agree is wrong but to hurt any living creature for me is wrong. We single out children as to us humans they are the most vulnerable in our societies, I could argue back that all life can be hurt and/or abused, we have others such as the elderly or those with additional needs that are also vulnerable to being abused and hurt by others. Abuse of two adults, particularly in relationships, it is often the female that is seen as the victim or vulnerable one but can be of either gender. Removing those that hurt and/or abuse the lives of others at first seems a good idea but when and where do we know where to place limits, and how we would begin to screen people for this?

A very popular answer was “organised religion“, which I can see why many said it as has been used and continues to be used as battle lines for war. For many their belief system is their tinting on the world as sets out their morals, ethics and values. Belief for many is a symbolism of hope. I witnessed a lady on the bus only the other day reaching out to a a fellow passenger on the bus and explaining about god, which the person reaching out felt would be of benefit to them. Whilst I was pleased to see someone helping their fellow human, I felt this wasn’t the place for her beliefs, the passenger was in more of a non-judgemental ear, human warmth of hugs and a mug of tea, so could be heard. For me it is the empathy in humanity that matters most.

So what would I “rid” the world of? Disdain, which can be defined as “the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect.” Everyone and everything has worth and deserves our respect. As humans no two journeys are the same but from our experiences on it we can empathise with compassion and insight into how another may feel. These days of apathy, indifference and hatred are making the world fifty shades of grey, rather than a rainbow filled of incredible diversity, variation and distinctiveness. We would rather be the same than different, but yet for me that is what makes the human experience and life is about, discovering how we fit in within this jumbled jigsaw that we call life and making the most of it.

© Fi S. J. Brown