I have been thinking of writing about gratitude for some time then this morning, my news feed on social media came up with all these memes about being grateful! Gratitude is something that has been lost for some time as people take for granted that their every need will be met so let’s look at what we can be grateful for in this current time.
Although the western world appears to be wealthy and every one has a home and enough food and clothes, that is not necessarily the case. Every large town and city has areas where there is deprivation of some kind. During this current crisis, many of these people will be wondering where the next loaf of bread is coming from never mind a new phone. We need to look at how we live and be grateful for what we have and share what we have but don’t need with others.
We are being encouraged to go out for exercise. If you live in a tower block and the lift is out of order, just going up and down the stairs will keep you fit but in our crowded cities and towns where is the fresh air for us to breathe? Now there is less air pollution being outside is much better but we are now being told that the air inside our homes is more polluted and we are using far too much electricity keeping all our gadgets charged and usable.
I am grateful this morning for the rain which has soaked the garden. It is more important to me than a mobile phone that does fancy things. I am grateful for the birds that sing and build nests in my hedge. They give me more joy than watching the TV. I am grateful for the fact that I can still get outside and have a short walk despite my widespread arthritis and myofascial pain. I am grateful for being here at this time of crisis so that I can take time to look at how I want my new world to be after the lockdown. What are you grateful for?
The weather has been very wet this last week and I mean very wet. It has rained and rained with heavy downpours for a lot of the time. But there have been intervals when it has been fine and sunny. So I had to take advantage of these breaks in the rain. There was gardening to do, a lot of tidying up of dead flowers and scattered leaves on the ground. Then there was the shopping and getting out when I could.
Using the time when I was stuck indoors gave me a lot of choice with things to do. The usual housework and cooking but time for other things like starting new projects and deciding what to do with old ones. I wrote a book some months ago and it is ready to be published but having struggled with a US tax form from amazon I decided not to publish the new book but to write it in my history blog as several posts. As my wordpress sites are free they will still be there when I am gone and will be there for others to use the information in the blog posts as they wish.
Deciding on this action enabled me to start another local history project which has been in my mind for some time. This will be about the children who ended up in the workhouse during the 1800s. From what I have already researched there will be some sad stories but also some tales of achievement too.
One day I did manage to get out with some friends and we went to Bradgate Park. This area has been a park since at least 1241. Bradgate Park, renowned for its fine herds of deer, is the only remaining enclosed medieval deer park in the East Midlands and contains the oldest rocks in England. It is also the birthplace and childhood home of the nine days 16th century Queen of England, Lady Jane Grey. There are ruins of her home there too. There are also some magnificent oak trees which are at least 500 years old as well as a small river running through the park. It is a popular place and always has a lot of visitors. But that break during the week was really good. I enjoyed being outside, in the open air with the deer, the oaks and the life in the river. By the time I got home it was raining again! But I think I have used my time well this week.
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.
It has been another week of dark grey days with lots of rain and occasional flakes of snow. But it is the dark grey days that I do not like. I need light and warmth in my life in order to function. I started well at the beginning of the week as I was writing a new book then suddenly on Wednesday everything came to a stop. I was feeling depressed again and I am sure it is the dark grey days.
I used my SAD lamp for a short time and it did lift my spirits enough to do a bit more writing. But I shall be really glad when the weather improves. If the sun comes out I immediately feel better as I am sure we all do. Yet the landscape in winter has a beauty all its own. I love the bare trees with their gnarled branches standing out against the sky. I love to watch the birds on the feeder in the garden and see the hazel catkins swaying in the breeze.
We have been lucky where I live unlike many of my friends further north who have had large amounts of snow. Yet I think I would have preferred to see the snow rather than the grey dark rainy days we have had. The snow brings light to the landscape unlike the rain which just seems to wash it out into a greyish mass.
Soon it will be Imbolc, where we welcome Brigid. The snowdrops will be out then bringing their light and joy into our world. I am looking forward to this and to the lengthening days.
We had the first snow of the coming winter the other day. I woke up to a covering of white but it soon disappeared although there were flurries of snow during the day. There has been a lot of rain too and everywhere is wet underfoot which makes walking difficult for me where there are lots of wet leaves. Today I walked with a friend to Ford Green Hall a beautiful old mansion. There was a Christmas Craft Fair there today and it was very busy. We walked both ways and enjoyed the damp trees and misty landscape.
Outside my window the trees are almost bare of leaves and I can now see the many different birds sitting on the branches before using the bird feeder. This is giving me an opportunity to take photos of the birds again as I could not see them before because of the leaves. I love to see the trees now when you see their shape better and the way the branches grow out from the trunk. There is something special about them now and when the frosty days and nights are here too. On the nature reserve there are many different birds now as well as those that have been hidden amongst the leaves. There is always something to see and notice when you take a walk however short the walk. I walked back from the hospital the other day and the sky was clear. It is downhill most of the way but quite steep in places but is less than a mile to walk. I stopped and admired the view over lots of houses where there used to be fields but in the distance the moorland beckoned.
The approach to Christmas seems to start earlier every year. As a druid I should not really celebrate this festival but celebrate the Winter Solstice and Yule instead. However I like to celebrate them all but more of that to come in a blog next month. The photo is of Ford Green Hall taken in the rain this morning. I could not avoid the tree as the grass was too wet to walk on.
It is another dark dismal day with heavy rain. It has now rained almost continuously for over a day and is forecast for today and tomorrow. On a spiritual level, the rain is cleansing the earth and is much needed. It washes away negative energy left by us and our industries.
It also helps the plants to grow and again is needed for this. Our storage reservoirs will also soon be full again after the hot summer. I find that days without sunshine are sometimes hard to deal with especially in the winter. But it is that time of the year when animals think about hibernating and I feel that this is what I would like to do as well. I don’t feel like this every day but only the dark days.
How do these dark days affect you? What do you do during this time? As Samhain approaches we near the time of introspection, of deep inner work and of planning for the coming of the Spring. At the moment I am finding this quite hard to do. It may be because of the current upheavals going on in my life. How do you feel about the approach of the winter time? How do you prepare for this time of inner work? Does your creativity also go to sleep?
It is summer here and it will soon be the Summer Solstice. As usual it is raining this weekend which is also a Bank Holiday weekend. But we do need the rain as it enables our gardens and crops to grow. It also makes the atmosphere much fresher. Rain is so cleansing and we really need this during a time of chaos and upheaval. Two eclipses, one to come, and Venus moving across the Sun brings in powerful energies of change. As one astrologer put it, ‘this month will be like a Prehistoric storm’ so take care and go with the flow as much as you can.
I always try to add a photo here so for today here is one taken at the seaside on a rather damp day in early evening.