I took these pictures two months ago, in mid February.
Winter has been exceptionally mild here in England this year (and all around Europe from what I heard from family and friends- I don't watch tv nor weather forecasts, so I just wait to learn from someone I know! :)).
Hence in mid February, we've had some gorgeous sunny days, with very warm temperatures... like the very day when I took these photos. It was so beautiful, that I decided to go exploring a new area (about 10 miles away from Banbury), wellies in the car boot and big camera on hand.
Nature was reawakening... and I was right in the middle of this. Looking in retrospect, I believe I was re-awakening too. To old committments and ideas, to who I really am and how I want to live, what I have to do in order to wholeheartedly answer my calling in this life. It's such a good think to sometimes pause and ask yourself where you're going and why, and after busy deadlines when you take time to rest, is quite a good moment to do so.
Daffodils were at the "leaves and green bud" stage. Now in mid April, the daffodils season is over, already, but I'll show you in another post.
The colors were definitely changing from the dull shades of gray to vibrant sienna, bright blue and tender greens.
I love to go walking without books/maps, and be surprised at each and every step I take... so when I spot a green sign indicating a public footpath from the road, I stop, wear my wellies and off I go! It's funny that I write this now, because I've always believed I had no sense of direction... but surely having to deal with a bit of a challenging situation when moved here, helped me practicing trust. And I now trust completely that I can absolutely do that without any fear or worry (and that I'm in for a treat, always!).
Seeing this view surely sparked my interest...
... and after I crossed the fence doing the usual acrobatics on the stile (holding camera, bag, Iphone and obvioulsy taking an insta-picture for Project Life, trying not to roll down!), I saw this.
You bet my heart started racing, after months of inactivity...
As I walked, beaming like a child, and with the occasional giggles too, I met the inhabitants of the adjacent farm... we exchanged smiles and chats, and I proceeded full of anticipation. It must be grand living there!
... and at each stile my heart expanded on to an open, vast, exciting, new view.
As soon as I entered the wood (quite difficultly actually, because the stile was really wonky!), a poor pheasant started screaming like crazy, running away from here...
... and immediately I raised my eyes and realized I was in the middle of an untouched path. Perhaps no one had walked along it for a long time...
I standed still for quite a while, observing all around me with eyes of wonder and gratitude. My mind was silent, my heart at peace with the same peace of that place. As soon as I slowly started moving, the handsome, feathered guy started screaming again, this time launching himself in a spectacular flight across the vegetation, to reach the open fields nearby.
I decided to not disturb the fauna anylonger, and go back.
While U- turning, I noticed the adjacent property's garden... with a white bench in it... ♡and wondered who sit down there and their feelings when doing so (and about living in such a paradise). I dreamt of how that would have looked like when Spring was in full swing. I may come back again.
A simple life, very little needs, living close to Nature, and learning from it, savoring the little things, soaking up the beauty and the silence, and being grateful for and inspired by everything. That's my kind of Heaven on Earth!
In March I was busy as a bee making new stuff for Surtex, which will be in NYC in just a month. I felt the calling (oh, sooo strong!) to paint the Ocean again, after more than 10 years that I didn't (I used to paint many sea related themes previously, even if I've always thought I wasn't a "sea person"). I was back on the road again, exploring and feeling the Spring vibes through my whole body driving along the country roads of this glorious Country!
I cooked, cleaned, cried an awful lot, started makeovers, celebrated, observed the light change and the first sunbeams come again into my studio through the window, like last Spring when I first moved to this house; have felt the warmth of sunshine on my skin like it was italian, and realized it's universal and always present, even on cloudy or rainy days ; have seen thousands of daffodils, that took my breath away each and every time I spotted yellow in the distance, picked and treated myself to endless bunches of them (differently from Italy where you cannot find them if not as bulbs, at least where I used to live, in England you can find fresh daffodils for sale everywhere). I reaffirmed strongly my love for yellow, and wondered why lots of people say I like this and dislike that color? Colors are all sooo amazing! Could you imagine a world without yellow or orange?? They are in sunsets, rocks, fruits, vegetables, spontaneous flowers, birds feathers, fish, butterflies...
In March, I picked the first colored posy of Spring flowers in our garden, enjoyed several gorgeous sunsets, decided to get rid of all of the chemicals in our home and started a mission to natural housecleaning and natural everything, felt a big (very big) project I have in my heart and mind calling me out loud, decided I can do that and it's my intention to do that; had a steep spiritual growth again, planted sweet peas in my secret garden, sowed zucchini indoors on the windowsill, and reaffirmed to myself I am a romantic, old- fashioned girl! After all, I love wearing brimmed hats, jabot shirts, lacy gloves, pearls and cameos, long, long large skirts and petticoats, tartan trousers and Oxford shoes, a ribbon or flower in my hair. Not trendy at all, and maybe also a bit demodé- but that's who I am, and I feel good, so good this way!
For reasons I already wrote here and there during my ramblings, and I may want to told you about again in my posts in the future, I don't submit to magazines any more.
When a magazine knocks at my door, and the feature they are interested in is aligned to my calling in this life, I'm glad to say yes! Otherwise I gladly leave room for others to grow.
This article means a lot to me, it's the most inspired I've written so far (actually I had no idea what to write, but the right words materialized themselves on the pages), because it's the first one I write from a new frame of mind. The new issue of the magazine is out, so I can share it with you here now.
Many heartefelt thanks to Christen Olivarez and all of the team at Somerset Life (this magazine has, and will always have, such a dear spot in my heart. It's always such a pleasure to contribute to it) not only for these gorgeous pages, but for they have believed in me since the very beginning! I have tears in my eyes just writing this.
A very, very special thanks to former Somerset Life Editor Jennifer Taylor who put it together, choosing the "just perfect" pictures to share a bit more of my heart and soul.