Patricia McCalden moved to next door to The Glen Nature Reserve in Craven in 1966.
For years, she lived surrounded by nature, singing birds and babbling brooks, spending hours wandering around, enjoying the environment. She grew a connection with the property and the wildlife that lived within it.
About two years ago, she decided to put pen to paper and capture the heart of the environment around her, writing poems about the birds.
“I’d do the poem thinking about the personality of the bird,” she explained. “It’s characteristics.”
Then she would sketch the bird, trying to capture the essence of the poem, bringing the bird to life in an illustration.
Patricia began writing poetry as a teenager and since joining the Gloucester Writers Group, she reinvigorated her creative side.
“It’s a good opportunity to share your work and get feedback, “ she said.
It also helped her push forward with the idea of self-publishing the poems together with the illustrations. Recently, after moving off the property 12 months ago, she had the collection printed and has put them on sale at the Gloucester Bookshop for $10.
“I wanted to share it,” Patricia said.
She also wanted to preserve it, having been in the area when the Stratford mine began.
“The mine opening nearby makes you think about how precious the wildlife and natural environment is.”
She said it’s a good book for adults to read to children.
She also working on a collection of essays about things that occurred while she lived on the property.