For the last day of the mindful creative retreat, we began in Burgie Arboretum. The grass was soaked with dew and I soon regretted not bringing my wellies!
Still, fungi loves damp ground and we soon spotted one of my favourites: amethyst deceivers. These lovely mushrooms are bright purple, and in contrast to the usual rule of colourful mushrooms being inedible or even poisonous, amethyst deceivers are often foraged. Apparently they have a mildly nutty flavour and keep their bright colour when cooked.
Later in the day we explored a small loch just outside Forres. This session was my favourite of the whole retreat. I sat for hours among the Scots pines, admiring the carpet of heather and bracken.
I was treated to several wildlife encounters. A brave wren appeared only a few feet away, flashing its stubby tail. It did what wrens do best: scream and shout and stick its bum in the air! This one was great fun to photograph.
Shortly after, a brown shape caught my eye and I glanced up to see a buzzard sweeping through the trees. It perched in a very convenient gap for photos. Knowing how skittish these birds can be around people, I felt privileged to see it resting.
Finally a flash of movement on the ground caught my eye and when I eventually found it I realised it was a teeny tiny frog. The afternoon was full of surprises – while walking is a great way to encounter wildlife over distance, certain wonders just won’t happen unless you slow down to a complete stop.
Just before dinner, we gathered by the loch and did some more breath work, led by Jen. I wasn’t sure if I’d notice any changes from Monday but I could actually breathe a lot deeper than I did in the first session. I liked to think it was the calming effects of the retreat, which had turned out to be a huge success.