Thursday, December 13, 2012


The storytellers have left the Isle. Nicholas is still away. All the helpers have returned to their families for Christmas and New Year celebrations. And I am now alone with birds and bare trees my only company.
Winter has embraced the garden in it's white serenity and the chill it brings with it reaches my very core. Or is that just loneliness I feel.

Is solitude a dark place, or a place where one can let them selves be enlightened? It depends I guess on ones attitude, like so many other things in life…If you fight it, the fight usually ends up in tears. Accepting that this is how things are for the moment, taking the ingredients that it provides you with and turning them into something tangible, something that can fill the hole that solitude brings, can be rewarding and enlightening. It's easier said than done, but it is comforting to know there is an option!

It's almost time to say goodbye to the past year. If time can be considered a companion, i'd like to shake it's hand and say "thank you". "Thank you" for the knowledge and new people you have brought into my life, "thank you" for the blessing of being alive and knowing your every day...

Friday, November 23, 2012

The young ones

Tiny Treasures From St Catherines
If you have never been to a Storyteller Symposium, maybe it should be best that I explain a little about what takes place. There are two groups that attend...the Veteran Storytellers as it were, and the budding storytellers...the latter are the ones that I have the most dealings with.
They are here primarily to find their voice!
That's where my Aviary Garden comes into play, as they have to choose a bird (and be chosen by a bird) that will accompany them on their storytelling adventures. Their isn't a single ritual that takes's more like a "getting to know each other" act.
Day after day they visit the Garden and sit under the trees with their leather bound journals writing...they don't actively seek out their voice...they just let it happen...The veteran storyteller's advice to the young is to "let go"...just do what they love to do and not get frustrated.  And the typical response from the young is: "that is easier than it sounds..."
The Garden is not at it's warmest in November, so I have hot spicy rose tea on the go all the time, and many pots of various vegetable soups served for lunch.
The birds in an interesting contrast to the worried storytellers, have no stress whatsoever! They, like the rest of nature take everything in their stride, hovering over them, listening to the written words, waiting for the moment their song will fit like a piece of a puzzle with the storyteller's imagination.

On a side note, I have been missing Nicholas...he has been away now for a couple of weeks exploring the Isle of St Catherine. I did however receive a few treasures from him delivered in the post today and pretty as they were decided to catalog them...I hope it will be a nice surprise for him when he returns!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Details from the preparation for the Storytellers symposium.
I know I have been away for a long time, but the preparations for the Symposium have really taken over life here on St Francis! It is exciting and exhausting at the same time! I promise to be back with more details of how the Symposium is going and some new floral studies soon!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Realizing I have neglected my own journal for a while, while working with Nicholas, I return to it, imprinting a fleeting glimpse of my own feelings.
I chose a single word: purpose. Nicholas has given me a new purpose in life, and I'm grateful to him. Purpose can make you stronger, more determined, open your mind and supply you with ample amounts of adrenaline. Purpose, can steady any boat in rough waters and guide it to it's harbor. Purpose can make featherless creatures fly, and reach the destination they crave.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Evening by the Ocean

It was about 5:30 in the afternoon when Nicholas came by the Aviary. I was still busy collecting feathers for the Storyteller's Symposium, which doesn't take place till Autumn, but as my beautiful birds shed their feathers reluctantly I always like to have a good head start. Greeting me, he gave me a sympathetic smile - I must have looked a right state, with my bird nest hair and my dusty gray bloomers.
- I think you could do with a good wash! he said, offering me a handkerchief to wipe my sweaty, gritty face. I'd have answered him with a glare, if I wasn't so exhausted.
- I was heading to the beach, fancy a break?
I was happy to oblige, just to get away.
We made short work of the lengthy path to the coast and once there, despite my tiredness I surrendered to the wonders of the ocean... I carried home with me some constellation pebbles, and a small wave kissed quartz, while Nicholas gathered some samples from the oceanic rockbreaker . We also made two new acquaintances: a pelagic penguin with an appetite for scones and blueberry jam (I always take a dozen or so with us when we are exploring) and a nautilus diver who almost made me clap with childlike enthusiasm as he gracefully took off and dived over and over into the waves....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The grouping of species on each page is done by Nicholas. The above group's theme was glaringly obvious...or so I thought! Nicholas smiled at my clumsy attempt to show excitement over it. "I know you are thinking that grouping them based on their colour, is unimaginative...and maybe a little boring?" I tried not to nod. And failed. He laughed (thankfully). "The colour link is only the tip of the iceberg. The meadow boar, can almost always be found in fields of Dusk Bells. Dusk Bells as the name suggests emit a quiet but distinct "tinker" at dusk. The Warbler, when hearing the sound the bells make, breaks into a whispered melancholic song, almost as an answer, and the single Soulsearcher Geese in turn, listening to the Warblers sad song dive (literally) into their loneliness...diving deep into the lake only to resurface when almost out of breath."
"I thought I knew everything about birds, evidently not! That is so sad!"
"Don't worry" he said reassuringly " Nature rewards the patient. The geese do eventually find their mate...but that only happens when the Unpredictable Ferns, flower."
I couldn't help but wonder if there is a fern with my name on it, somewhere out there. But that's a question I kept to myself.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I and Nicholas started our day very it's Midsummers day and there are lots of festivities going on around the island, we headed to a tiny Isle that is adjacent to St Francis, where I knew we could sit and observe without being disturbed.  I wish I had time to draw the anemones, that are native only to that specific area, but alas the birds won again, and I spent most of the day observing and taking notes on the glorious Cerulean Plover and the cheeky Anemone Honey Eater. Nicholas found a beautiful lace stone which he placed in his pocket carefully as it's very fragile...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Meeting Nicholas

Nicholas was not at all how I expected...I had envisaged a short, bald, aging man with spectacles with possibly a hint of a hump, clutching notes and other technical paraphernalia, but to my surprise at midday precisely,  I came face to face with a tall, cherub faced young man, barely out of his teens, wearing a bright smile and curious gaze.
Conversation was at first minimal, the lad seemed completely absorbed by his surroundings, that I d aren't utter a sentence longer than three words, afraid I'd disturb his studying  the birds and other wild life. But as afternoon snuggly settled around the garden, I felt the need to at least make an effort at a proper conversation. After serving him some honey-mint and lime tea, he felt obliged to take a break and give me some attention. I talked to him about the aviary and how I had come to be its keeper and he talked to me of his passion for observation and his ambition to travel the Isles and create a proper collection of the natural history of the Imaginary World...Feeling brave, I showed him some of my own drawings, observations I had made the passing months while taking breaks from my chores...He was so kind and made me blush...After studying the drawings meticulously he made me a proposition that startled and excited me: he proposed that I could do some drawings that would compliment his own scientific findings...a partnership as it were! I told him that I'd think about it and let him know....Two hours later I attached a note to one of my swiftest messenger birds with a simple phrase scribbled hastily saying: "Hell yes!"

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

After the grey

The long winter is now over and with the sweet scent of Spring in the air, the Aviary looks more alive and vibrant than ever. The once grey, bare branches are now full of bloom and melodic, occasionally quirky bird songs...It was a wild and difficult winter.. While walking through the grounds assessing what needed to be done I decided doing everything myself would be impossible to say the least, so I sent an sos to my neighbors at St Francis chapel, via one of my eager messenger birds.
The sister in charge sent a very sweet letter in reply, saying that she would send me some helpers once they have finished tending to the chapel's gardens needs...adding if it were possible to do her a favor in return: an important (?) Naturalist is currently a guest of hers and is eager to see more of the island and especially the Aviary.... In her words "He is conducting a study of the island's flora and fauna and he has titled the said study thus "The Natural History of the Imaginary World". I hope you don't mind never know, he may know a bird or two you have never even heard about!"
I doubt that would be the case...I think I have the bird world covered here. Oh dear, I do sound full of myself...anyway I shall be meeting him tomorrow midday... I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

In The Beginning....

Legends of how the isles were first inhabited are many and have been tainted no doubt by the passing of time. The most popular legend however, is the story of Noah's Ark and its little known sister boat.
Legend has it that Noah's boat was not alone in rescuing fauna and setting sail on the wild seas of a drowning world. Another boat, smaller in size that took onboard many of the fauna that Noah could not fit on to the Ark sailed beside it but did not reach the same destination.
The reason for this is unclear. One version of the legend talks of heavy storms and unforgiving winds that drove the boats apart. Another version tells how Noah and Leanna, the smaller Arks captain spent days quarreling about their philosophy of how the New World should be like and decided that it would be for the best to take their separate ways. That is how the two worlds came to be, Noah the father of the world of reality and Leanna the mother of the imaginary world.
In this day and age not many remember Leanna's legacy and Noah's world has become the norm and accepted version of how the world should be.
But few, the dreamers and the misfits who cannot find their place in this world we live in, still seek refuge in Leanna's, an imaginary world where they are warmly and truly welcomed.

excerpt from "Legends of All Saints Isles" 1444