Tag: Gill Henwood

All good gifts around us…

Thoughts from a reflective walk in the Lake District,  Cumbria by my friend, Gill Henwood.

“This morning I took this panorama from the edge of Grizedale Forest, overlooking Coniston and the fells. Autumn is in the air, with the first fresh winds blowing in clouds and scattering rowan berries on the woodland tracks. Geese have begun their noisy migrations southward, in V formations high above. Hearing their calls makes me look up.

Nature’s harvest this year is bountiful. Blackberries cover the bramble thickets (our black Labrador helps herself, picking carefully!). Yew berries are carpeting old grassland, picked up by nuthatches. 
Charms of fledgling goldfinches are learning to land on our squirrel-proof bird feeders, taking turns with green finches and tits of all kinds. 
Robins sing and wrens chatter in the hedgerows. Tawny and barn owlets shout ever-louder at dusk to be fed. 

Creation is preparing for autumn and the cold dark days of winter.
So must we. Francistide (St. Francis’ feast day is October 4th) reminds us of our common heritage as Gods beloved creatures: God, our sustainer and theirs. 
As the wild berries and the garden bird feeders strengthen tiny, fragile birds for adverse times, may we cooperate with God to care for all in need.

In the panorama, I recalled Psalm 19.1….

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
   and the firmament proclaims his handiwork

We have had such a dry summer we are looking forward to some long-awaited ‘soft refreshing rain’. Thirlmere (reservoir) is 8m below its ‘spillway’ level, and Haweswater drowned village outlines are visible too. 

I sang (in my head!) along my walk:

All good gifts around us are sent from heav’n above, then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love’.

Gill “

Photo of the Lake District taken by Gill Henwood

The Revd Dr. Gill Henwood is a priest in the Church of England


Equinox in Cumbria. This photo, sent to me by my friend Gill Henwood, celebrates the autumn equinox.

This is when the earth tilts on its axis by about 23.4 degrees. During the autumn equinox, the Southern and Northern Hemisphere trade places in receiving the amount of light and warmth from the Sun. This results in the change of the seasons. Hence we begin to celebrate Autumn


Shadow movements
hug and cloak the earth
with crepuscular furtiveness.
Inky blackness shuts out

There are those who draw breath,
embracing stillness;
though for others
night is a time of phantoms, fears,
Not all welcome the changing hues.

But wait!
for that tipping moment
when pinprick stars merge
with a sky-streaked dawn.
Darkness always becomes Light,
Shadows always turn the world.
Light always needs darkness
for it to dazzle anew
with a radiance so bold,
our spirits soar.

GC August 15th 2018 

King of Flowers ?

Photo: Gill Henwood

King of Flowers for Corpus Christi.

My friend Gill wanted to give you a flower for Corpus Christi.

This is the day many Christians give thanks for the gift of the Blessed Sacrament which Jesus gave to His followers at the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. In the Bread and Wine, prayed over and blessed, Jesus found an eternal way of being with us and feeding us on our spiritual journey to the heart of God’s Kingdom.

This gift is linked to Jesus’s Crucifixion and Resurrection when God showed us how much he loves us.

The colour of the Tree Peony can be seen as a symbol of both the Body of Jesus broken for us and the Blood shed for us. The White is tinged with Red. (And therefore, the white and red symbolize the bread and wine of the Eucharist.)

Not everyone may share that but you can, of course just simply enjoy the flower, which is very beautiful and enjoy it as a visual gift. After all, we need lots of colour and joy in our world right now. We can all share the delights of Creation.

Here’s what Gill has to say about the Peony.

Opening just in time for Corpus Christi, this tree peony (paeonia x suffruticosa) is, to me, astonishingly beautiful.

The white petals are like fine tissue paper, the markings stunning and the crown of stamens around the central pistils glorious. It reminds me of the Passion flower although there are six, not seven pistils and I think the number may vary. Bred over millennia in China, they are highly regarded as the ‘king of flowers’ and were their national flower till 1929.

Each 4-5” flower lasts for about a week and closes up at night, sheltering the centre. This year, the tree peony survived weeks of hard frosts and is in full glory in the hot sun of the last few days. 

The king of flowers for Corpus Christi.

[Mr G]

A glimpse of a moment of ‘Gift’

Gill Henwood. Photo of Green Hairstreak Butterfly. Cumbria.

My friend Gill Henwood has sent me this photo of a Green Hairstreak Butterfly. It was discovered on a track in cleared woodland fells between Coniston and Hawkshead in the Lake District last Saturday. In that part of the world it is a very rare find, Gill tells me.

Of the butterfly itself she says:

that it  is about 30mm wingspan, so half that when the wings are closed. Hence the impressionist close up photo with an iPhone 12 mini. This is adequate for reporting to Butterfly Conservation Cumbria or iRecord, and carrying a smart phone whilst dog walking means the opportunity can be captured- sometimes- if a tiny creature pauses long enough ( they often don’t!).

Amazing striped antennae and legs that were not visible with the naked eye. The ring-tailed lemur of butterflies!

In many cultures, the butterfly has a deep connection with souls.  For some, the butterfly’s spiritual meaning resonates with the Christian belief of Ascension (of Christ) and also to creativity, pulsating joy, transformation and spiritual re-birth or growth.
It is also a sign of beauty and a symbol of hope and endurance as it flies from flower to flower. Butterflies bring joy to a garden, a country path and, even round here at present to a building site a dusting of colour.

Gill says that what she is presenting us with in her image is not so much a portrait but

“a  glimpse of a moment of ‘gift’ in a sighting along the way. “. It’s an opportunity to share the exhilaration of the moment with those who can’t be up on the Cumbrian fells.”

In this period of time when so much has been taken from us and when we don’t yet understand what the ‘new normal’ is; when what we saw as important in our lives is being challenged and questioned, we need these moments of ‘gift.’ Nature has been working hard this year to show us something of ‘their world’.

David Hockney’s new book, written in collaboration with Martin Gayford, Spring cannot be cancelled’, tries to share that sense  of learning deeply from the things around us, particularly the things of Nature and creation.

It is perhaps ironic that at a time when we are threatening so much of creation with extinction, birds, animals, bees, butterflies and the creativity of plants are coming to our rescue. ‘Cheer up!’ they seem to say. ‘There is so much of value that you are missing and which you didn’t see as Important.”

Now perhaps we may, which is why we must always be on the lookout for those moments of gift to be enjoyed and through which we might  glimpse a different, better and more truthful life. A life of wonder, awe and inspiration. A life of breathtaking beauty and yet, a simpler life.

God gives us these glimpses of beauty, of the gift of His creative love.
As Gill suggests. “Enjoy the gift of the glimpse xx”

I am grateful for some words of St. John of the Cross who wrote which carry a profound truth…

God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty.

He can even do it to us!

[Mr G and Gill]