scot's pines

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natgeo Video by @JimRichardsonNGLoch Maree was incredibly calm on the morning when I finally got this video. I’d been back here several times with my assistant, Paul Tomkins, while shooting our Scottish Moors story (in the May issue) because it is such a good example of one of the environmental issues in Scotland today: deer population and regrowth of the ancient Caledonian forest. The reason these Scots pines have been able to grow on this wee island is simple. No deer on the island. Deer nip off young trees before they can grow. So this little island is an example of a much larger question: which kind of nature should Scotland have in the coming centuries. But at that moment I was just overwhelmed by the tranquility of it all.

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Good Morning from Scotland

Loch Tay Dawn by Angus Clyne
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Nice bit of sky this morning…

Although the forest was fascinating, it was undoubtedly a strange and slightly unnerving environment. Old, storm-felled trees lay higgledy-piggledy across unpleasantly oily black bogs, where bright green mosses thrived, almost glowing in the low light. Beneath the upturned roots were dark caverns which Algy dared not explore, and which the patches of sunlight that filtered through from the forest canopy could not illuminate.

Algy could see that not only did the fallen trees host the growth of many smaller plants which took root in their bark, but many of them lived on, despite being uprooted, putting out new branches which stretched upwards towards the sky. Sometimes a brand new sapling of a different tree sprang forth from a hollow in the trunk of a fallen pine or larch. And high above it all towered the trees that were still standing, their lower branches crowded and bare except around the clearings where others had fallen, but their tops crowned with masses of bright green needles.

Algy gazed at the scene and marvelled… and decided that perhaps it was time to return to his home by the ocean, where everything was fresh and open and bright… 

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Good Morning from Scotland

Rannoch Moor. by Neil Cresswell
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Sunrise over Rannoch Moor. A myriad of lochans and pools interspersed with drumlins, roche moutonée, erratic boulders, islets and peaty bog. This vast, wet, boggy expanse indicates cataclysmic change. Not by humans. Not by animals. Not even by glaciers. (though several will have merged here, many times). No, it was by that thing that we are conditioned to think started in the 19th. century and still exists today….. Climate change. A very wet period drowned the native Scots Pine and this steaming bog is all that remains of a once vast forest. Here at sunrise, the mist rises, as the sun’s rays catch the peaks. A mystical, ancient, primeval, ethereal feeling catches one’s imagination. Rannoch Moor rarely fails to amaze and entrance!

Magickal Uses of Pine

Planetary Association: Mars

Gender: Air

Elemental Association: Air

Deity Association: Cernunnos, Attis

Magickal Properties: Strength, life and immortality, rejuvenation. External symbol of life and immortality. It is one of the few trees that are androgynous. It was also worshiped by the ancients as a symbol of fire because of its resemblance to a spiral of flame. It is regarded as a very soothing tree to be near. Attracting prosperity, purifying ritual areas and new homes, helping “stay the course” during difficult times. A pine wand or pine cone kept on the altar wards off evil influences. Carry pine cones to increase fertility and have a vigorous old age. Floor washes with pine oil cleanse a space of negativity and ward off illness. Throw pine needles into winter fires for protection, or burn pine incense for purification and divination. Place pine branches over the bed to keep sickness away, or to aid the ill. Hang a pine branch over the main door of your house to ensure continuous joy within.

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At long last, there was a full day of sunshine - as full, that is, as was possible at this time of year, when the sun sank down behind the ridge at 3 o’clock. That was a noticeable advance on a few weeks ago, however, and Algy knew that every day now would be longer than the last… even when the sun didn’t shine! He found himself a perch in a young pine tree, and although the wind was bitterly cold, he sang a sunny song, as the other birds were doing, before the sun vanished behind the hill once again. Algy was fascinated to see that the notes of his song were coloured bright green and purple as they drifted away on the wind…

Algy wishes you all a happy weekend, and hopes that you will find a moment or two to sing a sunny song, even if the wind feels bitterly cold :)

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Plant of the Day

Monday 28 March 2016

Pinus sylvestris (scots pine) dominate the forests around Nellim, a village on Lake Inari, in Finnish Lapland. These trees grow slowly in the harsh climate but are used for a variety of landscape features including fencing, often with the corner or gate post indicated by the tree being inverted to show the root system. Of course the best way to admire the trees is by dog sledge!

Jill Raggett

Algy slept for a long, long time after the excitement of his Magical Midwinter Star party, and when he awoke, it was January. Rubbing his eyes sleepily he flew up to a perch in a pine tree, to inspect the brave new world, but the world had gone. He rubbed his eyes again, but still there was nothing there… nothing but dense, dark Scotch mist… It was January indeed…

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Zen by Lee Acaster
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Christmas

This ficlet is part of the Faith lives AU which starts with A Garden of Worries.

This ficlet is a direct continuation from Potatoes and a Christening

My Fanfiction Master List

Available on AO3 as Faith Restored.

This Outlander canon divergence AU ficlet alludes to information/events that appear in Dragonfly in Amber.

Let me know what you think.

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