The arrival of Summer

I am being hopeful that summer has now arrived. It is much warmer and the sun is shining but for how long? However what really gives me so much joy and great pleasure is the amount of green I can see. There are so many trees around me, not all the same as some have yet to wear their full summer clothes, but some are hawthorn and the scent is amazing.

Each day I try to walk for at least a mile going around the different roads so I can see different views. It is hilly here so you can see quite a distance from certain places. Of course, the trees obscure some views now but I love to look at the trees. Yesterday I walked along a road with many different trees in gardens and some beautiful flowers too. It is so colourful, rainbow colours of every hue and so beautiful to see.

One day in the week I spent an hour just sitting and contemplating in a small area of park. I watched the ducklings move around from one side of the pond to the other and saw them being shooed away by their parents who were trying to help them to become independent. It was peaceful, calm and had this sense of renewal too. I am going to try to visit this place at least once a week.

Also nearby is a small patch of wildflower ground amongst some trees. This week the cow parsley is taking over so I shall keep an eye out for the butterflies that love this plant. So much to see, so much to enjoy. What a wonderful life!

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Being true to yourself

Being true to yourself is something that has cropped up quite a bit this week. When thinking about this some words kept popping into my head from a poem by John Clare; ‘I am – yet what I am yet none cares or knows’. These words and the rest of the poem used to be stuck to a board on the wall many years ago. But today the words ‘I am’ mean something different.

I am what I am and hopefully I stay true to this. I know that from my childhood I have always felt different from others and went my own way much to the disgust of my mother. But how do we stay true to who we really are? In my young days it was easier to do this. The only pressure on you was from your parents and family and your peers. TV was in its early years and advertising was mainly on hoardings and buses and other transport.

Today we are bombarded with advertising telling us to look like this, eat this, do this and so on. .We see children and teenagers wanting what their friends have even if their parents cannot afford to buy these items. They feel they want to be the same as others. But it is not a crime to feel different. When my children were teenagers I said that there was nothing wrong with wanting to be different from the rest of their class mates or wanting to do different things. I remember my daughter wanting to know why I could not wear the same kind of clothes that the other mothers wore and my answer that I wore the clothes that I liked and not what others wanted me to wear.

As a teacher clothes were important in that I could not wear trousers only skirts or dresses which are definitely not me. However over the years the rules were relaxed and once I was established as a good teacher I often was allowed to wear trousers as long as they were not jeans.From the newspapers last week I see that certain standards of dress are still important but should they be? If you are clean and tidy does what you wear matter? What I wear reflects who I am and what I do and think. For me it is who I am and what I do that is important not what I wear. I try to be true to myself and live the way I believe is right for me. I try to stay true to my ideals and who I know I am. If others don’t like it, then tough, that is their problem not mine.

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Friendship today

Has social media changed our ideas of friendship I wonder? You can click on a button and be friends with someone you have possibly never met. So why do we do this? For me being friends with someone means that we have things in common, we share things and we respect each others opinions even if we disagree. We also trust each other and when things go wrong we are there for each other to support and help out.

But I feel that we have different types of friends, we have close friends, friends we share hobbies with or go out with, and friends that I would really call acquaintances, that is, those who we may meet on the street and exchange comments about the weather or whatever but not people we really know. But is friendship a two way relationship? Or does one friend do all the giving and the other one do all the taking? Is this friendship?

Do we have to work at friendship, trying to keep the relationship going when things get rough and we feel out of our depth? If you haven’t heard from a friend for some time, do you pick up the phone ad ring them or do you wait until it is too late to do something? Are you the friend who always phones or writes letters or sends messages? Or do you and your friend phone, message and text each other in equal measure?

How do you value your friendships? There is so much to discuss here that I am now leaving it up to you to think about it and send me your comments. Reading my words this morning I see I have asked rather a lot of questions. The person sitting on the bench in my photo is a sculpture!

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Joy

So what does joy mean to you? For me it is a deep feeling of happiness and great pleasure. I have been having this feeling rather a lot since my move and it has to be something to do with my surroundings which are much different from where I lived before.

My surroundings are urban but there is so much green around too. One small thing which gives me joy is my walk down the hill to the retail park. I live in a street which has several other streets running parallel to it but with a street running across the top end joining them together apart from one street. This is linked by a path  across a small piece of land with trees and grass. There is a small group of trees, some currently full of blossom and daffodils, tulips  and now bluebells are opening up in the sunshine. I like to stop and admire this small plot of land every time I go that way. It brings me joy just to stand there and breathe in the scent of nature.

Following the path downhill I see willows and alder as well as other shrubs like brambles and a couple of small birches. At the bottom of the hill the retail park is edged with trees now all becoming green. They block out the traffic noise of the dual carriageway but they also give me joy as I have watched them start to awaken to the sunshine.

I suppose that I am a druid who is very much a part of nature. I love to just stand there and ‘be’,  listening, admiring and being at one with all that is around me. I don’t need to dress up to do this, I’d rather blend in with the land anyway so I really seem a part of it. My photo today is of the bluebells at the end of the street in that small plot of land.bluebells

So what brings you joy?

May is here

Although the calendar tells me it is the 1st of May I am not so sure about the weather. We have had snow, hail, a mini tornado and heavy rain together with a bitterly cold wind this last week. I feel sorry for the birds who have hatchlings, the butterflies and other insects who now find it too cold to survive and the trees just coming into bud where some leaves have now frizzled up with the cold wind.

This happened earlier in the year. December and January were mild until the last ten days or so in January when we had heavy frosts which killed off a lot of sprouting leaves and plant shoots. Yet nature carries on and recovers albeit slowly. Once it gets warm I hope to see lovely blossoms and bright flowers attracting the bees and butterflies. My forsythia is in full bloom now but much later than it should be.

One thing I noticed this week when I went into the gardens in town was a notice about bees and a bee friendly flower bed. Someone else told me that this is normal for our council and for me I find it a very positive outlook for a change. Now is the time to make sure our gardens attract wild life of all kinds so they stay with us and do not die out. Is your garden friendly towards wild life? Do you plant bee friendly flowers and shrubs?

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