I love the changing weather and I see the elements at work each day. This morning they are having a rest after a rather strange week. Some days it has been wild and windy as the element of Air chases things around having fun with the wheelie bins too. Then the element of Water has produced heavy rain and hail showers and even a bit of snow. Then along comes the element of Fire, the sun, to warm the earth and dry up the wet patches.
All of these combined together are an essential part of our world. Without them we could not live. Air cleanses and removes bad smells and debris from the atmosphere, water cleanses too and soaks into the earth allowing plants to grow and insects to live. It also provides us with drinking water from reservoirs and provides life for fish in streams and rivers. The sun warms the earth and us too and helps trees and small plants to grow.
The earth is always there for us too, to walk on, to sit on and to enjoy. Do you see the elements in the weather too? Do you see how they combine to give us life?
This week has been very busy as I am moving house but there have been times when I have been able to sit and relax. During these times I have done a lot of reflecting on times past and times to come. I am old enough to look back at the changes in our world over several decades. Some of these changes have been good ones but others not so good.
There is much good in our world but many do not see this. We need to be positive and see the best in everything. This enables us to move forward and help others to do the same. I have always looked for the best in people too especially during my teaching career. Every child and every adult has some special attribute. We are all unique and have different ways of doing things. We need to respect that in each other. My photo this week is of reflections in the local stream. Try to reflect on your life, past and present and see how changes have affected you.
It is a very frosty morning here, white roofs and icy roads. But the sky is clear and the sun is shining. There is something about this kind of day, a clarity and a crispness. I love this feeling and it inspires me to write and paint.
Today is a special day here in the UK when we remember those who died in World Wars. Now we have peace in our world or at least some parts of it. It would be good to have peace everywhere but I think that will take some time. In order to have peace we need to work together and not always be wanting more. We need to share what we have with those who have little. Since the storm in the USA I have seen this kind of sharing going on. The community is working together as it should.
In our current material world, we all have too many ‘things’ in our homes. I was born during the second World War and remember rationing. We did not go without anything but we appreciated what we had and my father grew lots of vegetables in the garden. We were healthy and fit. Is there a message in this? Do we eat too much and take too much for granted? Winter is a time when we can think about these things and prepare for the coming spring.
My photo this week is of the local stream where it runs over a small shelf of rock. Like the water, we need to go with the flow, to let things we no longer need be washed away and to cleanse our lives of the rubbish we no longer need.
After the massive devastating storm which ravaged the east coast of the USA, many thoughts have crossed my mind. But a few words that someone said after seeing their home totally flattened stay in my mind. She said ‘It’s only stuff’. It is well known that traumatic events change peoples perception of the way they live their lives. They find out what is really important to them and change the way they live accordingly. We all hoard things we no longer need. I am as guilty as the rest here but this year I made a decision to give away a lot of things I no longer need or use. I feel much lighter now.
I was not surprised by the storm. Earlier this year I was reading a book which discussed what would happen in the near future regarding the weather and a great storm on this particular part of the coast was forecast. Looking at storms here in the UK, we have had more damaging ones than usual and more floods due to heavy rain. One thing that has always amazed me is that we persist in building homes on flood plains. No wonder we get flooded homes. We have not looked at the way our landscape works and listened to the ‘messages’ of the past. We, as humans, seem to think we are above the elements. But there are many of us who know that we must learn to live with this and plan accordingly.
We need to take a look at our lives and think about what we really need to survive. We need to think about the way we ravage our land and planet and change to a more loving way of caring for the land. Are there enough of us out there to make these changes work? I hope so.
I am not posting a photo this week. Take a look at the photos on the news pages about the storm and see the power of the water.
When I lived in Kettering, Northamptonshire, I was a Tree Warden and had a lot to do with checking trees for disease and organising tree walks and also checking pocket parks. Northamptonshire has Pocket Parks all over the county and there are several in the town of Kettering. This is taken from their web site –
‘The idea of Pocket Parks originated in Northamptonshire. They are natural areas of countryside which are owned, looked after and cherished by the local community for peaceful enjoyment, the protection of wildlife and to provide access for all.’
I don’t know how many other counties in the UK do this but it is a wonderful idea. Many small pieces of derelict or unused ground can be made into pocket parks. Near the local stream is a small fenced area with an opening where gates used to be. According to local residents this is privately owned but it would make a wonderful pocket park. There is a large apple tree in one corner and various other shrubs but it is very overgrown.
Pocket parks are something we can all think about and try to find land which can be used. Just think how wonderful it would be to sit there and enjoy the wildlife throughout the year. Check out suitable places in your area and write to the council with your suggestions. They may listen or they may not but if you don’t try then nothing will change.
I was not sure what to write about this morning so it is likely to be a bit of a ramble. I managed to take some photos of the stream mentioned last week so will post one here today. The day I took the photos someone had pushed a supermarket trolley down the bank. Unfortunately there was no way I could retrieve it but it has now gone so someone must have managed to get it out.
This morning it is foggy. What are those words of Keats ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’? Today they had meaning. The dew from the fog showed up all the cobwebs but now is the time when the spiders come inside to find somewhere warmer. Although I can see the magic of the spider I do not like them in the house as I was bitten once by a spider and ended up in hospital for several days. So I am careful when they are near. They do not like chestnuts though so conkers in the windowsills do deter them.
Their magical webs always amaze me. They are so intricate and much stronger than you think, having had to remove one from across the back door so I could go out. What patience they must have to spin these webs. I shall be on the lookout for one to take photos of. How do you feel about their webs? Nature is amazing and so beautiful.
We all seem to have busy lives and we rush from one place to another so that we can do all the things we think we have to do. But we miss so much. I watched a mother hurry her child across the footbridge over the local stream because she wanted to get home quickly. The child wanted to see if there were ducks or fish in the stream, but did not get the chance to stop and look. If we don’t give our children the chance to observe nature how can we expect them to respect it later on in their lives?
The bridge over the stream is a short cut for children going to and from school and people going to work or to the shops. In the last year I have only seen two parents stop and let their children look at the stream. One mother brought her child especially to feed the ducks.
I often stop and watch when crossing the bridge. I have seen the stream in full flood with muddy swirling water rushing past almost as high as the bridge. One side of the bridge looks upstream to a tiny waterfall. The other side, the stream goes between tall buildings close to the edge of the banks. But here there are buddleias and a small elder tree. There are lots of little inlets where ducks can hide and lots of large stones which can hide various larva such as that of the caddis fly. I saw a kingfisher earlier this year and my son saw one last weekend. I remember standing still to watch the kingfisher and is seems that he was very aware of me. When I blinked, he moved and was gone. How did he know when to go?
There are plenty of tiny fish in the stream and when you ‘tune’ in to the water you can see them clearly. It can be a magical place despite the buildings and the factory car park but there is no access down to the stream. Perhaps this is a good thing as it prevents human damage to the unique habitats within the stream. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of this stream but I will show you another photo of the country park where the stream has its source and after the heavy rains.
I have been very busy this year, far busier than normal and I was told many times to rest more. Now Spirit has taken a hand in this and I have my foot and leg in plaster because of an inflamed tendon. So an enforced rest!
Looking through some old photos for inspiration for my poetry writing and for this blog, as well as for meditation and inner work, I came across a photo taken a long time ago, 10 years or more, in some woodland in Derbyshire during a druid weekend in a youth hostel. I remember walking through the woods and by the stream and thinking what a wonderful place it was. You could feel the nature spirits and the sense of sacred land was paramount. The photo was taken with a normal 35mm camera, pre digital age then and it surprised me when it was developed and printed. I will leave you to your own interpretations of what is in the scene. But I will be meditating on what can be seen.