Although I am still ‘taking time out’ in many respects I felt I wanted to write about this theme. I originally thought of writing a book with the above title but decided that it would be far too unwieldy and very pricey to publish. So I decided to make several scrapbooks instead. There is an art to making good scrapbooks and I have made many in the past. This time round I purchased three A4 size scrapbooks with a brown cover and brown pages inside.
I pondered for some time about how to do this but decided that taking specific places like my garden and various nature reserves for each book was the best way. Then came the task of sorting photos for printing. I have thousands of photos on my computer dating from when I had my first digital camera. I also have three or four boxes of photos from before that time.
What I noticed when going through these thousands of photos is that very few were of people or buildings and most were of landscapes and the beasties that live in the landscape. I have found photos of dragonflies taken in 2015, hiding away in a different folder than where they should be. But it has been a wonderful experience looking at the photos and remembering when they were taken and who I was with at that time.
Choosing which photos for the scrapbook is very hard though. I love all my dragonfly, damselfly and butterfly photos so how can I choose just one of each kind? It is the same with the photos of birds feeding in the garden and the many pictures of flowers. I need more ‘time out’ in order to do this but I felt I would like to let you know how I was using my time out.
I think most people know about the transformation concerning the butterfly. The butterfly lays eggs on a leaf which then hatch into caterpillars which eat the leaves around them then later they form into a chrysalis and hibernate. The next spring they emerge and transform into butterflies. Some other insects lay eggs in water which then change into larvae. The dragonflies and damselfies do this and can live in the water for a long time generally around one or two years but it can be longer. When ready they crawl out of the water and find a strong leaf or stalk where they begin to remove their outer layer and out comes the dragonfly or damselfly. I have seen the emergence of the dragonfly and it is amazing to watch. As it emerges, it slowly puffs up its body and opens its wings which are iridescent and absolutely beautiful.
Birds lay eggs which hatch and the baby birds eat greedily until strong enough to get their feathers and learn to fly. I have many young birds in my garden and have watched them as they learn to fly and to perch on the bird feeders. All of the natural world can show us transformation. Seeds grow into plants and then flower and make more seeds. It is never ending.
I feel we could learn a lot from watching the transformations taking place in our gardens, ponds and rivers. But we have to learn how to transform ourselves, it does not happen naturally. There are so many influences on our lives that we tend to go with the flow instead of being who we really are. It is too easy to follow the rest and be like them so transforming into a better person with our own beliefs and ways of living can be hard to do. Many do not like to stick out in a crowd! But we are not meant to be the same, we are all unique and need to work on that and transform ourselves into that unique person that we were born as. Take the opportunity to start this process now and see the future unfold as you wish it to be.
My blog is late as I have been staying with my son for a few days. The days were busy as we went to some nature reserves on the Saturday and worked in the garden on the Sunday.
The first nature reserve was Felmersham gravel pits where the old pits have been filled with water and the surrounding trees and meadow land provide homes for many insects. I have visited here before and that time saw many different butterflies. This time we were able to get down to the waterside and watch dragonflies and damselflies searching for food and for mates. I loved the way the sun shone on the water and also on the backs of the dragonflies as they flew around. Magical and awesome.
We then went to a country park which also has a nature reserve but we decided to walk by the river first. Here I was astounded by the huge number of mayflies going up and down in the air like bouncing balls. It was my first sighting of a mayfly and again it was magical and awesome. As we moved away from the river we found a large group of demoiselle dragonflies. I love these with their dark blue wings (the female is green) and I have never seen so many in one place. Another magical and awesome sight. We also saw a heron but he was disturbed before I could get a really good photo of him.
My son has made his garden a haven for wildlife and he is constantly working on this. He has a lovely large pond and it was amazing to spot one morning, a newly emerged dragonfly, drying out on a stalk before preparing to fly. We watched it over a period of time as it adjusted its body and wings before suddenly it was up and away. It flew onto the nearby hedge where it looked golden as the sun shone on its wings. My son has a photo of it on the hedge so I wait for it to arrive on my computer. But it was a really profound experience to see the dragonflies (there were three in total) as they emerged from their skin in which they had spent time in the water as larvae. There was also a red damselfly to watch and then later in the day while we were sitting indoors a jay appeared. He dived into the pond twice before settling on the fence to dry off. Beautiful!
Arriving back home with a large number of plants to put in the garden I had a nice surprise. Last year I had a bed of cosmos flowers and they grew strong and like a forest so I was unable to de-head them after the flowers died. I had noticed before I went to my sons that there were a lot of seedlings growing where the cosmos had been last year. When we got back I saw that the seedlings had grown and were definitely cosmos. I shall leave them to grow peacefully and look forward to their flowers in the summer. It was a wonderful time in nature, magical and awesome.
I have so many photos that it is difficult to decide on one to place here but I will show you the newly emerged dragonfly getting ready to fly away.
Having moved to a new house and a new area I have had to change my daily routines quite a bit. I still get up early but have discovered that visiting the local pond early is good as there is much to see. But another visit later in the afternoon allows me to see different things so some days I get two short visits. I then have to fit in all the other domestic things like washing and tidying up as well as going out to do other things like project work at the museum. I am now settling down into some kind of routine but allowing myself to do things spontaneously as well as that is also important.
I love my new camera and the pond and really enjoy the peace and quiet of that space. I love to see the birds and butterflies as well as the damselflies and dragonflies and it is good to see that other people in my housing complex go there for the peace and quiet too. These daily visits will keep me going when the days are dark and dreary as they replenish my soul in many ways. There is something about an open space and water that lifts my mood and I hope it does so for others.
I am also pleased to see that others walking up there also notice the wild life even if they don’t know their names and appreciate what they see. So new routines and some new projects to work on as well. I hope you, my readers are enjoying time out in the natural world and finding joy in that as well as peace.