The clocks have changed here in the UK and the nights are longer and the hours of daylight shorter. For druids this is the time when we think about our ancestors, honour them and remember them. This year I shall also be remembering many others; those who gave their lives in wartime and those who have died all over the world through the pandemic.
As I do a lot of family history research I am very familiar with my ancestors and those of others who I have helped with their family history. I have spent a lot of time looking back at how my ancestors lived through times of war, times of civil unrest and times of poverty. The ancestors all had one thing in common, they were strong and were survivors working hard to survive in a world where much was unknown.
Its a bit like times today of course where the future is unknown due to the pandemic and we can learn from our ancestors and draw on their strength. I look back at my parents and grandparents and see how strong they were living their lives as best they could through two world wars and an economic depression. Further back it was much the same, the women tending to live longer too.
One thing I find is good to think about, is the fact that I inherit a lot from them as well as also taking on board their things that need healing. Current research shows that we carry with us not just the genetic stuff but the emotional stuff too. So I not only honour my ancestors but I try to heal those distant emotional things that need healing too.
So when you honour your ancestors think about what they have given you and what you can do to help heal those things from the past. Also think about how they managed working long hours with no convenient microwaves and technology that we take for granted today. But remember they survived when many of us give up.
This follows on from last week. It is getting a bit like a diary! Most people go for a walk at some point during their week but many just walk often with their heads down or eyes glued to their phone. But what wonderful things they miss. But looking can start nearer home in the garden or grass verges if you don’t have a garden. I would not have known I had a visiting hedgehog if I had not looked at the garden area and seen hedgehog poop. He or she now visits every night to eat the food left out for him or her.
Out with my son on Thursday, me on my mobility scooter and he walking as normal, we went to the local country park. Going past a clump of trees we could see a dragonfly on the tree trunk basking in the sun. Then later on another dragonfly on a post. From that point we went down to an area where we have seen dragonflies before and there were three large ones flying around. We stopped and waited for one to land so we could take a photo. Two young women came by with a pushchair and looked at us as if to ask what we were doing. I pointed out the dragonflies overhead and they too stopped to watch the aerial display going on above their heads. We saw several more dragonflies on the way back and quite a few wild flowers still blooming despite the colder weather. The trees were starting to change colour but the vibrant golds and browns had still not appeared until we reached two copper beeches at the end of my road. They were a beautiful vibrant red .
The following day a friend came for a quick visit and expressed an interest in fungi. I took her into the garden where I knew there were lots of different fungi. We found at least six different types, some so tiny they could easily have been missed. Under the strawberry tree were three different kinds of fungi and a lot of them as well. The fungi ranged from tiny ones, less than a centimetre in diameter and height to large ones about 6 centimetres in diameter. The photo that goes with this blog post shows fungi which are almost transparent and they were about 2 centimetres in diameter although there were some even smaller. I have even see them growing between the paving stones. So when out for a walk look around you to find the beauty out there. Other peoples gardens are often wonderful to see.
If you live in an area where there are a lot of restrictions you might be finding it hard to see what is good in your life. But there is so much out there that we can be grateful for and that are good. After a couple of weeks of illness I was looking forward to feeling better and I am gradually getting there but I have found much to bring me joy.
One thing that makes me feel really happy is that a hedgehog has started to use my garden and has found the food I left for him or her. Then this morning I watched the sun shining on the yellowing leaves of a neighbours tree. That is a beautiful thing in the morning and also gave me joy. We have had a lot of rain recently but I love to see the raindrops hanging from the washing line and on the leaves when the rain has stopped. They make the flowers look beautiful too. I have been able to start knitting and sewing again and this too makes me feel so happy. Creating things is something I love to do. Of course, music plays a large part in my life and I can listen to favourite music while I do other things. There is so much there to give me joy and happiness and is good.
If you focus on the bad things then they seem much bigger and much worse. It is better to focus on the good things however bad you feel and I know that that can be quite hard to do but it does help if you focus on the good things. The good things that bring joy and a smile are often the small things that can be missed. The other day I was outside in the garden with my son and the twenty or more birds in the hedge were all chirping at the same time. It was very loud and not really tuneful but it made me smile and feel happy. It was good to walk around the garden and see which flowers were still blooming and there were a lot of them.
Talking to friends is good too and never underestimate the value of just talking. We are social people mainly and enjoy the companionship of others. Living alone and in areas of restrictions has not helped people who are older and live alone so they have to make more effort to find the good things that are still there. But even cloud watching can be fun as you see how they change colours and shapes. So look for the good things out there and think about them not the bad things. Enjoy what you find.
What a week this has been, a resurgence of a health problem and awful weather. It has rained for the last 3 days without much of a break. It also took almost 3 days to get a response from the Medical Centre but now I am on the mend.
But what I really want to write about is how I for one, am carrying on during this period of restrictions on my life. I am a perpetual student since starting with the Open University in its early years when I studied for a degree and then for a higher research degree. At one point I worked for the Open University and we could do courses free so I carried on with more courses.
After I moved to a different job I carried on studying but took many courses on alternative medicine and esoteric subjects such as numerology, astrology and the tarot. There are only a few years when I have not been doing some kind of course. The swathe of time I have now because I am not doing the things I did before the pandemic has given me more opportunities to learn something different or refresh something I learned a long time ago. Many things have changed over the years so what I learned twenty years ago could be quite different today. Looking around I found lots of different courses on the internet and there were a large number to choose from. Many were at reduced prices, perhaps to encourage people to study and learn during this time. It does keep the mind active and as my physical health deteriorates, keeping my mental health going is important.
I was not going to do much about new courses until a couple of friends suggested that it would be good during the dark winter months so that I stayed mentally active. So yesterday I searched around and found several courses I wanted to do, all at a much reduced price so I enrolled for three of them and will save the others until later. There were several other courses which caught my eye so I will save them for later. You learn something new every day of course and I believe in that a lot.