Taking Flight

May 4, 2021

3 minute read - 11:30 film.

Alone in the meadow, the setting sun spotlighting the dance of gnats against emerging lime leaves, I became aware of a sound like footsteps.

Removing my headphones I cast my eyes into the shadowy corners to see who or what was approaching, but I was alone.

Recording the dusk chorus, I had my microphone pointed to a small copse and was monitoring the dulcet tones of a mistle thrush through headphones when the ‘footsteps’ returned. Transfixed, I realised that it was in fact the rhythmic chomping of two young calves, hungrily feasting on the new grass in the neighbouring field.

My mind suitably rearranged by this compression of aural distance I tuned into the many other songs of life that were humming away in the background. A woodpecker drummed an echo-tune on some distant hollow trunk, woodpigeons woo-woo-wooed and, rising from the estuary a mile away, the swell of the tide merged with the goose symphony.

When darkness fell I slept in the van on the edge of the ramson-green wood, curtains open for an early rise. My middle of the night slumber was disturbed by something unseen and, opening my door and stepping out onto the damp ground I realised it was the enveloping darkness that woke me. A darkness that went beyond just the visual. There was an absolute lack of sound, even the wind was holding its breath. Nothing but me and blackness, a full on sensory deprivation in a world that seemed to conjure a new wildness at this moment. I too fell into stillness as shivers ran up my spine. Here was nature speaking in the old language of the heart, the Other.

Sleeping fitfully once more I awaited first light which came with a glazing of frost. Stepping out of the van with my mic and headphones I once more wandered the byways through the copses, meadows and ancient ‘lots’ of this old place, gathering the dawn which sang around me into the new day.

I became aware of the many little things, the almost inaudible thrum of life that weaves songs with the trees. Telling tales of courtship, boundary disputes and the pure, simple joy of life. As the sun cast a glare upon the land, life began to quieten down and I returned to my mobile base to recoup.

Before many minutes had ticked by a hen buzzard circled above me, slowly peering at this human out in the early hours. It was now about 7am. I had my camera out and asked if she’d like to dance. Did she have something of beauty that I could share. She spiralled closer as I trained my lens on her sun-warmed tawniness. Her mate swung down with a showy display of aerobatic skill that took my breath. They swept close and, gently, momentarily, meshed their pinions in mid air before she looked over her shoulder at him and plunged like a stone to glide over the canopy and out of sight. “Follow this!”

Later, another wood. Rain hammered a new tune through the cold, still bare beeches. A hoary old hare casually wandered by me, not five steps away, regarding me with curiosity and questioning. Taking a good long minute to pass by Hare made for a path up the steep, sodden bank where I couldn’t easily follow. So no photos for me.

I shot the bog. Marsh marigolds, horsetails, raindrops, black water, always accompanied by blackcap song and incessant rain. After an hour or so I packed my kit away (it doesn’t like the rain), and thought how gutted I’d be if hare came by again and caught me camera-less. And, as if by magic Hare did! Again, walking the precise same path by my side, stopping to get the measure of me and to receive my greetings before ambling up the same sodden woodland bank. An arthritic elder, away into its own world.

Another day. Another woodland edge with dandelions and coltsfoot. And bees doing their thing, dripping pollen, eye wiping, navigating the micro landscape of their world, my world, your world. I came to realise that when I slow down so does the world. Time shifts and flows and takes consciousness along for the ride. When I focus on the small things my world grows bigger, more immersive, more compelling, more mysterious and curious.

When I’m truly ‘here’ I know there’s nowhere better to be. Time to gaze. Time to relate. Time to fly.

I created a film of nature's symphony out in Silverdale, you can watch it below. Taking Flight.

About the Author


Jason has been a visual storyteller all of his life and follows an animistic, shamanic path from his ancestral lands of Anglezarke on the edge of the West Pennine Moors.
Formerly a professional photographer and film maker he now uses his art to help others fall in love with the land that little bit more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Thank you for your article and for sharing the video again Jason. When I see videos and pictures portraying so much astonishing natural beauty I comprehend less and less why humans treat the natural world as they do. When the buzzards touch pinions I feel that touch deep inside my heart centre.

    1. Thank you Karen. I know just how you feel and often want to question everyone as to this. Maybe more folk need to see and feel the love between two buzzards and the antics of dippers and bees close up.

  2. That was all absolutely beautiful, Jason. Thank you so much for sharing. Your words and pictures have totally refreshed and uplifted me after a rather difficult day. Simply wonderful.

  3. Thank you Jason. Beautifully written to the point where although not physically in this "space" with you your detail allows the imagination to join in your footsteps.

    I know my connection with nature needs to grow deeper and I need to be amongst the natural world but my responsibilities prevent me from immersing myself in the outside. I know my life direction must change but until that can happen I grateful to you that your gift of capturing the natural world helps to feed my soul.

    Blessings to you and Nicola.

    Jane c

    1. Thank you Jane, this is kind of you to say. Being aware of a need for a deeper connection is such a rare gift in the world today. We all have a lifetime to go as we strive for this and I'm pleased to hear that my offerings help in some way as you walk this beautiful path.
      Blessings to you.

  4. This is a very beautiful film Jason, liked it all especially the sound and the dandelion bit, fantastic. I may try what you speak of in your text, as have a good sound recorder and several microphones from when I used to do corporate and community arts films.

    It would be good to utilise them to their fuller potential in capturing quality harmonics of nature. Although I am limited in lenses these days for film, the macro and telephoto lenses are kaput.

    Anyhow, well done and thanks you.

  5. Hi Jason

    Stunning, so beautiful, thank you. Are you okay with me putting it on my Facebook page?
    Lots of Love to You & Nichola
    Gill XXX

  6. So beautiful it brought a tear to my eye – thank you, thank you, and thank you again for sharing your observations and wonderfully worded appreciation of the beauty of nature – it is so heart warming to know there are others out there too that for whom being out in the glorious fresh air and surrounded by the glory of the flora and fauna around us, that for us IS our church, and for whom that magical connection of all that is living around us is so very precious and scared. So happy I found you! Thank you, Leandra

    1. Thank you for sharing these wise words Leandra. We are made to be out there in the midst of life aren't we and need to savour the moments as best we can as we navigate this busy life. Very happy you found us too.

  7. Thank you Jason….. I was so touched by the secretive hare…. I treasure every time I have been privileged to watch one….

  8. Beautiful Jason. The Peacock Butterfly and sound that went with it was stunning. Loved the dipper, how much can it carry at one time, still another morsel to squeeze in. Always feel so peaceful watching these films. Thank you.?

  9. D ear Jason how lovely to have a narration following on from your beautiful video. Your words described an orchestral symphony with the sounds coming in as completely natural and in spontaneous unison . All this as a precursor to what felt like a meditative space , darkness can provide peace ,balance and we can see light more clearly . Your piece was so meaningful and shows how much care and dedication you put in to sharing your experiences , thank you .

    1. Dear Susan, thank you for this. I am probably going to share more of my experience as I make the films in future as it's a huge part of the end result. Thank you for noticing this. I'm looking forward to my next ones, and then the series that comes after I've completed a full season of Sabbats.

  10. That was so beautiful Jason. I loved seeing the little Dipper, one of my favourite birds and always a thrill when I spot one, and the Bee footage was amazing. Just a wonderful film all round and thank you very much for sharing.

    1. Thank you June. I felt very blessed to spend so much time with the pair, it was very special for me and completely unexpected.

  11. Jason, I am in awe of your experience, and the lightness in which you speak of weighty matters.

    Your double encounter with Hare, Oh "arthritic elder" indeed: I trust you are speaking of him not of you, and that he carried it lightly.

    Five years ago almost to the day, I was on retreat at a place called Portgower on the coast just a dozen miles from where I now live.

    One day I decided to walk "over the hill" to Helmsdale, and (losing my way, serendipitously) wandered over the moorland in the warm sun (always safe, and with the sea in view).

    Noticing Bumblebees going about, and humming to myself too. Making up verses about the bees, and about my grandmothers, both of whom emigrated late in life, one to Canada, one to New Zealand, From the English Midlands, not from Helmsdale as many of /their/ elders' Scottish contemporaries did, following the Highland Clearances.

    When I paused to eat my lunch, I spotted on the slope above me the bleached bones of a skeleton, which didn't look complete. I tried to memorise the spine, the hind legs, the single upper-arm. The head and forearms were gone. From the shape of the pelvis I thought: male.

    Back at my retreat-shelter that night I searched on my laptop browser for "Hare Skeleton", because that's what I wanted him to be … (Hare is my Power Animal, whom I had met in a drumming circle the previous year).

    I think you can guess how good the match was – absolutely spot on.

    And – in awe and appreciation – I was glad that before I had left him – on that wide expanse of heather moor – I had placed a tiny cube of peat on top of his remains, so that his Sky burial would also gather him home to Earth.

    Thank you Jason for sharing your continuing Quest and Vision with us, and for your companionship – along with Nicola – on this Earth Path.

    1. Dear Kathy, how lovely to hear your story here. Thank you for sharing with me. How very affirming for you.
      Yes, Hare seemed quite stiff, old and somewhat worn and obviously had so much experience and wisdom to make it to such a great age.
      There were so many messages in the encounter for me too.
      thank you for being a part of the journey with us.

      1. Just reading part of this essay again as it has popped up upon my screen with some synchronicity.

        Again I am very moved by your account of Hare's appearance.

        Doubly so since I have just been in touch with Pavel Timashkov the shamanic practitioner with whom I first travelled on a drum joirney in 2015, to meet my power animal Brown Hare.

        Pavel and I share a deep love of the flower Linnaea borealis, Twinflower He in Finland, I in my local nature reserve in Scotland

        So we were exchanging Twinflower greetings, after I had been photographing it yesterday!

        1. Thank you for your thoughts here Kathy. Yes, the Hare has stuck with me and appears often to remind me of the ‘conversation’ in the woods. Isn’t life so full of synchronicities when we care to be open to the world around us.

          1. yes Jason, synchronicities abound. and I am finding that I'm daring the Confidence of Puffin to speak out (with Voice of Song Thrush my soul bird) to reinforce shared synchronicities with other humans. One of the safest places for me to do this is within the Way of the Buzzard Mystery School community, and in WotB generally.

            I also share aspects of my practice – Buddhist and otherwise – in a closed forum with wildmind.org

            Recently I mentioned the upcoming Summer Solstice celebration with them and one of them who lives in Birmingham attended your free event and was so appreciative of it. As is said in my Buddhist tradition "one by one the Circle grows" and that's certainly true of your community!

            Feeling deeply grateful to have found you and Nicola and to be able to share your tender, well intentioned, safe, and reverent approach to the Earth Path.

            And I'm remembering it's exactly 5 years since I met you both, plus the drone, at Tom Lord's at the Northern Scything Festival! That is happening again, scaled down, this weekend… Making hay while the sun shines …

  12. Superb…just superb. Deep gratitude Jason, for your incredible ability to impart feelings through word and film ???

  13. Thank you for your enchanting video.
    Nature our beautiful Mother Earth lies deep within my soul.
    So happy to find you both and feel such a deep connection.
    Our stunning beauty as each day breaks opens my heart with hope of kindness to our world and each living being who has the privilege to reside upon her.
    Blessed be.x

    1. You are most welcome Sue,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes we are very privileged to have the support and solace of Mother Earth as we tread our path.
      Blessed be. x

  14. Thank you Jason for sharing your thoughts and feelings as you spent time out in nature capturing these evocative memories. It brings a tear to my eye and as I watch I can truly feel I am there also. You have an amazing gift In making these films and the way you share it With us in your humble fashion makes it all the more special. I am truly blessed to be a part of Way of the Buzzard. Thank you.

    1. Dear Maureen thank you for your kind words which I find encouraging and warm my heart. It's great to have you along for the journey with us.

  15. That was so beautiful…. I loved hearing the sound of nature…. I felt at peace. Thank you so much

  16. Feasgar math, Jason!
    I love your films. They are a delight to behold.
    I am disabled and old now so a walk in the woods, by burn and brae is something I miss and I'm no longer able to do. Your films are a panacea.
    They bring me to tears, joyful tears I might add. They remind me of who I used to be but more importantly they let me know as life comes to a close for me the beauty of nature goes on and I have been lucky to be a part of something so marvellous.
    Beannchd leat.

    1. Dear Ellie
      thank you for this. I sincerely hope my films will continue to show that you are still connected to all that is and that nature is there for you through this medium.
      And I'm sure that in your heart you are still that person.
      Blessings to you

  17. Thank you ?
    Your words and film have fed my soul.
    I was hungry and thirsty for beauty and the peace that Nature brings…. I am now full and over flowing .

  18. I love your films and narration sadly I couldn't log on last Friday not sure why so disappointing hope you had a lovely evening
    Wonderful film

  19. Just love this writing, as well as the film which I will watch again & again having enjoyed twice before, as I'll enjoy reading again & again…immersing, in imagination, your Lancashire wild spring.

  20. I particularly loved the 'micro landscape' of the bee on the coltsfoot – an intricate world difficult to see so closely with the human eye alone.

    1. Thank you Lorna, Yep, laying on my belly on the labyrinth at Brockholes for a couple of hours showed me some tender secrets!

      1. Er no…not that one

        Sorry to disappoint

        Im the one that spoilt your sunset on Malham Moor a few weeks ago ?

        Hope you are both well

        1. Ah! Yes. You vastly added to our sunset Paul and made the moment ever more memorable. We are both good thank you. Hope you are too. ;-0

  21. I keep watching the tenderness between the two buzzards over and over. It's such an intimate gesture easily missed, but once you pointed it out when you showed the film the first time, I was hooked!

  22. Absolutely beautiful Jason! So many stand out moments in this video….. the two buzzards (Jason and Nicola), flying together! Loved your written words, the music choices and the mystical and magical and enchanting way The video made me feel! I felt as light as a fairy and will watch this many mnt times! Thank you so much for sharing, I am so grateful and privileged that you are sharing this with us. X

    1. Hazel this is very kind of you to say and encourages me greatly to continue with the film making. I'm so happy that you plan to watch the videos again. x

  23. Thank you Jason for the wonderful video and your letter. I could feel everything like real. Excuse my english, but I haven't spoken in your language for many years.
    I'm glad that I have found your company, it feels very authentic and I am glad to get my drum, made by you, this month.

    Many years ago I had an welsh boyfriend and I have been in Wales many times, always feeling the celtic roots which I love very mich.

    Take care and many greetings


  24. Hi Jason,
    I cant remember how many times I have watched the film this week.
    It is food for the soul and everytime there is something new that catches my eye .
    Its an amazing piece of creativity and Ive loved t .
    So thank you sooo much for the images but also your journey to get there . I think the hare left you with a personal blessing not to be shared .
    Blessings to you both.

    1. Hi Pam, this is so lovely to hear. It's always my hope that the films will get more than a single viewing and that they'll touch deeply. Yes, the hare did indeed have words for me. 🙂

  25. An absolutely beautiful piece of photography and videography Jason. Your attention to the tiniest detail really shows us things which we would normally miss on a trip through nature.

    Very inspiring. Thank you.

  26. Wow! How wonderful.
    I was thrilled to see the bee shedding and spreading the pollen as it was hovering over the flowers. The fly sitting on the buttercup (I think) petal was so clear and looked so peaceful it just sang of the connected-ness of all things as one supports another.
    I love Silverdale so that added to the joy of watching these scenes. I think I recognised the wild garlic as being that which grows close to the village green. I could almost smell it.
    Thanks Jason, it's a fabulous film, your closeness to nature shines through.
    I enjoyed the music too but a personal preference would be to hear less and more of the natural sounds.
    With Love

  27. Evocative words and imagery as is your passion Jason. You have the ability to transport us to where you are, what you feel, that precise sense of being, of wholeness, thank you.

  28. Absolutely wonderful. I love your comment 'When I focus on the small things my world grows bigger'. That is such an important message. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    1. Thank you for your comment Wendy. I’m pleased you found the piece enjoyable. Sometimes I forget the words I write and your thoughts here served as a useful reminder for me too.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Would you like us to keep in touch with you?

If you enter your details in the box we'll be able to update you with our event news, courses and more.