Terra firma no more?

Firm ground. The firm ground of our earth although it’s spinning gaily in space. Possibly nothing has so many different forms, colours, textures and designs as our terra firma.

And what do we mean by firm. As every gardener knows earth comes in many guises from sandy to claggy, rocky to marshy, poor to rich, the beige white of sandy soil, the red of the iron rich, to the almost black of peaty, and every shade in between.

Still in the natural category but more decorative our feet crunch on gravel,

gravel designs

A design with different gravels

we like to sunbathe and walk on sand, shells, rocks.

A sea of shells

A sea of shells

Red rocks  and sea

The Berwickshire coast, Scotland

We tread the springiness of grass, lichens and mosses, the pine-needled, leaf strewn, cone

Horses enjoy the Berwickshire hills

Horses enjoy the Berwickshire hills

Rocks, heather and sea

Rocks, heather and sea

embroidered floors of woodland with their sharp pine or pungent earthy smells. Out of the brightness of day, a world of quiet rustles and bird squawks thrives, a world where damp and intermittent sun breeds mushrooms, toadstools, weird fruiting bodies and bright patterns on tree bark.






Apart from natural mother earth we have manmade firm ground. Necessary structures like piers, bridges and walkways for access, utilitarian wooden structures and architectural boardwalks,

Boardwalk, The Algarve, Portugal

Boardwalk, The Algarve, Portugal

An Argyll hillside

An Argyll hillside

St Abbs Harbour, Berwickshire, Scotland

St Abbs Harbour, Berwickshire, Scotland

brutal concrete bastions to resist the power of the sea, or the decorative pattern of paving to enhance our strolls or shopping experiences, much more conducive to lingering than bland areas of pavement or tarmacadam.

Decorative paving in the Algarve, Portugal

Decorative paving in the Algarve, Portugal


A wonderful street in southern Spain

A wonderful street in southern Spain

Paving patterns

Southern Spain delights in its paving patterns






Zig zag paving pattern

Zig zag paving pattern in southern Spain

Paving and seating

Paving combined with seating in Tavira, The Algarve, Portugal

Chess large scale

Who says paving can’t be fun?

Some paved areas are modern, others are the restored cobbles of the Victorian era and before, yet others have existed for nearly two millennia. Mosaic floors from Roman villas tell us much about the lives, looks and preferences of those who lived before us on the terra firma of Earth.

Mosaic floor detail

Detail from a mosaic floor removed from a Roman villa to Faro Museum, Portugal

In our buildings beaten earth floors, with or without the addition of stone or slate slabs, have long since given way to wood and concrete. In homes these are usually covered with carpets and rugs to soften and add warmth. But in some buildings wood still holds sway, its resilience in demand on dance floors and stages where terra firma needs a spring to enliven steps.


Dancers with a spring in their step

So many different materials, textures and patterns for us to walk over, litter, deface, destroy.

The Mayan civilization existed from 250-900 AD on terra firma now called southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador with part of Honduras. Archaeologists have deciphered stones on which Mayan calendars are incised. The Mayans were highly knowledgeable astronomers who recorded the night skies, their records enabling them to predict with great accuracy future astronomical cycles. One of their calendars, according to some doom mongers, predicts that on 21st December 2012, the date of our northern hemisphere winter solstice, terrible catastrophes will befall to bring about the end of the world as we know it. Terra firma no more.

So between now and that impending demise, which most scientists assure us is only the fantasy of conspiracy theorists, perhaps we should nevertheless take a little time to appreciate the wonders and the beauty of the terra firma we walk on.






About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Terra firma no more?

  1. mamacormier says:

    I will pay more attention to the ‘terra firma’ that I walk on from here on in. Great post!

    • I think one of the great benefits of taking lots of photos is that you see things you would miss otherwise and you’re always on the lookout for different angles and perspectives.

  2. Rita Kay says:

    As always your photos are beautiful !!! I almost forgot what the Mayan’s predicted; it will be interesting to see what’s going to happen. Personally I think the Mayans got tired or maybe just bored with doing the calendar that’s why they stopped when they did. You never know, only time will tell.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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