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.
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.
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.
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.