I open the back door each morning when I get up. One morning this week, when I opened the door, the scent of autumn met me. It is hard to describe this scent, sort of moist with a chill to it but there it was, definitely an autumn scent.
So on my next walk to the bus stop I was more observant than usual and behold, the leaves were turning, some yellow and some brown. There were nice crisp leaves on the ground too. Unfortunately the wet weather had destroyed the ripening blackberries but other berries had survived. The rose hips in my garden are ripening and will soon be ready to pick while the rowan berries are doing well too.
The landscape will be so different when the trees are bare but it will have its own beauty. There is something special about each season when it comes and I find them all equally beautiful. Autumn has such wonderful colours, reds, yellows and browns. Even the ferns turn brown and so do other plants.It will be sad to see the flowers die but then I shall be looking forward to the spring bulbs. There is always something to look forward to and hopefully in the coming couple of weeks I shall be able to visit Trentham again as well as other local nature areas. I will of course be taking lots of photos to record the changes of the seasons.
Have you seen the signs of autumn where you live?
Last week I wrote about Trentham and how much joy it gave me to walk around the estate. This week while out there a woman came by and said ‘What joy in nature there is here’. We smiled at each other in recognition of our similar thoughts and she moved on.
But then I started to think about other things that bring me joy. I am creative, I write, paint, make music and do various crafts. Creating things is a large part of my life. This week I have been creating music and photo slideshows. I learned how to do this earlier in the year but had forgotten some of the technicalities involved so another learning curve began. After some frustrating moments I did this and the following day a friend suggested I load the video to YouTube and so I learned how to do this as well. But just looking and listening to this video brings back the memories of that time in Trentham and so it brings me joy. The actual work involved also brings me joy. Here is a link to this;
But there are many other things that bring me joy like playing the piano and composing my own little pieces of music. So this is my ‘hobby’ at the moment and although I use the computer for this as well it is very satisfying to learn something new each day. The learning itself brings me joy.
My photo this week is from a series taken last year but when I look at this photo I see so much beauty that I feel joy too.
So what brings you joy?
Since moving back home I have been revisiting some of my favourite places. Some are long gone of course as this is a large area of industry and housing. But some are still there and there are also many new places to go and explore when I have the time. Derelict wasteland from industry which is now gone has often been turned into parkland.
One of the places I used to visit with my children is still there and I go there often but I have found another place to go which has exceeded my expectations. The Trentham Estate is a large commercial operation designed to attract tourists and also has a shopping village. But it is a place that never ceases to make me happy as I explore it. There is a large lake around a mile in length, there are historic gardens, woodlands and meadows, and so many places to hide from the crowds. Many things have impressed me, the way the old trees that have fallen are used from sculpture, the newly planted meadow areas and the wild flower gardens. Even the children’s area blends in with the land itself.
I have found small areas right by the lake where I can sit and watch the birds on the lake and the dragonflies and butterflies flitting around. I can walk through the woodland and see the sculptures. Then there are the fairies, a series, now sixteen in all, who sit around the estate. They are wire sculptures and can be found in unusual places. I have not yet found them all. But the peace of the lake and the ever changing sky are something I love to see. Each visit is a joy and like many others I purchased an annual ticket as the only day the estate is closed is Christmas Day.
The river runs alongside the lake and there are otters here but I have not seen them yet. There is a hide where you can sit and wait for them to appear. There are many varieties of ducks as well as swans and herons. A small island is the home for the herons. For me this is a wonderful experience enabling me to be at one with the landscape around me and I treasure it. I hope it will be there for ever.
What I am writing about this morning is something I have been thinking about for some time. I am a Druid and work alone as there are no Groves nearby. Most druids and many pagans celebrate the eight festivals of the wheel of the year. I always did this in the past but recently I have not been doing this as I feel that I celebrate the changing of the seasons in other ways.
As our climate is changing I sometimes think that celebrating on specific dates is not quite right. I spend a lot of time in nature and I notice when the seasons change and acknowledge this, sometimes by pausing and saying a few words and sometimes by just pausing for a brief moment of silence. For me this is more important than ‘doing’ a ceremony which can sometimes feel a bit false. I don’t need the candles, incense and other tools of ritual in order to acknowledge and give thanks for the changes in nature. I feel that I live each day as a druid and to me that is more important than a ceremony to recognise the changing of the seasons.
I have seen and been a part of many ceremonies which turned into theatrical performances. If you like that kind of ceremony then that is fine but it is not for me. Lughnasadh has just passed and I have already noticed the brown leaves on the ground, the elderberries, blackberries and rosehips as well as the reddening rowan berries which signify the coming of autumn. I have paused in my walks, touched these berries and given thanks for them. Need I do more?
I am sure that many of my readers will think differently but I would like to know your thoughts so please comment and enjoy your days in nature.
I have just spent a weekend away and in the village where I stayed, it was Open Gardens weekend. I love gardens so here was a chance to see what the gardens of other people were like. I visited twelve of these gardens and they were all so different. Much depended on the shape of the garden and its surroundings but it was so interesting to see what could be done with a little bit of imagination both in small and large gardens.
There were Buddhas, wooden toadstools and quiet zen like corners in many gardens but also seen were various cats basking in the sun and in one garden there were horses close by. Some gardens had views over the open countryside while others were enclosed by hedge and fences. But what a variety and what colours there were. Although there were many people going around these gardens there was often a feeling of peace and many had seats that you could sit on and reflect on your surroundings.
Do you have a garden? Is it quiet and peaceful? I ‘d love to hear about your gardens. Here is a photos from one of those I visited. There are many others on my Facebook page.