Archive for the Nature Category

Watergarden – a piece of heaven at your home

Posted in Art, Life, Nature with tags , , , , , , , on July 10, 2009 by Silvia

What I’m going to show you is a sample of my husband’s artistry.
He did all this with his bare hands and a few tools (as you can see below).


This is a suggestion of a way how you can take advantage of that little empty space in the corner of your garden and give it a special feature, your own vision, making it become your space of reflection and Peace.


First of all, you need to clean it up, to pluck out all the grass and the weed that can prevent the growth of new plants. You need to move the earth too, the little stones, and create depth to insert your reservoirs. The easiest way is to buy rubber ones, but you can also isolate the ground yourself with liner. If you chose this way, it’s convenient that you put a layer of sand over the earth, so that you can minimise the risk of perforation and leaks.


The flow of rocks, the way you display them, is of major importance to achieve a good balance. The landscape you create with your hands must seem natural, must appear in your eyes as if it had been there all the time. You must look at your landscape and feel it as a part of you, as a way to your inner self. Of course this is not an unique recipe to everyone, because each person has a different way to see the little corner of his or her dreams.

The rocks were chosen one by one, literally. Everywhere we travelled across the country, we were looking at the ground “This one we like, this one we don’t.” The schist gives a water garden a very special shine, contributing to a very calming healing through light. It’s radiances flow between the golden and the orange, the reddish and the ocre. It’a a very beautiful rock. We used too pebbles that we caught in the river, beautifully polished by the water torrents.
There are no straight lines in a true Feng Shui garden. They are unnatural and imprisonate the spirit, while the curves liberate it. Building a pond is a work of patience and dedication; in my vision a “natural looking pond” is a true artistry. These stones were moved several times, before they found their perfect positioning.

The sound of water cascading over the stones is like a song in the silence. Though it may not seem. A submersible pump must pull the water to the cascade, from the lower preformed liner to the cascade on the top. Of course you must think of the leaning on the ground and you must fit your reconduction tubes before building your stone puzzle.


 The water means wisdom, while the rocks grant the spirit the security and the protection of the life within the mother’s womb. That’s why the combination between the two is so vital. In practice, we need to create a little cove with peaceful singing waters, surrounded by the majestic
envelopment of the mountains (in a small scale, of course!)

This is the final conception. A cascade on the top, from where the water falls in a first large basin. Then, it flows through the ground, isolated with liner, among the shinning rocks, to a second one; it has a little cascade from where the water falls into a third, and so on. If you close your eyes, you hear a constant flow and a song that won’t stop dripping in your mind, as if you were in the most isolated and quiet refuge in the middle of the mountains.
What you see here, growing over the rocks, is Verbena and Poligonum (knotgrass). You can give it colour with Irises, Water Lilies and Lotuses. You can give it flow, using rushes with light pending leaves that flow in the breeze. The Bamboo is very musical and refreshing, and its presence gives a mystic oriental atmosphere to your garden.
The Japanese lantern is so beautiful that we couldn’t forget it. Though we didn’t have much room to build a small wooden bridge (moonbridge) as we wished, this lantern provides so much magic to this garden, specially at night, that we almost forget everything else. It is the representation of the Earth, Water, Fire and Wind.

Ca you see the colours?
The yellow means the mind, the optimism, the ability to reach, the reflexions. It’s the energy, the justice and the honesty.
The green is a bridge, like the heart. It’s the idealism, the unselfishness, the understanding.
The blue is the highest intelligence and the depth of truth. The blue inducts contemplation and tranquility.
The white shows us the shine and the supreme purity of the light. The white is faith, is reason and is also hope.
And many other colours have different meanings. I just tried to give you an insight of what you can see in this picture.

And, as Nature takes its time, this is the way how it looked, after one year.


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Posted in Nature, Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 30, 2009 by Silvia

Gorilla eyes
Image by eurodrifter via Flickr

Did you know?…

Gorillas have a DNA structure which is 98 to 99% identical to humans. They have individual fingerprints, just like us, and they are considered “highly intelligent”. They can communicate through sign language and the only thing that stops them from talking is a glottic ability and social stimulation. Dian Fossey, through her brilliant research in Rwanda, from which was created the Work Gorillas in the Mist, disproved all “misconceptions and myths” about the gorillas, demonstrating that they have, just like the humans, a society where relationships between individuals and as a group prevail. This Work originated, in 1988, an extraordinary movie, where Sigourney Weaver, impersonating Dian Fossey, has an outstanding participation.

Detail about those relationships and the lost link between primates and humans are very well explained in Le Paradigme Perdu, written by Edgar Morin in 1973. This is an Anthropological study which, rather than explore the contrasts between human and animal characteristics, looks for the Man through “his multiple births, since the Origins”.

Still, in spite of this all acquired knowledge, some gorillas still live the way you see below.

What did I do to deserve this?

What did I do to deserve this?

Look at me!

I have a heart that beats

Like yours

Stronger with emotion,

Faster with fear…

I have a hand that holds

Like yours

Caresses with tenderness,

Draws with passion,

Like yours!

I have infinity in my eyes,

Dreams so wild,

Like yours;

A spark of intelligence

Like yours…

Abstract thinking

Like yours

Imagination, who knows…

Like yours.

You don’t know.

Did you ever talk to me?

You can’t understand…

Why am I not free?

I close my eyes

See the trees

So far away…

But I can’t reach!

One love,

One family

Like yours…

But I can’t see

Only the cage bars

And people looking at me

As at the strangest thing.

A toy

With no feelings.

And after all

We all know

The same Tree.

Instead of learning and appreciating all this Beauty that surrounds us, we keep locking it in cages. Why?

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The songs in the deep blue…

Posted in Nature with tags , , , , , , , on June 21, 2009 by Silvia

Did you ever see the Prince of Egypt, from Brenda Chapman and Steve Hickner? What a wonderful piece of Art, with a beautiful script, magnificent images and a moving soundtrack. Defined as a “celebration of the human spirit”, this film received several awards of the Academy and earned the status of a mark in the History of Cinema. This is the story of two brothers, separated by the destiny and the mission of their lives.

One of the most outstanding scenes is the crossing of the Red Sea, when the waters part, forming two brilliant walls and… suddenly, we see the whales coming towards the wall and slowly swimming back. The surprise in the children’s faces, the mystic of these images, the songs of the whales… Is something fascinating.


Harmony, the story of a friendly gray whale
Image by SparkyLeigh via Flickr

One day, when children of the next generations see this film or other documentaries, what will they say? “What beauty is this, that we can no longer see?”

The whale is a marvellous creature. It’s completely different from the other ones which live in the sea. Some say that in the past, its ancestors ventured on land. And, afterwards, for unknown reasons, they went back to the sea. They evolved into a cohesive society, where relationships perform an important part. Their communication system is very ellaborated and consists in a mystery that Science is trying to solve. They are intelligent, sensitive and, in my oppinion, peaceful.

The whales have a surprising bone strucure, in which the arm is similar to the human. If they could, they would hug their beloved ones as we do.

But the whales are disappearing. The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling – ICRW – was created by the UN in 1946, to avoid an undiscriminative killing, and many countries adhered to an interdiction of whaling, against the oppinions and the commercial interests. In some countries, the whales are still being hunted, on the excuse of “scientific research” and their meat appears in exquisite restaurants at an exorbitant price… The most rare species, the ones that soon we won’t be able to see anymore, are the Blue Whale and the Gray Whale.

I’ve seen once an enchanting film about a young boy, an American Indian teenager, who was travelling in a canoe through the Alaska. In his journey, when crossing a gulf, he found a whale. He respectfully asked her if he could travel across her territory. Of course she didn’t answer, but that attitude of reverence certainly shows us a way how we could live in harmony with all this beauty that fills our world. I would really like to quote the name of this film, and I’ve looked for it everywhere, but I couldn’t find it and for this I present my apologies.

These feelings, of amazement, sorrow, disappointment, and somehow an indignation shine through the words of another Brazilian gentleman, Roberto Carlos, in his song As baleias (The whales). It’s a really Rock the Cage song, destined to those who hold the power to change and to those who refuse to open their eyes; not to you, sensible souls, who praise beauty and protect Life. Stop… Listen.

It is not possible that you bear the pain
Of looking at the eyes of what dies in your hands
To see in the sea to strive the suffering
And even feel a winner at this moment

Blue Whale, Balaenoptera Musculus
Image by flickkerphotos via Flickr

It is not possible that in the deep of your chest
Your heart does not have kept tears
To spill on the spilled red
In the blue of the waters that you stained.

Your grandchildren will ask you in a few years
For the whales that crossed oceans
That they saw in old books…

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The sea in my heart

Posted in Nature, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 19, 2009 by Silvia
{{cs|Jedná se mou fotografii.
Image via Wikipedia

When anyone asks me what I miss the most about Portugal, I always reply : “The sea!”

The sea is something extraordinary. The sound of the sea, the smell of the sea, the taste of the salty water… How I miss those days when I came from work and went to the seashore, just to plunge my feet in the cold water… I didn’t even clean them afterwards, just to take a little with me when I went home. And to dive in the sea, to feel all the body involved in the water, it’s like being born again.

So many hours I stood there, sitting on a rock, contemplating the flow of the waves, and the colours  changing every moment. The sea at the sunrise is something unforgettable. There are no words to describe this marvellous sight.

Now that I’m far away, the sea fills my soul – it is a voice, allways calling. I know that the sea is beautiful everywhere, and I know that some day I will find a place where I can breathe it again. I know that there are a thousand enchanting seas I haven’t seen yet. I know that my problem is – I’m always longing for things I haven’t seen or touched.


There is a song from a Brazilian poet, Tom Jobim, Wave,  which I heard when I was a little girl, and whose words remain engraved in my mind. No-one could express better what I feel about the sea, and that’s why I’m quoting it. Translated it would be something like this:

The sea at Dawn

The sea at Dawn

“Everything else is the sea

 Things that I don’t know how to say:

Are pretty things that I have, to give you…”




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Posted in Nature, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 18, 2009 by Silvia

There are no doors to run through;

Just broken windows.

Looking for the sky...

Looking for the sky...

 One imprisoned spirit

Longing for the forest,

Wishing for freedom,

Away from “Home”,

All alone.

...there is no way out

...there is no way out

 If ever I could

Make a wish

I would ask for…



…a pair of Wings!

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Natural remedies against the Flu

Posted in Nature with tags , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2009 by Silvia
The Magnificent four, 4 you

The Magnificent four, 4 you

If you feel the symptoms of a flu, of course you need to go to your doctor. No-one can replace the action of the doctors – they have all a scientific knowledge background which allows them to very effectively strike and defeat the disease. But sometimes its not enough. Sometimes, due to the credit crunch or whatever, GPs tend to prescribe only painkillers and expect them to have good results. Sometimes they don’t care – and let me tell you that Medicine is a “sacred” profession, one to which people only should go if they are willing to embrace all Humanity. It happened to me once to go with a child to the NHS, with terrible vomiting and Diarrhoea, and the GP said, with a smile “Oh, this is nothing!” Then, I went to the Private Service and by mere coincidence I found the same Doctor, who said that the child had had a serious intoxication and prescribed remedies accordingly, this time. Nothing much.

Tree with bandaid cross on trunk

Anyway, this is not the goal of this conversation. I always thought that conventional Medicine should walk hand in hand with Phytotherapy, because this cooperation would take to improved results. And there are already many Doctors – many ones with years and years of experience, who think just like me. With this article, though, I just wanted to give you some tools – tools to fight what is coming and what is already here. Tools to protect yourselves and your beloved ones. It’s so simple and innocuous that you can’t really imagine. The natural remedies are a gift from nature, something to which everyone can accede. That’s why it is called the “Medicine of the poor”.

The human body is an amazing “machine” and it has its own defensive systems, as you know – the immune system. It is very precise and very well prepared to fight everything. You don’t want to put “poisons” in your body to kill the bacteria; then you must start from the inside, striking with natural methods the cause of the disease. Of course the immune system  needs its own reinforcements, to help it work better.

One of them, one you  would never think about – would you? – is the common cabbage, Brassica Oleracea. What an amazing vegetable! The cabbage is like a geode. When you look at it, you can’t see nothing but an average stone. If you break it, what wonders you’ll find! That’s true. The average cabbage, that you’ll find in the supermarket or in your own backyard, has more healing properties than the rarest plant that you would pay a real fortune to get. And it’s accessible to everyone. It has no secondary effects, it’s a true miracle of the nature. It gives a true boost to your health. How would you use it? Well, not everyone is able to bite and chew it.  But you can always make a nice tasty juice of it and drink it. If you don’t like the taste, add, for example, a sweet orange juice or any other favourite of yours. The main thing – don’t cook the cabbage, or you’ll destroy many of its properties.

The next one is a tough choice. It’s one very respectable bulb, the Allium Sativum, to us known as garlic. Garlic is the natural antibiotic, with a wide spectrum, able to kill including cancer cells. It’s one of the most powerful cheap natural remedies and one which, under certain circumstances, you can also recur to as much as you want. Attention! It can’t be used by who has difficulties related to the blood coagulation, or who has ulcers. The garlic cleans your veins and makes the blood more fluid. It is excellent in the prevention of heart strokes or Trombosis. It is brilliant in Arteriosclerosis. It can’t be used by who suffers of Haemophillia. The smell is dreadful, the taste is unbearable to some. All right, but its benefits are extraordinary. You don’t need to chew it; just cut it in little pieces and swallow it with water. Once more, don’t cook it – just eat it raw. Ah, did you know that the Garlic is the source of “eternal” youth?

 The next one is its “cousin”, of the same family – Lilliaceae, with a much softer and more pleasant taste and smell, the Onion. Its Latin name is Allium Cepa. It is very used in salads, sauces and dressings. Of course, if you want to use it as a remedy, you must eat it raw.  Oh, but how refreshing and pleasant to these hot days. Make a nice salad and serve it with your meat or fish. The delicious Onion brightly cleans your Respiratory system and makes it so easy for you to breathe freely, to avoid congestion in your nose and throat. 

The last, but never the least, for now, is the common grapefruit – Citrus Paradisi, also known as Pamplemossa. This is a fruit which is being researched right now and used for many healing purposes. It also has no secondary effects and you can enjoy it as much as you like. You can make beautiful fruit salads of it, juices and cakes and, while your family enjoys it, they will be reinforcing their defences and giving their bodies a strong advantage against disease. You can find it everywhere, nowadays and it’s quite cheap. It isn’t beneficial just against flu or pulmonary diseases, but it also has a very calming effect on the stomach – and many others, so many ones…

Donkey Cart

Once more, don’t make any confusion, go to your GP, insist, keep trying.  But don’t leave behind what you can do yourself for your own protection. The Herbalism doesn’t promise immediate solutions, but it guarantees long-lasting ones. And though we don’t really know yet how to deal with the Swine flu or with the Avian flu, I can tell you that these four tips will give you certainly a good advantage when facing them. And none of us has the right, in such a situation, of keeping such valuable knowledge a secret.

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Can you hear the call of Nature?

Posted in Art, Nature with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2009 by Silvia

Yesterday, my heart was full of sorrow with the injustice of this world; I suffered from disrespect and had threats – I felt like giving up. But then, I remembered the sites I used to visit when I was looking for words of wisdom – the American Indian poetry. I went back, but I’m sorry to say that I haven’t found that many and such magnificent ones as when I used to look for them – around 2000.

The American Indian poetry and songs represent a cultural riches that we can’t afford to lose. Some of the most beautiful works I know are there, rooted in an ancient culture, strongly bond with nature. It makes us travel to a world that we don’t want to see disappearing. It teaches how to respect and preserve the natural resources, to look at any rock, any tree, any drop of water, any animal, as something rare and precious. It teaches us how to remember our ancestors and how to respect our elders. I remember having read that, in some American Indian cultures, the youngsters have the responsability of taking care of the elders, and they consider it such a priviledge, because they have the opportunity of learning with them and to grow up as human beings. What a difference to our progressive cultures, where the elders are many times seen as useless burdens and are left in some forgotten places like hospitals and homes – sometimes in the streets – without proper care, waiting for the moment when death comes. Shocking? Yes. I first learned about this when I was travelling through Lisbon with some East-Timorese Sisters (dear friends) and they told me that in their country, with all the misery and the war that they endured for decades, they could never leave an elderly or a child in the streets.
The American Indian give as an example to follow, a timeless wisdom to learn from. I always had the dream of one day having the priviledge of being there, of learning from those fantastic persons who have so much to say. When I started learning Phytotherapy I had the dream of travelling around the world, talking to people who learned the secrets of nature from generation to generation and bringing their knowledge to the scientific world. How much would we gain with this research? Perhaps the answers to so many diseases that worry Humanity. I did tell you, when I was talking about the Brazilian rainforest, that the Brazilian Indian medicine men know the cure to Skin Cancer.
There are most marvellous things in this life than our tiny minds can imagine (the sentence isn’t mine and wasn’t told in these words). The answers are there, and we sometimes don’t need to go to school or University to reach the sky of greatness. To this greatness I pay my tribute and I bow and believe me, if I had the chance of doing anything to save those cultures, I would, because it is our “Home”, the cradle of Humanity.