I belong to that group of people who are never to old to learn. But I do hear many others say that they can’t do something because they are too old. I suppose it depends on what you think the word ‘learn’ means. The dictionary definition is this; ‘ to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience.’
I know I love doing courses that interest me but I do them so that I learn something and am not bothered about an exam or a certificate. Recently I have been doing a couple of courses about dealing with pain, one course looking at exercises to control or get rid of specific pain. This was interesting to me as I found that I already did some of these exercises but I still had the pain at times.
But there are many others things I have learned since I moved house. I have learned to recognise the plants in the garden which were new to me and the butterflies and other insects that were also new to me. I learned to ‘drive’ my mobility scooter safely. I have also learned how to adapt to doing things around the house when my hands are painful. So I have never stopped learning, learning mainly by experience in this case.
This topic came about because of a discussion with my son about web design as I have been thinking of updating my web site recently. I did the original one in the late 1990s when I taught myself the language of HTML. Then my son took over and later on a friend. But as an independent person I want to do my own. Am I too old to learn this? I don’t think so. I believe that we all learn something new every day. And the ancient druids spent years studying and learning so as a druid I am doing the same but perhaps in a different way.
This last couple of weeks I have refrained from posting on social media. I felt I needed a break from the negativity that is all around me. Why is everyone so negative? There is so much to be positive about in our lives despite the chaos of the current world. Everything and everyone has something positive about them and we should look for this positivity.
So my sort of retreat has been quite beneficial. It has allowed me to look at my own feelings and thoughts about my life and that of others. But taking time away from all the pressures that others put upon us gives us time to reflect and recharge. Not only was I able to finish off a lot of my research work but I was able to put what you might call my’ affairs’ in order or some of them at least. I was able to take time to read for pleasure and listen to music all day if I wished. I find music regenerates my soul just as much as being outside in nature.
Nature of course has given us plenty to think about this week with many changes in the weather from warm days to snowy days. But I have watched birds again on the feeder, the squirrel who comes to visit and the shoots of the bulbs breaking through the surface in their pots. New growth, a new year and new positive thinking about life and the world.
There is much to look forward to, the lengthening days, the signs of spring and new growth in the natural world. Yes, there are changes afoot, some of them likely to be not what we need but look past that to what you can do for your own well-being and that of others. Stay positive and strong, stand up and be counted when you need to and above all, find peace in your life so that others feel it too.
Here are the bulbs in their pots in my garden. Let nature give you hope.
Although the calendar tells me it is the 1st of May I am not so sure about the weather. We have had snow, hail, a mini tornado and heavy rain together with a bitterly cold wind this last week. I feel sorry for the birds who have hatchlings, the butterflies and other insects who now find it too cold to survive and the trees just coming into bud where some leaves have now frizzled up with the cold wind.
This happened earlier in the year. December and January were mild until the last ten days or so in January when we had heavy frosts which killed off a lot of sprouting leaves and plant shoots. Yet nature carries on and recovers albeit slowly. Once it gets warm I hope to see lovely blossoms and bright flowers attracting the bees and butterflies. My forsythia is in full bloom now but much later than it should be.
One thing I noticed this week when I went into the gardens in town was a notice about bees and a bee friendly flower bed. Someone else told me that this is normal for our council and for me I find it a very positive outlook for a change. Now is the time to make sure our gardens attract wild life of all kinds so they stay with us and do not die out. Is your garden friendly towards wild life? Do you plant bee friendly flowers and shrubs?
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.
I have spent a few days away this week in some lovely countryside. On the way down I saw so many hazel catkins by the roadside I was amazed. It is early for them but they were lovely to see.
The grounds of the hotel where I stayed, were beautiful even in winter weather. We had sun, rain, hail, strong winds and snow! There was a tree walk which was excellent. There was an old yew wood where the trees were nearly 400 years old. There was a yew hedge too which had been sculptured into different shapes. There were sequoias, cedars, limes and various oaks but the best tree for me this time was the monkey puzzle tree. I have never seen such a fine specimen before.
Nestling among the trees the snowdrops were showing their heads and I found one lonely little primrose. There were squirrels playing too. When the sun shone on the snowdrops I felt hope come into my heart. I felt uplifted. Nature, whatever we do, seems to act as normal at this time of the year as new life springs forth.
Have you noticed any signs of spring in your area yet?
I will add the primrose photo here but other photos can be found on my Facebook page.
What a dark month it has been so far. Wet a lot of the time, but very dark and very little sun. When the sun does shine you feel like cheering! It is mild for November and the plants think it is spring. My forsythia has little green shoots all over it yet some of this years leaves have not yet fallen. I have noticed a cherry tree in blossom already. What will happen to our plants and trees if and when we have a frost? Will they survive and flower again at the proper time?
What are the wild animals and birds doing in this mild weather? The starlings are busy eating the fat balls and the robin comes to eat as well. Have any of my readers noticed how spring like it is in the garden? And the ground is very wet as well. When the USA has snow we generally get it a few weeks later but our weather forecasters are saying that we are going to have 3 months of rain. It is due to the jet stream we are told and this is being affected by melting ice. So back we come to global warming and man’s effect on this.
Another topic for discussion there. But three months of rain will mean floods in many places and the death of many wild animals. How can we do something about this?
It never ceases to amaze me just how much better I feel when the sun shines. The downside of this is that I always do too much and then suffer later. I did just that this week. I had a lovely stroll with a friend around the country park, then came home and mowed the lawn. Then on Friday I had another short stroll down to the river with another friend and we potted some indoor plants (two of which the cat has eaten!) Consequently I am now finding it difficult to move but I know that very gentle movement will help to ease the pain. (I have to walk with someone to accompany me as my balance is not good and I can fall easily)
But it was so good to be outside and to look at how the leaves are starting to open and the cherry blossom is coming out. There were butterflies too. On Thursday evening I went to a talk/slide show given by a local photographer. His photos inspired me and I hope to do more with this kind of thing for my web site. I already have some slide shows on the site but will now look at better ways of showing my photos to those who find such things interesting. Taking photos means that I take a closer look at nature, at the different colours in each flower and leaf and the insects amongst them. There is so much that many people miss when out walking or even just being in the garden. Nature is amazing!
Just about half a mile from my home is a lovely short walk along a public footpath much used by dog walkers. The path runs alongside the river through small woods and open fields. It is only perhaps half a mile long as well. But it is such an amazing place to be.This last week I went with a friend and as we entered the first bit of woodland it seemed that magic was at play. The sun shone through the branches and changed the way everything looked. As the trees seemed to join overhead it was like walking through an archway of trees. In the open field part, the path still runs along the side of the river. There were so many tiny snails on dying nettle plants and different types of ladybirds on the cow parsley that I stopped to take lots of photos. Then entering the second tiny wood was even more magical. The sun illuminated the path and drew you in.
I felt totally at One with the landscape, as if I was not just standing on the earth and watching but as if I was actually a part of it. This feeling is very hard to describe. If you have felt this then do let me know how you describe it. I wondered about those walking their dogs. Did they just enjoy the walk or did they see more of the natural world? And what did they feel?
It is so easy to just walk along a path or field and not ‘see’ any of the wonderful things that the natural world has to offer us. The birds were singing and every so often the call of the moorhen could be heard. My friend started to hum in tune with our Mother Earth while I wanted to chant and sing. It was such a wonderful feeling and I am sure my heartbeat was the same as that of Mother Earth. Have you ever experienced this feeling? If so do let me know about it. Sharing is good for us all. If you have not yet had this experience then do try to find the time to explore any local patch of nature. You will be amazed at what you can find and feel.
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.