Photography courtesy of Ana Paula

As we blustered into the darker months of Autumn some highly positive news landed in my inbox one morning. Calderdale council, my local authority, announced a grant they had recently received. This grant was a core fund to enable practioners across the region to offer their services for public and third sector workers. Essentially a way to say big thanks, immense gratitude for the support they have provided for thousands of  residents across Calderdale.

I applied to become a contracted practioner and was successful 🙂

This has meant a diverse and broad section of society have been now able to access my offerings, for no charge. I must admit this model makes me happy. For many years I worked in the third sector, obtaining funding for young people so they could be enriched through ambitious creative programs. This mode of operatus fits my ethos and vision then and still now. Social change is the driver for everything I do.

The natural world, the environment and social change sit within each other. Like all aspects of this living organism, there is deep interconnectedness. Taking place all day, all night, between all chains of activity.

It is my hope and intention, that by guiding a wide mix of people into the woods for healing, connection, restoration etc that we will all further invest into the protection of Nature, the planet.  I am writing a wee post on the first official day of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, so I guess it couldn’t be more timely. Let us live in hope, as the Buddhist activist Joanna Macy calls it – Active Hope.



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September 12, 2021


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On a recent trip back to my original homeland; Ireland, we went off in search of the last remaining ancient Oakland. We headed down through Wicklow into the lush green fields of Wexford to a small town known as Tinahealy. Here one can find the simply stunning Tomnafinnogue woods. Tom Na Finnogue is gaelic for; The Bush of the Hooded Crow and is the last remaining woodland of its kind in Ireland. I personally find this deeply troubling and I’m not alone. Several high profile artists including U2’s the Edge, the Hot House Flowers, Black Velvet Band and my very own uncle who is a children’s artist; Don Conroy fought long and hard to keep the woods standing. Their persistence paid off and in 1992 Wicklow county council bought the site and has managed the 165 acre of Oakland since.

She is a mysterious twist of walks, laneways, railway arches and wetlands. The trees are golden, dusty and majestic, the Oaks seem to be genuinely thriving as they have not got many pesky Beech neighbours invading their roots!

We dropped into our bodies, practising some mindfulness and sat with some of these old, wise ones. There presence is so fundamental to our wellness and that of the biosphere as a whole. May we deepen our connection with all beings and never get truly lost.

The following poem eloquently describes how we are never lost when in the woods, unless of course we want to be…


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.

If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,

You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

David Wagoner

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Green Occupation

June 20, 2021

I felt honoured one Monday morning of late when my buddies over at Greenhouse Culture asked me to produce content for their first “takeover”.

So what may be a green arty takeover? I hear you ponder ! Well according to Ashleigh Downey, founder of GC:

Greenhouse Culture Takeover is a space for green thinkers to invade. We welcome a different point of view, and invite artists, educators, philosophers, activists, ecologists, scientist, nature lovers, concerned parents, and all those in between, to offer their insights and inspirations on the current environmental crisis. Each month, sharing their current meanderings; from books of interest, to quotes, thoughts, music, sound, visual materials, podcasts, poems quotes, and any manor or other relevant findings…

So here be my personal contribution, I compiled a selection of works, mainly my own with some accompaniments. May it bring some calm and inspiration to you… and do please check out the GC website, they are leading some truly important work across the waters in old Eire.

Wild Occupy : Artist Takeover


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May 30, 2021

A new commitment to a daily river or dam immersion, whatever the weather, is very alive in me this month. Eek 😉

The River has been a refuge, a sanctuary over the last few years as I recovered from a illness that knocked me sideways and more. I’ve learnt a lot from these cold water moments: including- the importance of allowing the flow of life, allowing emotions to move through me, knowing there is a way, a way of gentleness when decidedly tricky barriers appear in my life. Keep flowing, keep moving, and allow.

There is also a romantic wildness with River. Emily Dickinson encapsulates this beautifully in her unusually short poem (see below).

Plunging into cold waters is an adrenalin fuelled healthful micro- adventure. See you down by the River!


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My River runs to thee.
Blue sea, wilt thou welcome me?
My river awaits reply.
Oh! Sea, look graciously.

I’ll fetch thee brooks
From spotted nooks.
Say, sea,
Take me!

Emily Dickinson

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April 21, 2021

I have been fortunate to kindle many relationships with beings across the landscape where I live. This be Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. God’s country! Rambling out, a couple of times a day, taking it slowly has allowed me to drop further into my body and become as a result more aware. A sense of mindful awareness can be cultivated when we drop into our bodies as we walk slowly along the lines of the land. From this place of being I find I can open up more to myself and the nature around me. The senses are enlivened … things are good.

Partnership and reciprocity go hand in hand. When Robin comes over to say hello, my body relaxes even further and I as a result open up to this other being. I listen in. I guess you could call this the gift of our attention. The more I practise this type of listening, as a result I deepen relationships with the more-than-human-world to coin the ecologist’s David Abrams term. Naturally then my care and love for this incredible planet booms.  Home. The mother (ship).

Recently, over the second lockdown, I’ve been creating and producing a bundle of sounds, some words and a harmony or two. Here be one for you to have a listen … more will be appearing on the Sound portal over the coming months.

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March 20, 2021

March is a month I don’t tend to march into.

I tread extra carefully, as if I am avoiding the crocuses as they return from their hibernation. I feel I have good reason for this, March is a month packed with remembrances.

Both of my parent’s made their final departures in March. Then we have the celebration of us Irish folk, St Patricks. Finally there is Mother’s day right bang in the heart of the month.

The word Mother has its origins in ‘mater’ or ‘matter’. I have always looked at the Earth as a mother… or more like a mothership. 

This term mother implies unconditional love, boundlessness, support, holding, rootedness, power.

Time spent amidst trees; forest bathing supports me. The trees are a constant reminder that the Mother is close by.

I consider once again how I can embody these qualities as a Mother and as someone who sees the earth as her truest Mother.

To be spacious is vast … a vast heart can hold everything.

I will leave you with one of my favourite Mother(ship) poems:

An excerpt from In Memory Of My Mother

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily

On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.

O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is a harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us – eternally.

Patrick Kavanagh

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February 20, 2021

Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is purest delight;
To honor its form – true devotion.

Jennifer Welwood

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Every morning this path

February 20, 2021


Every morning I step out, usually the garden, sometimes the fields. Always barefoot.

I have found the joy of walking with my  feet fully connected to the earth. Feels so natural. Sure it can be challenging, numbness and ache can feature too! However I intuitively feel the benefits this is bringing to all of me… our ancestors knew too.

Every morning this path, every morning different vibes, every morning I hear song and it brings me home.


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January 24, 2021

Welcome to Musings- a place where we will share images, thoughts and other related media all in the name of nature connections and creativity. Check back soon!

For now we leave you with one of my all-time favourite poems from the late, great John O Donohue, enjoy!

Blessing/ Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.



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ClareDonegan © 2020