Friday, 6 April 2012

The Magic Chalkboard.

The Coatal Path, May Blossom.

I have no new artwork so today I am only posting on this one blog.  We have a saying in Scotland, “Ne’r cast a clout till Mays oot,”  translated it means do not cast off winter clothes until the  may blossom is in bloom. There has always been an argument that the May refers to the to the month of May , but I feel strongly that it means the blossom of the hawthorn bush called may blossom.

The other day there I walked along the coastal path. There is a part just at the end of the beach where the path winds up through bushes, at one point making an arch over the track. The bushes are hawthorn and were in full bloom. As I walked under , and again ran under it the next morning the aroma of blossom was amazing. Such a joy after the heartache of seeing that the group of young people I had seen pitching a tent on the edge of the beach had gone leaving all the empty booze bottles and other rubbish on the beach for others like myself to gather and deposit in the nearby bin.

Thus reminded me of the simple story of the magic chalkboard.

Once upon a time a boy was walking through a little forest when he found a big chalkboard hanging on an old tree trunk. It came complete with a box of chalk pieces, and bright sparks were flying from the tips of every piece of chalk. The boy took a piece of chalk and started to draw on the board: first a tree, then a rabbit, then a flower...
Magically, whenever he finished a figure it came to life and jumped out of the board. Before long, the place had become a wonderfully green and fertile forest, full of animals happily playing.
Excited, the boy also drew his parents and brothers and sisters enjoying a picnic, with their sandwiches and cold meats. He also drew the paper plates and the empty tins of sardines left on the ground, which always happened on their picnics. But when these bits of litter came to life something awful happened: around every paper plate and every empty tin, the forest turned grey, and this greyness started quickly spreading everywhere: to the grass, to the flowers, to the animals... The boy realised the litter was to blame for all the greyness, so he ran through the forest with the chalkboard rubber in his hand to rub them out wherever they had landed.
He was lucky. He was quick, and didn't leave a single piece of litter. The forest and its animals managed to recover, and they played together for the rest of the day.
The boy never again saw that chalkboard, but now, every time he goes to the countryside with his family, he remembers that adventure and is the first to pick up any litter. And he is sure to remind the others that anything left lying in the woods can do more damage to the animals than they ever would have suspected.

It never fails to amaze me that an empty bottle that was carried to a place full is too heavy to carry back. 


  1. Good Morning Ralph! It is amazing how there is liter all over the world and it is so easy to trash this beautiful planet. I am not sure that I blame it all on the young though; they get their ideas from their elders. Difficult to justify the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and there is an "island of plastic" larger than Texas between the Oregon Coast and Hawaii. In the "old days" we used to have "Do Not Liter" signs on all of our highways and a big campaign
    to "Keep Oregon Green". These signs are all gone now. We have to money to care. Texas has a nice slogan and a keep it clean program: "Don't Mess with Texas"

  2. I agree is awful for people to leave any garbage anywhere! The photo of the path is lovely!

  3. when I was growing up..we were always admonished not to litter, and Ohio had strict laws too..but seems no one really cares. Even outside my studio door..I find collections of cigarette butts. I left a sign asking the perpetrators to just pop them in the bin..right there but when I came back a week later my sign was gone and the butts had multiplied...sigh.

  4. Good story Ralph, I despise litter. Whether on a path, roadway, or in our lives.. BJ

  5. I have never heard that story, but it is great! I can just imagine the little boy running around trying to contain his litter.