The power of nature

Earlier this week I went to sign all the papers and collect the keys for my new home. Within a couple of minutes walk is a small country park. As I was early for my appointment and feeling a bit stressed I decided to take a look at this small park. There was a small pond with a few reeds and irises around it and a man sitting quietly fishing. There were several seats so I sat down for a while listening to the most wonderful birdsong and enjoying the peace and the sunshine.

After a while I decided to explore the paths I could see. One went back down into a street while another one wound upwards through the trees. I took this upward path noticing the blossom on the trees and the wild flowers. It was not long before I had to return for my appointment but that short break in nature had destressed me. I know I will be there often to sit and enjoy the natural world around me.

I am sure that we all feel stressed at times and science is now proving that being out in nature can help us and is beneficial for our health. I hope you know places like the one I have found and use them for reflection and replenishment. I am adding a couple of photos to give you some idea of what the park is like.

 

Autumn thoughts

Yesterday was what I call a truly autumn morning, misty with a chilly feel and some dark clouds heading my way. I went out though to Trentham for a short walk along the lake side and through the trees. It was beautiful and peaceful as I was earl;y before many others had arrived. I found a new fairy sculpture too. There are around sixteen of these now and they are made of wire. This one was very beautiful and I took a photo of her silhouetted against the lake and sky. I felt so at peace with myself walking along the edge of the water, so much so that I found myself chanting to Mother Earth.

The trees are still mainly green but there are patches of brown and yellow leaves among the green. Two things fascinated me about the trees. One holly tree had a broken branch and the leaves on that branch had all turned to a rich brown colour. On another tree, there was a branch with leaves at different stages of their changing colour. So some were green and yellow, others going to red and brown and so on.

The cygnets on the lake had disappeared and in their place were beautiful white swans, a pair of which were doing some kind of mating ritual or that is how it seemed. Looking out over the lake I saw the rain clouds approaching and decided to head back via the cafe for a cup of tea and a toasted teacake. Then it was head for the bus stop in the rain. By the time I arrived home it was pouring down, real heavy rain which lasted until early evening when the sun came out. Strange weather but I felt the benefits of my short walk in nature. It makes such a difference to how I feel and move.

I hope you all take walks in nature, it is so refreshing and replenishing.

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Autumn arrives

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?

earlymorn1

Joy

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;

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKVlwntDEP0

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?

butterfly

 

Finding favourite haunts

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.

trenthamaug2

Gardens

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.

nickis32

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?