As current restrictions start to lift, it is time to move forward towards a new way of living. There are many who are frightened of being able to go out, to shop, to walk, to dine out or go to the gym. They have spent a year or more cocooned in their homes, often without any face-to-face contact with others.
Although Zoom, video calls and similar stuff are available to some, they are not available to all, and they are not the same as seeing someone in person. But for many others such things have given them a chance to talk to others and see them from a distance. But the main thing for many is that they have been given a chance to reflect on their lives and the way they live them. Many have decided to live in different ways, to be more careful about what they buy and have also decided that what they want and what they need are two different things. If we only bought what we needed then there would be less waste and landfill. There are many arguments about buying organic clothing or clothing made from recycled fibres as they tend to cost more but they generally last much longer. Buying organic food is also good but again generally costs more. But what is your health worth to you?
So now here we are, emerging from this long period of restrictions on our lives. I know that my life has changed very little although I am much more appreciative about being able to get outdoors with my son as I can’t go with friends yet. I do not drive which does not help so I can also feel for those in similar positions. However I have managed to get out to local areas of nature reserves and country parks and have walked (with my crutch) and sat and enjoyed the peace of the water and the joy of the birdsong and watched the seasons change. Everywhere is now much greener than it was a few weeks ago. To be outside in the open air is so beneficial and to hug a tree is also a most wonderful thing to do.
So as we emerge from this period of dark, let us stride forward, stretch our legs and minds and breathe deeply of the air around us and work towards a better way of life for us all.
I spend some time every week out in a nature reserve somewhere with my son and there is always something that fascinates me. This week it was the Brimstone butterfly. I have known for some time that it lays its eggs in buckthorn. We were watching a female brimstone on Thursday fluttering around the hedge in a local reserve. It went from one to another then found one to settle on and lay an egg. She flew off and flew around before coming back to another similar branch of buckthorn. Now what fascinates me is this – how did she know which branches were buckthorn? Does the branch exude some kind of smell or what?
There are other things about nature that have happened recently, like the frogs and toads going back to where they were spawned. How do they know where to go? We, so-called superior beings, have to use maps or a Satnav to find places yet the humble toad and frog head off crossing roads and fields to get back to where they were born.
In the summer I spend hours watching dragonflies and damselflies during their mating dances and the laying of eggs. I have watched the birds displaying their mating dances too. How fascinating is all of this. They do these things naturally and know what to do and when. How clever they are. We do not understand a lot about our natural world but it fascinates me whether I understand it or not. I feel that we underestimate what animals, birds and insects can do. Photo taken by my son who has given his permission for me to use it here.
The last couple of weeks have had a lot of niggly things to sort out and have brought up a lot of questions in my mind. I got very frustrated on a couple or more days when I could not get answers from organisatiosn and officialdom. As I think of myself as a spiritual person and a Reiki practioner then getting frustrated should be a no-no. But after all I am a spiritual being living in a human body so can only expect to have human feelings at times.
So a few questions that have come to mind;
Why do we believe everything we see, hear and read about?
Can we not think for ourselves?
Are we unable to read between the lines and see when people are telling us the truth?
Why do we obey without any thought as to what we are doing?
Mantras are powerful and we have been given a lot of those over the last year. Do we realise what is being done here?
What is currently going on in our world has been in the pipeline for a long time and is reaching its final days. Are we allowing what has been planned to happen or are we going to make changes for ourselves and others?
Do we want to be people who do as they are told, without any thought to what we are doing or do we think about what we are being asked to do and protest if we feel it is wrong?
Are we too lazy to do our research and vote for the right people not those who will get richer at our expense?
Do we want our world to be a better place for all or for just a few?
Remember we all come from the same source whatever colour or beliefs we have now.
I feel blessed this morning. Although it is cold and frosty, the sky is blue and the sun is shining. I watched the squirrels scampering about in the garden and the blackbirds digging for worms. It was such a joyful experience and I feel truly blessed by this.
Despite the restrictions still in place I took a blood test the other day and then broke my already broken tooth in half. I need to now find a dentist but after I got home that day I discovered that the gardener for this place had made me a small garden patch of my own on a corner of an existing lawn. I can see this small patch of garden from my kitchen window and I am quite excited at the thought of what kind of plants to put there. My son will help with this of course as he is busy growing many plants from seed but they will not be ready to plant out for another couple of weeks at least. But another thing to feel blessed for.
My son is also taking me on one day a week to explore the local environment. There is a lot to see around here on the many lakes formed by old gravel pits and also by the river. This week we explored another one of these nature reserves and after a muddy start the walk was very enjoyable. Lots of fungi and the sighting of a great crested grebe on the water. Another thing to be grateful for and feel blessed.
I love jigsaws as I find them calming and meditative in some way. This week I am grateful for the large pile of jigsaws in the residents lounge which I can borrow and then replace. So a week of feeling blessed and many feelings of gratitude.
Yesterday a post on social media caught my eye. It said something about expectations; ‘Don’t expect anything in life. Expectations hurt a lot. When you don’t expect, every moment is a surprise and surprises bring happiness.’ So is this true? Some years ago I wrote about expectation in this blog and I am reposting an edited version here.
Some time ago I saw some words which resonated with me in a big way. The words were ‘The expectations of others were the bars I used for my own cage’ We all expect things of others but how much should this affect our lives. As a child my mother had great expectations of me. I was expected to do well at the things she missed out on like going to the grammar school then on to university, etc. Unfortunately I did not go to university straight after school as I was unable to take the A level subjects I wanted to do. So I left school and got a job. For the rest of my life I had to endure my mother complaining that I had not done what I should have done with my life and that I had let her down.
Luckily for me I was strong enough to find my own way in life and do what I wished to do so my life was mine and I was not living the life she had wanted for herself. How much do others expectations affect our lives? Do we do what others want us to do to keep the peace? Or do we strike out on our own? How many people do you know who live their lives according to the wishes of others but are not happy? What is most important, to be ourselves or to be the person other people would like us to be? I have always tried to be true to myself, to follow my heart and to do what I feel is most important to me. This did and still does not go down well with some people I know. I remember saying to my children when they were in their early teens that it was not a crime to be different. They did not have to do what everyone else did if they did not want to.
So here I am, eighty in a couple of months, writing blogs and researching local and family history, creating wall hangings and other art work and being just who I want to be without interference from others. Is this wrong?
A final note; I have been out visiting a fairly local nature reserve the last couple of weeks. It is over a year since I last went there and was unsure what to expect. (That word expect again!) But I kept an open mind and knowing that spring was on the way I knew that there would be things to see. I was not disappointed and saw more than I thought I would.
This week I spent some time thinking about the weather sayings that we use. Things like March winds and April showers,and another one about March roaring in like a lion and going out like a lamb. There are sayings about the sunrise and sunset too. Red sky at night shepherds delight and red sky in the morning shepherds warning. The one I think about most and always look for the signs is Oak before ash means a splash while Ash before Oak means a soak. Another one that comes to mind is rain before 7, fine at 11.
There are many of these sayings and I often wonder how many are true or are they just something passed down through the generations. Like any other statement in the public view I try to observe to find out if it is true. Did the ancient ones watch the sky and see what colour the sunrise was and then plan their day accordingly? Did they follow the movements of the Moon as many do today before planting seeds and also doing other things?
As we see the press of today with their fake news and lies about people and what they do, it is important to look for the truth that is out there. Maybe that is why some of us look back at these sayings as there are many that do not have anything to do with the weather or the moon.Finding the truth is so important and often it is hidden away behind layers of lies and distortions.
I am finding more and more that being out in the natural world helps me to deal with the lies and distortions of the truth. Nature does not lie and gives me hope. I managed another trip out this week to a nearby nature reserve, a different one than the week before. It was good just to be out there , to see the new growth around me and to know that life goes on whatever we throw at it.
What a busy weekend this has been and a busy week as well. But the Equinox has passed and the days will get warmer and lighter. I love this time of the year as Spring shows its head among the grasses and trees. The catkins are doing well and the blackthorn blossom is stunning and it is noticeably warmer when the sun is out.
The UK census came today as well. I filled mine in yesterday but won’t be around to see what everyone else has written. As a family historian I love the census and am waiting for the 1921 census to come on-line next year. The census is a snapshot of life at one point in every ten years and we can see how life has changed for everybody. For many this last year has changed their lives dramatically and their lives may never be the same again.
But back to Spring. I was lucky this week to get my first walk in my new area. My son and I went to a nearby village where there is a nature reserve around a large lake. It was muddy and there was the occasional spot of rain but it was wonderful to be out in nature again after a gap of several weeks. There was so much to see, flowers, catkins, birds of various kinds and to just enjoy the scenery. It was peaceful too and I found myself being refreshed on all levels. There are many lakes in this area, old gravel pits but there are still working gravel pits as well. It is also an area of great archaeological interest too. I am looking forward to more forays out there when permitted by the restrictions.
There is much to look forward to despite the current situation and looking forward and being positive is important to our health. Stay safe and enjoy the wonder of Springtime.
I am settling in to my new home now although there is still a lot to do and to sort out. But I have had time this week to sit and reflect and to look out through the window. I am on the first floor which I have always felt gives me a better view.
So sitting in the kitchen and looking out through the window gives me a view down to the end of the garden and the stream. Taking a walk down there one day, I noticed the buds on the shrubs and birds chasing each other in the trees. The stream is running fast and has great promise for dragonflies later on in the year.
Looking through the living area window gives a different view as it overlooks a main road which is quite busy. I am a people watcher and this week I have seen the children walking to school and those waiting for the bus to go to college or work. I see older men walking dogs, most of the dogs being quite small.
On the other side of the road is a large fairly modern detached house and next to that on one side is a modern bungalow. On the other side of the detached house is a row of old terraced houses. Going past there one day I noticed in the stone wall, the remnants of an old water pump which gives some idea of the age of the cottages.
The detached house has two very tall chimneys and this week I have watched the mating rituals of what I think are crows, they are too large for starlings or blackbirds. The crows seem to be building a nest in the chimney pot. In the grounds of the bungalow by the high fence are a couple of shrubs. One looks like some kind of tall grass and the other is currently a mass of brown stalks. Each afternoon along come a lot of small birds who are obviously enjoying the food from these two shrubs. Last night I watched a large bird siting at the top of a birch tree in a garden behind the cottages. It was there for ages and I did wonder if it was a bird of prey. I shall have to get some binoculars i think.
So lots of observations but what of my thoughts. I have discovered that I no longer feel isolated away from the world. In my previous home, I saw no-one unless I went out and stood at the gate and then you often saw no-one anyway. Here there is a constant flow of people and traffic and I no longer feel alone even though I am not speaking to them. It has made me realise just how insular and depressed I was getting before I moved here and although I miss my garden, I am finding other things to replace it. The natural world is everywhere.
I moved house in Wednesday so I am in a new place where there are new people, new shops, and a new garden area. As usual there have been a few hiccups on the way as things seem lost although packed with care and boxes are too heavy for me to handle. But I have found a shop across the road where I get my daily newspaper which means I walk outside in the fresh air and also up and down the stairs if I wish to do so. I have found other new shops and new people in the housing complex where I now live. There is a stream at the bottom of the garden area and I have already seen lots of birds and squirrels. I hope to spend time in the summer sitting on one of the many wooden benches and watching for butterflies and dragonflies. I am sure there will be plenty.
And when we are able to get out and about more then I have a huge lake area not far away with several nature reserves close by as well. The bus stops outside my home so I will be able to get to other places as well.
There have been several good moments to but these are private and not for public viewing but my friends are still giving me support for what I am doing even though they are now further away. It will take at least another 2 weeks before I feel as if everything is unpacked and in its place but I am being patient and doing other things too.
A new home, A new sky, A new landscape, And new friends. There is a lot to look forward to.
I feel inspired by all this, I will write more, I will play music more, I will learn more And I will just be.
I am rather exhausted as I am packing boxes to move house. Books on shelves take up more space when in boxes and I feel that once it all goes into my new house I will not be able to move for boxes.
However, the current weather of sunshine and frosty mornings makes me feel better. There is a warmth to the sun and it gets stronger each day. So here is a poem I wrote some years ago.
Ode to a Spring Sun Watching the sun rise over the hill, Bringing another day; Warming the Earth, helping the land, Bringing new life awake. Birds are singing in the trees, Buds are bursting out, Green shoots appear on the brown earth, Feeling the warmth of the sun. Watching the catkins dance in the breeze, Welcoming the sun, Wonderful sun, warming the earth, Bringing new life awake.