Nature – observing and being aware

We all seem to have busy lives and we rush from one place to another so that we can do all the things we think we have to do. But we miss so much. I watched a mother hurry her child across the footbridge over the local stream because she wanted to get home quickly. The child wanted to see if there were ducks or fish in the stream, but did not get the chance to stop and look. If we don’t give our children the chance to observe nature how can we expect them to respect it later on in their lives?

The bridge over the stream is a short cut for children going to and from school and people going to work or to the shops. In the last year I have only seen two parents stop and let their children look at the stream. One mother brought her child especially to feed the ducks.

I often stop and watch when crossing the bridge. I have seen the stream in full flood with muddy swirling water rushing past almost as high as the bridge. One side of the bridge looks upstream to a tiny waterfall. The other side, the stream goes between tall buildings close to the edge of the banks. But here there are buddleias and a small elder tree. There are lots of little inlets where ducks can hide and lots of large stones which can hide various larva such as that of the caddis fly. I saw a kingfisher earlier this year and my son saw one last weekend. I remember standing still to watch the kingfisher and is seems that he was very aware of me. When I blinked, he moved and was gone. How did he know when to go?

There are plenty of tiny fish in the stream and when you ‘tune’ in to the water you can see them clearly. It can be a magical place despite the buildings and the factory car park but there is no access down to the stream. Perhaps this is a good thing as it prevents human damage to the unique habitats within the stream. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of this stream but I will show you another photo of the country park where the stream has its source and after the heavy rains.

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Autumn Equinox

The equinox is the time of equal night and day, equal dark and light. It is the time of the final harvest, the hedgerow fruits, nuts and berries. It is also the time when we give thanks for the Spring and Summer times when we were able to sow and reap not only foods but other things like our creativity and knowledge. We can look back at what we have achieved over the last 6 months and give thanks for this. But it is also the time when we start to look inwards to the darker days and longer nights, when we can rest more to let our new knowledge be assimilated. It is then a time to replenish our energy and look at our spiritual needs.

But it is now when we can admire and wonder at the colours that nature provides, the wonderful reds, oranges and browns of the leaves, the silver webs of the spiders as the frost highlights them. I love this time of the year with the crisp mornings and the colours but for many it heralds a time when they fear the winter because of the cold and the weather. The elderly especially are unable to get out and about and need friends to help them achieve their daily needs. This is where community comes in, something we seem to have lost but hopefully as we become more aware of how our world should really be, then problems such as these will no longer be there. Enjoy this time of year but also think of others and help where you can.

The photo today was taken in the US several years ago. The birch tree outlined against the autumn colours, having already lost its leaves.

Landscapes

This week I have been watching the Tour of Britain cycle race on the TV. I love the views from the helicopter looking out over the landscape. Thursday’s stage was in what I call my home area, beautiful moorlands, rocky outcrops, hills and dales and water. This landscape calls to me strongly and it is hard to describe my feelings as I view it from afar. The memories of cycling, walking and driving in that area abound as do the feelings of oneness with it all.

There are other areas which call to me as well, the mountains of Snowdonia, the Lakeland fells, the sea especially when it is rough and full of energy. But all of our land is wonderful, even the cities with their small areas of parkland. What is it about the landscape that calls to me? How do you feel about it and what types of landscape call to you the most? All land is sacred and even though I am only viewing from afar I can still feel that connection to it and feel its sacredness. The feeling of being One with the earth is very strong. Tell me how you feel about your landscape.

This week I am adding a sketch I made in 1973 of one of the rocky outcrops known as Hen Cloud.

Groves of trees

I have been a member of the Woodland Trust for quite some time now. When I have had a bit of spare money I have dedicated trees or sponsored trees to be planted. I started by dedicating one tree, then later I sponsored the planting of a small grove of 20 trees. I have also helped the Trust to purchase land for woodland.

I have not been able to visit my grove of 20 trees for some years now so I asked my friend Simon who lives near the grove, to visit and take some photos. This he did and his photos are splendid. The trees have grown somewhat over the last 8 or 9 years and it gives me great pleasure to see them like this, even if only on a photo. We cannot live without trees and it is sad that so many are being cut down to make way for buildings, mining and other things. The Woodland Trust is cheap to join and a few pounds each month keep it going, planting trees for our enjoyment and for our continued life on this planet. I consider my money well spent!  Walking amongst trees can be a very meditative experience, bringing peace and healing to those who walk there.

Enjoy the two following photos.

Autumn

A definite feel of Autumn in the air. Chilly mornings, darker mornings and darker earlier in the evenings. A slight touch of frost the other morning. I love this kind of day when nature can be seen at what I feel is its best, the colours of the leaves as they change each day, the clusters of berries ripening on the trees and hedgerows, and the dewy sight of spiders webs.

Summer is officially over and it is time now to look at what we have already harvested in our lives and what is left to harvest. It is a time of gratitude for all we have received whatever this is, friendship, food, healing, creativity and many other things I am sure you can think of. We are moving towards the Equinox when day and night are equal and we need to take time to look at what we have achieved too reflecting on this and seeing what we need to change in the future.

This weeks photo was taken some years ago in a small park in the town of Leicester just as the leaves were starting to change colour.