It has been another busy week with offers of things to do but the best things were the walks in the local countryside. I love being out in nature and love to see the wildlife as I go. Today was a wonderful stroll and a look at different small paths that led away from the main path. Even found a tree to hug as well.
But some of the offers of things to do this week I will have to think about. Writing my latest book has reawakened the ‘spirit’ of search if you like to call it that. I want to look at some of the topics I studied in the past and see how much they have changed. I feel the need to do more ‘spiritual’ work than I have been doing. It is as if I have been taking a break and doing lots of other work like family history and local history. Maybe the time is now right to work more on other things like healing, astrology and so on. I need to get back into a different routine but also enjoy the daily walks which really do fill me with so much pleasure. It is good to have company too especially if my companions think the same way as I do. That is a bonus!
This week is going to be chaotic as my bathroom is going to be turned into a wet room. Tomorrow is the start of the work so I will be going out on a trip to one of my favourite places, Trentham. Hopefully the trip there will help me to make more decisions about my way forward.
How do you make decisions? Do you act intuitively like I generally do? Or do you think long and hard about things first?
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.
Even the Queen commented on the numbers of traumatic events which have occurred over the last few months and how people are coming together to help each other. Traumatic events often trigger a ‘spiritual awakening’ and people become aware of what life is really about. They also begin to see how they have been manipulated by those higher up and in charge. It is not easy to deal with all of this. Not only have they lost someone or a home but they also have to deal with their grief and anger.
One thing I have noticed over recent years is that any misdoing does not remain hidden for long. It soon surfaces and those who did the misdeed have to come forward and face those who were harmed. For many this means going to prison for their misdeeds. It also seems to me that more of us are working together to get changes even basic ones that help us to live better and safer. The truth always comes out so watch out for more and for more traumatic events.
But changing the subject so I end on something more positive, I spent half an hour or more this morning by the local pool which is less than five minutes walk away. It was peaceful, the birds were singing, a man was fishing and I saw damselflies and other insects. The grasses had very heavy seed heads and it was all so refreshing and replenishing for my soul which has felt the sadness and anger of the last weeks.
No questions to ask you this week. I am sure you can think of some yourself but enjoy the photo.
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.
It is that time of the year when I start to gather together food for my larder and freezer so that if and when the weather gets too difficult for me to go out, I have food to eat. But it is harvest time and many others are out collecting the fruits of nature. I saw a woman collecting blackberries the other day. So far I bought some Victoria plums which I really like and turned them into jam. It is a good start but I need to check what is in my cupboards and see what I need to buy.
It is not just food that needs to be collected and stored. There are all the other household items for laundry and cleaning and the essential toilet paper! Over the last few years there have not really been any hard winters here but if it is icy then going out is a no-no. So being prepared is good.
I do like this time of the year as the leaves change colour on the trees and gradually fall to the ground. When out last week, there were elderberries ready to collect but remembering to leave some for the birds. There were cones ripening on trees and lots of beech nuts lying around. I feel it is important to recognise these gifts of nature, take a few for yourself but leave plenty for others. I hope to get out this coming week to take more photos and to enjoy the autumn colours but this may not happen as my arthritis has flared up again especially in my spine which makes lots of walking difficult. But I will go out even if not very far. I have lots of trees at the end of my road and they are slowly changing colour.
How do you experience Autumn and do you store things for the winter?
What I am writing about this morning is something I have been thinking about for some time. I am a Druid and work alone as there are no Groves nearby. Most druids and many pagans celebrate the eight festivals of the wheel of the year. I always did this in the past but recently I have not been doing this as I feel that I celebrate the changing of the seasons in other ways.
As our climate is changing I sometimes think that celebrating on specific dates is not quite right. I spend a lot of time in nature and I notice when the seasons change and acknowledge this, sometimes by pausing and saying a few words and sometimes by just pausing for a brief moment of silence. For me this is more important than ‘doing’ a ceremony which can sometimes feel a bit false. I don’t need the candles, incense and other tools of ritual in order to acknowledge and give thanks for the changes in nature. I feel that I live each day as a druid and to me that is more important than a ceremony to recognise the changing of the seasons.
I have seen and been a part of many ceremonies which turned into theatrical performances. If you like that kind of ceremony then that is fine but it is not for me. Lughnasadh has just passed and I have already noticed the brown leaves on the ground, the elderberries, blackberries and rosehips as well as the reddening rowan berries which signify the coming of autumn. I have paused in my walks, touched these berries and given thanks for them. Need I do more?
I am sure that many of my readers will think differently but I would like to know your thoughts so please comment and enjoy your days in nature.
I am being hopeful that summer has now arrived. It is much warmer and the sun is shining but for how long? However what really gives me so much joy and great pleasure is the amount of green I can see. There are so many trees around me, not all the same as some have yet to wear their full summer clothes, but some are hawthorn and the scent is amazing.
Each day I try to walk for at least a mile going around the different roads so I can see different views. It is hilly here so you can see quite a distance from certain places. Of course, the trees obscure some views now but I love to look at the trees. Yesterday I walked along a road with many different trees in gardens and some beautiful flowers too. It is so colourful, rainbow colours of every hue and so beautiful to see.
One day in the week I spent an hour just sitting and contemplating in a small area of park. I watched the ducklings move around from one side of the pond to the other and saw them being shooed away by their parents who were trying to help them to become independent. It was peaceful, calm and had this sense of renewal too. I am going to try to visit this place at least once a week.
Also nearby is a small patch of wildflower ground amongst some trees. This week the cow parsley is taking over so I shall keep an eye out for the butterflies that love this plant. So much to see, so much to enjoy. What a wonderful life!
My house move went successfully and I am now almost unpacked and ready to resume my research and writing. Yesterday I walked down the street to the end and then took a path down a steep hill towards a retail park which was built on the site of the old coal mine. The hill is steep as it goes down into the valley. The other side is less steep but there are ups and downs until eventually the moorland appears. There is something about this distance and depth of view thing that has always given me great pleasure and joy. I have really missed this type of landscape over the years. Even when living in the mountains of Wales I did not get the same kind of feelings about the landscape.
So what is it about this depth of view and the distance between me and the horizon? This is where I was born and lived for the first 35 years of my life. Is it to do with my connection to this part of the world and the landscape I knew as a child? I feel so much at home and my heart filled with joy yesterday as I stood at the top of the path. I can pick out landmarks and note where things have changed but the distant moors are still there.
Walking to the other end of the street I come to what is known as the Marsh. It is now common land and cannot be built on although several roads cross it. It is marshy in places but there are more trees now and lots of spring flowers too. It is the open space which calls to me here despite the traffic on the roads. Again we have the distance thing, I can see quite a way across the Marsh and into the distance. Many years ago someone told me what this was all about but I have long forgotten. I just know that this is home and my heart beats better here and is filled with joy and thankfulness for being here.
The photo shows the view across the industrial landscape out to the moors.
What a week this has been, not just busy but full of challenges which are making me think about what I can do to stay independent. On Monday I visited the local Christmas Tree Festival which is the largest in England or so I believe. There were over 1000 trees and the imagination of people always amazes me. Businesses. charities, groups and individual people decorate trees for this festival. The Christmas tree for me is a pagan symbol which the church adopted for their use. But I love to see the trees and their twinkling lights.
I have bought a new walker type thing called a rollator which we discovered that although it folds up it does not go in car boots, not those of my friends anyway. This brings its own challenge of course. It is a good idea though to help me to walk as it has a seat that I can use when I need to sit down. Sorting out transport for a holiday became a challenge too as I needed to find someone to take me to Leicester in a car that would take the rollator. I think this has now been solved but it was a challenge and one which left me feeling very depressed.
But as a druid I have bounced back although not fully back and am thinking about how to surmount these challenges and become more independent again. Each night I give thanks for what I have and ask for help in working this out. I suspect that fear enters some of my problems as you get scared to be out alone in case you fall or whatever. I need to overcome this too and not rely on others to always be there for me. I shall be spending the time until Imbolc working on these challenges and hope that I find a successful outcome. How do you deal with challenges that come your way?
I have always felt that life is full of lessons to learn. When we are born we have to learn to walk and speak and then learn to do things for ourselves. Every decision we make brings us a new lesson. When we look back at some of the decisions we made we think that they were wrong. But at the time we made those decisions it was the right one as that gave us another lesson to learn.
I look back at many decisions I made in the past and can see how much I learned from them whether they seemed right or wrong at the time. These lessons can also be seen as challenges and at the moment I am wondering what the current lesson is for me. I have got to the stage in life where certain things are more important than others, good health for one. I have the other important things, important for me at least, a roof over my head, enough food and clothing and heat and light. What I don’t have is mobility and this is getting to be a very big challenge. I am going to have to rethink how I live my life as I cannot walk more than a couple of yards without excruciating pain and that is walking on crutches as well. Does this mean a wheelchair now and if so how do I deal with this challenge? I love the outdoors and always have. I loved the freedom of being outside and always pushed myself to my limits in order to be outdoors.
I am also very dependent on others now and this brings me to something else which I wrote about last week, friendship. People are so busy nowadays that they often cannot find the time to be with others especially those who need not necessarily help but companionship. Conversation is important for us all and having a good conversation is part of my life, but good conversations are infrequent. A ‘friend’ once said to me a few years back that she did not call very often because she was sure I had others coming in to visit every day. She was far from the truth and I wonder how many others feel that way. Is this another lesson for me, to learn to be alone?