Ecosia: an ethical search engine

This is an unabashed plug for Ecosia. I use Ecosia as my search engine. It was my youngest daughter who told me about it. Using it means not only NOT using Google, it means planting trees. Today Ecosia hit the 100 million trees planted mark. Here’s a short video about the work they do.

To join in and help, all you have to do is use it. Clicking on ads helps even more. You don’t have to buy anything, just click and another tree is planted. I can’t see any reason not to install this search engine unless you are really keen on giving your personal details to Google so they can make money out of you.

So many ways to look at trees

A list of sorts for NaPoWriMo.

poplar march.jpg

There are so many ways to look at trees:

as they wave in a gale with spindle fingers,

clawing the wind for a grip of her tressed hair,

or stand still, posed in new tender green scarves

of blossom shed,

or later, full and lush with leaf,

that hides sweet singers and wraiths of deer.

I can listen to the rattle of dry oak leaves that refuse to fall,

gnarled and cantankerous, chattering like false teeth,

or the silken ripple of summer song,

piped along sappy veins and the warm feathered blood of blackbirds.

I can count the shadow dapples on the grass or the knobs of buds,

break off dead wood with regret and compassion,

and watch pink-green shoots appear.

I can touch bark, smooth or rugged,

deep carved like old churches or the beams of longhouses,

or peeled by antler-rubbing and hare-chewing,

smell the dusty, grainy beetlings of chewing insects,

the scented, floral breath of new life imposing.

There are so many ways to look at trees,

an ocean of green waves heaving,

embodied wind-tide rising,

hands beseeching, arms enfolding, cradling,

but the best way of all

is to lean back against a trunk

and, looking up into the living vaulting,

forgetting the anchor of heavy limbs and feet of clay,

soar with birds and flying squirrels,

cathedral-dwellers, in awe of nothing.

I turn my gaze from tree to sky

For the Secret Keeper’s writing prompt. This week’s words are


Photo ©Michael J. Bennett


I turn my gaze from tree to sky

Where stars look down from dead of night,

I own I thought to find you there,

Picked out in light, your face ashine,

With that soft look I know so well.

But branches wave before my eyes,

Trapping starlight in their green nets,

Your trail lost in the sky’s dark waves,

Sailed away on a comet’s tail.

Haiku challenge: Top & Light

This traiku is for Ronovan’s weekly challenge.

Photo ©Mike Pennington


From clifftop plunges

a white-feathered lightning bolt

majestic gannet.

Painting ©Uthvfy62


The tree tops wind-dance

shot with light where sunbeams fall

speckled with birdsong.

Photo ©Michelangelo_36


Gold bottle tops gleam

in the grass caught by sunlight

throwaway treasure.

Poetry challenge #17: Shadorma

The last shadorma challenge seemed to please a lot of you, so I thought we’d do it again. This time there’s a theme. It’s trees, and there’s an atmospheric picture to inspire you. To refresh the memory, a shadorma is a six line stanza (or a whole string of them if you feel like it) in a syllable pattern of

You have one week. Write lots. I love to read them 🙂

Photo ©Naturnet


Trees I see,

In a mist faintly,

Wise oaks stand,


Songs and tales from the deep earth,

Dark words of comfort.


Microfiction: The spring dance

Painting ©Helma Petrick


She knew this was the right place, because of the wolf face smiling at her from high among the smooth stones.

Here, it whispered.

I know, she replied eagerly.

We’re waiting for you, said the rose nodding gently among the branches of the big tree.

She hesitated and looked back along the path towards the road that wound about until it reached another road and the house where she lived. But the path had gone. The cart ruts filled with pale sandy soil and separated by tall wavy grass were no longer there. She crouched down and parted the tall yellow flowers, felt the ground until she found the indentation made by a metal-rimmed wheel long ago. She picked a flower and smiled at its yellowness. The path was still there if you knew where to look. And she did.

Come, the wolf said. Come and dance.

Dance, said the rose, and a wave of perfume broke over her face.

Can I go home, after? She asked.

If you want to, said the wolf.

Only if you want to, said the rose and the spreading tree.

Only if you want to, repeated all the trees in the great forest beyond the wall.

Then I’ll come, said the little girl.

The wolf howled with delight, and the wolves and foxes of the forest picked up his song. The spreading tree leant gracefully to one side, and the wall opened to let the child pass. She skipped through the narrow, root-curly gap and joined in the spring dance that only ever ends if you want it to.


A sequence of three-liners on the theme of cathedrals, stone and vegetal, inspired by Andrea Connolly’s Advent poem: Illuminate!

Photo©Johann Jaritz


Coloured light on stone,

Cold flagstones where feet have trod,

Feet have trod on cold light.


Massy grey of silent stone,

Monumental veneration of vastness,

With eyes of coloured glass.


Grey stone, sun-caught glitters,

Silver-rippled water gleams,

Stained glass glows, filled with light.


Pale sun pours through branches,

Shadow dapples the russet red path,

Birds flit, flutter, leaves wind dance.


Cold sun on mist-spangled grass,

Green light and blue mist,

Red leaves scatter the December river.


Feet tread mist-spangled grass,

Stone-flagged rainbows echo hollow,

Hushed feet tread, robin sings.

Flash Fiction: Trees

This short story was published on Ali Isaac’s blog. I’m reblogging it here with the painting by Лунная ночь. Большая дорога (part of that is the artist’s name) that inspired it.

Лунная ночь. Большая дорога

The trees tiptoed through the moonlight in a stately dance along the ribbon of road. I knew it was folly, but the path was so enticing I let myself be drawn into the dream. Trees’ dreams are not like ours. They dream of what they have known, soaked up into every cell through roots delving into antiquity and the ground-up bones of the earth. Dry twigs caught my hands and I felt the animosity through my fingertips. Earth shifted beneath my feet with the rumble of volcanoes and twisted like the scars left by loggers. Water dripped into my eyes from shrivelled leaves, noxious and putrid. I tried to pull away into the man-made strip between the rows of dancers, where the stench of car exhaust permeated the white, gravelly soil. Moonlight blinked and looked the other way. An owl hooted, a vixen screamed, and the steady whispering waltz went on.

Please, I begged. It wasn’t me. None of it was me.

But dream ears are deaf, and none so deaf as angry trees, guardians and frontline troops of the natural world. Brambles crawled over my skin, binding arms and legs, tying me to the swaying steps of the poplars.


The road stretches still, though the dream is ended. Dawn breaks in the world, but not here, not in the dream of the trees, where only night and death are waiting, for them, for me, for all of us.