I am settling in to my new home now although there is still a lot to do and to sort out. But I have had time this week to sit and reflect and to look out through the window. I am on the first floor which I have always felt gives me a better view.
So sitting in the kitchen and looking out through the window gives me a view down to the end of the garden and the stream. Taking a walk down there one day, I noticed the buds on the shrubs and birds chasing each other in the trees. The stream is running fast and has great promise for dragonflies later on in the year.
Looking through the living area window gives a different view as it overlooks a main road which is quite busy. I am a people watcher and this week I have seen the children walking to school and those waiting for the bus to go to college or work. I see older men walking dogs, most of the dogs being quite small.
On the other side of the road is a large fairly modern detached house and next to that on one side is a modern bungalow. On the other side of the detached house is a row of old terraced houses. Going past there one day I noticed in the stone wall, the remnants of an old water pump which gives some idea of the age of the cottages.
The detached house has two very tall chimneys and this week I have watched the mating rituals of what I think are crows, they are too large for starlings or blackbirds. The crows seem to be building a nest in the chimney pot. In the grounds of the bungalow by the high fence are a couple of shrubs. One looks like some kind of tall grass and the other is currently a mass of brown stalks. Each afternoon along come a lot of small birds who are obviously enjoying the food from these two shrubs. Last night I watched a large bird siting at the top of a birch tree in a garden behind the cottages. It was there for ages and I did wonder if it was a bird of prey. I shall have to get some binoculars i think.
So lots of observations but what of my thoughts. I have discovered that I no longer feel isolated away from the world. In my previous home, I saw no-one unless I went out and stood at the gate and then you often saw no-one anyway. Here there is a constant flow of people and traffic and I no longer feel alone even though I am not speaking to them. It has made me realise just how insular and depressed I was getting before I moved here and although I miss my garden, I am finding other things to replace it. The natural world is everywhere.
It has gone much colder this last week and looking through my window into the garden I can see that the hawthorn hedge is slowly turning brown. The leaves on the plum tree are falling quickly to the ground and some of the plants are also dropping their leaves. The blackbirds and starlings are no longer to be seen and the many birds on the feeders include sparrows and goldfinches and there are rather a lot of them! One of the uneaten sunflower hearts has grown into a sunflower despite the foraging pigeons.
There are still butterflies and dragonflies around though. My son and I went out on his weekly visit to Naturescape a wildlife plant centre. Walking over the fields and into the woods we found an area of sunshine and away from the strong wind. There in the hedge were several butterflies, speckled wood ones mainly but there was a rather battered comma butterfly. There were quite a lot of darter dragonflies both male and females and as we walked back to the car we saw on another sunny hedge a beautiful southern hawker dragonfly and near by was a migrant hawker dragonfly. Dragonflies are amazing with their colours and so beautiful to see. It was quite an uplifting visit.
Back home I have been going through old craft magazines and looking to see what I can make. I have lots of small pieces of fabric so can make patchwork items. But this is all for the future. This week I have spent time with adult colouring books. I love some of these and although I have been told they are not art I know that a knowledge of colour is good for this particular hobby. I find that the time passes quickly when I am absorbed with the colouring, deciding which colours to use and where. Often you don’t see the pattern until you start to pout in the colours. I have also been reading on my Kindle as well as exploring a new set of oracle cards.
I am trying to do a bit of planning for the winter months when I am unable to go out but I am finding that quite hard as my motivation is not yet back to normal. But I am getting there slowly. I hope there will be more visits to parks and nature reserves before the weather gets too cold.
It doesn’t matter what is going on in the world we are currently living in, the natural world around us, at least around me, is just carrying on as normal.
The birds are still producing young, some sparrows are on their second brood while I have young starlings, blackbirds, blue tits and goldfinches as well in my garden. They are emptying the bird feeders very rapidly and demolishing fatballs at a steady pace. The plants are still growing and producing flowers and seed heads while the butterflies are still busy as are the bees. Despite the changes in the weather every few days from very hot to cooler to rain and gales, the birds and insects continue as normal.
Meanwhile, the’ normal’ world is not any kind of normal. The changes in guidelines and rules change so often that they become confusing. There are many who have made plans yet again only to have to put them on one side until the right kind of change is made for the plans to be effective.
I am just carrying on, taking each day as it comes and doing what I would normally do apart from the shopping which is now done online. Today’s deliveryman stated that his employer, Tesco, would be taking back used carrier bags from next week and recycling them or at least disposing of them safely. So some good things are happening.
I go out once a week with my son and we have been visiting some local nature reserves. Three of these were quite similar in habitat and all had wonderful beautiful meadows, full of wild flowers, butterflies and many other insects. It seemed as if I was in a different world when standing on the path through the meadow with it’s knee high and sometimes higher, flowers and grasses. There was so much to see and so much to feel with the energy of everything growing there. It was a really amazing experience. So I wonder where we will go next week? Maybe a woodland walk instead to hug some beautiful trees.
Since the ‘lockdown’ (I do not like that word!) I have been writing more about what I have been doing during the week. This week has been like a ride on a roller coaster, something else I do not like to do!.
The week started well with a remote biofield healing. I ‘tuned’ in to this easily and it was a wonderful experience. However it brought up lots of things to deal with as any kind of healing energy does and I became quite emotional. There have also been lots of energy surges this week to amplify things even more. But I was coping reasonably well even though one of my neighbours was having work done which involved a lot of dust in the air. I stayed inside and left my garden to itself watching through the window.
I have a very large old hedge, an original farm field hedge which is thick and wide and the birds love it nesting there each year. My neighbour the other side of the hedge has been hacking at it for some time even though it is not his and yesterday everything came to a head as he made large holes in it. I spoke to him and he said he is putting in a large fence on his side. OK I can be happy with that but not the damage to the hedge especially in nesting season. I am very sad about this but know that the hedge will grow again but it will take some time to do so. I hope he puts his fence up soon to hide some of the damage as I can see through into his garden and I want to see my hedge not his garden.
I am trying to put a positive face on this but it is hard. I spend a lot of time looking through the window at my garden and especially watching the birds in the hedge. What makes people want to destroy some beautiful works of nature? I will finish now and hopefully next week will be more cheerful about things. Thanks for reading.
The first few days of social distancing were hard. I know that the world is going to change and I was very emotional about it all. But now I see that the world is changing. Many people are becoming more helpful and thoughtful towards others although there are those who are only thinking about themselves. But on the whole this is a good thing as people learn to put others first and make sure they are kept healthy and safe.
But what can you do with this time alone keeping a distance from partners and friends?There is so much you can do as well as writing, crafting and reflecting you can deepen your connection with the natural world. You don’t have to be outside to do this even if you live in a high rise flat with no balcony or garden space. Just look through your window at the sky. Notice the clouds, what colour are they, how are they moving, do they form shapes, etc?
I have spent a lot of time looking out through the window at my garden. I have managed to get out there too and do a bit of weeding and tidying up but I have sat and watched the birds, chasing each other and feeding from the feeders and bird table. They give me so much joy. Then on Monday I saw a brimstone butterfly, the first one this year. The small spring flowers are blooming and adding colour to the earth and the shrubs are showing tiny green leaves. Cherry blossom is out too. Nature continues on its way ignoring what the humans are doing and the chaos that abounds. The streets are quiet so you can hear the birds and feel that silence within you and within the earth around you. Stop and listen!
I not only watch the birds and flowers, I talk to them as well. They don’t answer me back but I get that feeling of connection with them. I love to stand by the door and look at the sky and watch the clouds and the birds.
Another thing I do is listen to music and play my piano. I love the music of Einaudi which is simple but in its own way, quite emotional as it moves up and down the scale. I find music speaks to my soul and replenishes it just as the natural world does. There are other composers who take me out of myself and into another world with their music. Find the right ones for you. Music is healing.
I also use tarot and oracle cards. I have been reading them now for over 30 years and read intuitively. Yesterday I asked for two cards, one each from different packs to see what message they gave for the next few days. Diana Cooper’s Dragon oracle cards gave me the Fire and Water dragon with the message – prepare for change and to move forward quickly. Expect the unexpected but have fun!. The Keepers of Light oracle cards by Kyle Gray gave me The Myriam with the message choose to forgive in order to heal. See the light in all and remember that love has no boundaries. I don’t think any further words are needed. Stay safe and positive and make the best of this time. Treat it like a retreat.
Equinox, a time of equal day and night, a balance between the two. But everything around us seems out of balance. I do think that the Equinox also signals change as we prepare for the darker days and the colder weather here in the UK. I look around me at the chaos in our world and try to stay balanced but that is hard to do.
After my time out I felt energised and able to do things I had needed to do for a long time. That soon came to a halt as my body decided otherwise and some tiny movement unwittingly triggered a sequence of pain in various parts of my body. So much for balance!
There are definite signs of autumn in the garden as the flowers die back and the hedge has had its annual trim. I have a wonderful thick hedge left over from when this area was farmland. It consists of hawthorn mainly but there is holly and elder also in it. It provides a wonderful home for many birds and also food for them as brambles also grow there. It is still thick and high though and the birds still love it. They give me enjoyment too as I can sit and watch them for hours.
At this moment as I write this blog, the rain is pouring down heavily. We do need the rain and I am sure when it stops everything will look brighter and greener as the dirt and dust is washed away. Rain is so cleansing. But I do not like the dark days as I find them depressing. Trying to stay in balance is hard then too.
This week I was working at my table when something outside caught my eye. A dragonfly which decided to sit on my garden path. I tried to take a photo through the window but it wasn’t very good so took my camera outside hoping that the dragonfly was still there. I then discovered there were two of them having fun mating on my path. I don’t know where they would go to lay the eggs but I am not too far from a small river and lake in the nearby country park. I felt quite privileged that they had chosen my garden path for the their mating union. A positive end to my ramblings. The dragonflies can be the photo for this blog.
Last week I decided to take some time away from social media amd do things I really wanted to do and enjoy each day as it came. I did have a few appointments but decided to keep most of these. So what did I do? I spent time in the garden, sometimes just sitting and meditating on what I could see. I spent time with friends and did some creative sewing which I love.
I did have a quick read of my social media accounts but did not post or comment on anything preferring to let things go on as planned. I had a lovely afternoon out in some gardens belonging to a large house not too far away. It was wonderful to stroll through woodland and gardens I did not know. The views were tremendous.
So what did I gain from my time out, after all I was busy a lot of the time. I felt better and much closer to the natural world around me. I felt more attuned to the sounds of nature as well. I was less stressed as I had been busy over the last few months writing and talking to people about climate change. It is very easy to get involved in such things and let them take over your life so that you do or think about nothing else.
Climate change is of course very important and I hope that I have sown seeds of change with many people and via my book, sowed these seeds in others far away. But it is easy to overdo things and burn out which is when I decided to take a break. Taking a break also allows you to get things in perspective and see the overall picture not just the details. For me this time out has replenished my soul. So when things get hectic and seem out of control, stand back, take some time out and enjoy the natural world around you.
I seem to remember words to a song going like this,’Summertime, and the living is easy’. I suppose that living is easier in the summer and there is so much to enjoy. I love the blue skies and the sun shining but I don’t like it too hot. The garden is full of different insects. The bees are bussing around the cotoneaster hedge and in the many other flowers.
The young birds are learning to fly and to use the bird feeder. It can be amusing to watch them as they find a way to perch on the feeder. There are so many of them this year. There must have been at least 3 different nests in my hedge as the broods of fledglings arrive in fours and fives.
I already have a lot of flowers in bloom and many more to come as summer progresses. I can see ladybirds in plenty and other flying insects. Soon there may be damselflies and dragonflies as one of my neighbours has a pond.
The hedge is alive with the noise of the birds and insects. It is also very green. One of the things I love about this time of the year is how green everything is, so alive.
But now the Summer Solstice has passed the night is creeping slowly over the day, making each day that little bit shorter. Years ago I wrote a poem for the Solstice. Here it is now;
Solstice Prayer It is the time of the longest day When the Sun is at the height of its power And as the Sun watches over us and feeds us all So we feed our Inner Fire. May the power of the One unite us all Bringing hope and peace to our planet; May the Ancient Wisdom, the Eternal Truth, Be warmed by the Sun this day Let us join together in peace and love, Let the Sun shine within our hearts, Let the Child of Light guide us on our way, As our world is filled with peace and love.
Officially we are now in the winter season. I have noticed how the trees stand proud against the skyline with their bare branches. I see my hedge getting much thinner with large spaces so I can see through into the garden of my neighbour. The birds are still there but keep hopping out to feed on the conveniently placed feeder. I love the days when the sky is clear and the sun is shining. There is something special about the winter sky and the landscape around us.
But winter also has a special meaning for me It is the time when I take stock of what the year has brought me and look at how I have dealt with it. There has been a lot of sadness and grief this year and that has been hard to deal with but getting out occasionally amongst the trees has helped enormously. I have also looked at what I have achieved or not achieved as might be the case with some things. Are there lessons to be learned from this and can I do better next year. I find the winter months with the shorter days gives me more time to contemplate what has gone and what is to come in the future. I can do the stuff that I have put on one side while I have been enjoying the summer times. I can unpack the boxes still left to do since I moved earlier in the year. Maybe I will find the items I have spent hours looking for but still not found!
I also stock up on food just in case I cannot get out. I am old enough to remember the years of heavy snowfall when nothing stirred so make sure I will be OK if anything like a heavy snowfall arrives and stays with us. But most of all I am looking forward to the Winter Solstice, now in less than three weeks time, when the light returns and the hours of daylight start to lengthen. I have lots of new things I want to try next year so I shall start planning them now, making sure I will have everything I need to do these things.
So a time for contemplation, planning and enjoyment is what winter brings to me.
It has been a long hot dry summer but the last couple of weeks have brought us some rain which has been very good for the garden. One day last week I opened the door, as I do every day, to let in the fresh air and to give thanks for all around me. This particular morning was different than the previous ones. It was cooler and fresher but there was also a distinctive feel and smell of the coming autumn. It’s not something I find easy to put into words but the feel and smell is something I recognise and know that autumn is on its way.
Looking back at the days of summer I see lots of flowers, their wonderful colours still there for the coming days. I noticed the number of birds too. I have a large thick hedge at the top of my garden and it has been home to several broods of birds, blackbirds, sparrows and robins. It has been a wonderful experience to watch them grow into adult birds. This last week a sparrowhawk visited as well. Luckily all the smaller birds were safe in the hedge and surrounding bushes.
I have also noticed the large number of bees visiting the flowers. But many of the flowers are there specifically for that purpose, to attract the bees. There are not so many now but they are still coming finding other plants attractive when their favourite ones have finished flowering.
There has been a large number of different butterflies visiting the flowers especially the buddleias which are commonly known as butterfly bushes. I have also seen damselflies and dragonflies whizzing around the garden but not often settling for photos! The plum tree and the brambles (which are not really wanted as they stop other plants from growing) have done exceptionally well and I have lots of fruit in my freezer. There were so many plums that I have been giving them to neighbours. Someone said it must be the fifth year as you get an abundant crop every five years.
But what I have noticed the most is the abundance of everything. There has been wonderful colour, and food for everything that comes into the garden, and watching the birds trying to get the blackberries and plums has been entertaining at times.
So now the season is changing and there will be different things to watch and to do as well. But my main thought at this point in time is ‘Abundance!’