My son came to visit today and we set off first to look at the local pond then after lunch we went to the nature reserve on the other side of the road. It was warm and sunny and lots of damselflies and dragonflies around to see. So much green out there and beautiful water to watch as well. We then came back had a short break and went back to the local pond where we watched a dragonfly sitting on a thick blade of grass then diving off and then returning. Amazing to see them close up on camera. Their wings and bodies so clear to view when caught on the camera and such a wonderful sight.
I am always amazed at what nature can offer me. Not only that but the peace and tranquility of the area around the water is so refreshing and brings me such joy. I had found this week that I was getting a bit depressed with the rain and the dark skies but that all changed when I got out there today. Science has now proved that being in nature is good for us and I can definitely agree with that. I hope you like the photo of what I think is a skipper butterfly.
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.
People keep asking me to write another book, one about my experiences as an indoor druid. I think that I can write a blog or an article on this but not a book. It was very hard for me when I had to stop going down to the river or walking in parks and countryside. But I have found ways to compensate and also ways to still observe nature.
About every 5 or 6 weeks my son takes me to a wildflower farm about 15 miles away. I can manage short distances on my crutches so this is good and I can sit and observe the world around me. But what of the rest of the time?
I have a small garden and a bird feeder in it. At the back is an even smaller patch which has a bird table. My living room has windows at the front and back so I can see birds from each end of the room. I have started to sit with my camera nearby ready to use and this has been really good. But some days I can get in the garden and look at the flowers, butterflies and insects that are there. I have looked at more detail at the flowers noticing the changes in their colours and the way the buds and leaves open. I have begun to take more notice of what is close by me. I have always looked close at nature when out in the countryside but now I can’t do this I am having to adapt how I look at things close by.
It is an interesting journey so far but it is summer time. I can watch the clouds too and sometimes watch a sunset. What will it be like in the winter? I will have to wait and see.
I would love to find someone with a camper van or large car who would be willing to share some long weekends in various areas of the countryside so I could get out and see different areas with different trees and animals and of course, take lots of photos!
This last week I caught a butterfly on camera. Here he is.
Summer is here! But it is so late for the warmer weather that the birds are still needing to be fed every day. Some time ago we had a warm spell and there were abundant butterflies. Since the colder weather returned I have not seen any butterflies. Hopefully they will come again now it is warmer.
It is quite amusing watching the birds feed. The fledglings are getting thinner as they use energy to fly about. But they have not quite grasped the idea of feeding themselves on a perch and often over balance. There is also a lot of rivalry and yesterday I watched one youngster push another one off the perch. Someone I know commented that it must be boring watching the birds but I find it fascinating to watch them and see how they are growing and how their behaviour changes. I do wonder how the parents recognise their young as they all look the same but I have seen a parent feed one bird but not another next to it.
But the garden is coming to life, the flowers are starting to open and the leaves on the shrubs are spreading out. The garden looks green and healthy. For me, these signs of growth are good, they tell me that whatever we do to nature, it can come back and continue to grow. But I know there will be a limit to this and too much desecration of the land could make it unrenewable. We must take care of our planet before we die out through lack of care and sense. Here is one of last years butterflies. I hope they return soon.
Last Sunday my son took me to a wild flower farm. I managed to get down to the dragonfly pond and sat watching while he walked round and took the photos. It was very peaceful and I sat watching the ripples on the pond. We then walked back to another smaller pond which was also very beautiful and watched a dragonfly laying her eggs. There were some gorgeous butterflies too. While I sat on a bench resting my son took a photo of an amazing dragonfly which showed all its colours and the wings in a very clear way. What do you notice about the wings?
When out in nature I have always noticed the sacred geometry in flowers, snails and dragonflies but this photo is the best I have seen. Do you see the sacred geometry in nature? Do you have photos to share? If not, then next time you are out start looking and watch.
It seems a long time since I was able to take my local village walk but today my son came over to visit and we went together armed with cameras.
It was good to see the green shoots appearing and the spring flowers like celandines. There was even blossom on the hawthorn. There were quite a few butterflies too, small tortoiseshells and a peacock. It is far too early for this type of butterfly but the weather has been rather mild. I hope we do not get a cold snap that could kill them, and there is not much food for them either. The birds are still using the bird feeder loving the fatballs and the half coconut shells full of fat and seeds.
Have you seen any butterflies yet? And what are your thoughts about them being around so early? What other signs of spring have you seen?
There is something about a butterfly that inspires me. During the week I and a friend have spent some time trying to take photos of these wonderful things. There have been a lot of the large white and the small white butterflies around the garden, mainly on the lavender bushes and the Buddleia. But the coloured peacock ones were absent until Thursday when they arrived in their dozens. Taking photos of them requires patience as they fly off as soon as you get near. However photos were taken and one will be on here too. But what is so amazing about the butterfly is how it develops. From tiny eggs, caterpillars emerge. Sometimes these are quite beautiful while some are not so good-looking and gardeners do not generally like them as they eat the plants. Caterpillars change their skin as they grow, just like snakes do and then they turn into a pupae for the winter. Then in the spring a butterfly emerges. Transformation at its best. Other insects do this too, damselflies for example.
Which makes me think about transforming my own life? What can be transformed in your life? Sometimes, it is just about changing the way we view things, a change of perception, sometimes it can be a deeper change in how we do things. What transformations can you make in your life and how can you do them?
Two peacock butterflies in the photos, how amazing are their spots and what beautiful colours. You can see why they are named after the peacock.