Approaching winter

Officially we are now in the winter season. I have noticed how the trees stand proud against the skyline with their bare branches. I see my hedge getting much thinner with large spaces so I can see through into the garden of my neighbour. The birds are still there but keep hopping out to feed on the conveniently placed feeder. I love the days when the sky is clear and the sun is shining. There is something special about the winter sky and the landscape around us.

But winter also has a special meaning for me It is the time when I take stock of what the year has brought me and look at how I have dealt with it. There has been a lot of sadness and grief this year and that has been hard to deal with but getting out occasionally amongst the trees has helped enormously. I have also looked at what I have achieved or not achieved as might be the case with some things. Are there lessons to be learned from this and can I do better next year. I find the winter months with the shorter days gives me more time to contemplate what has gone and what is to come in the future. I can do the stuff that I have put on one side while I have been enjoying the summer times. I can unpack the boxes still left to do since I moved earlier in the year. Maybe I will find the items I have spent hours looking for but still not found!

I also stock up on food just in case I cannot get out. I am old enough to remember the years of heavy snowfall when nothing stirred so make sure I will be OK if anything like a heavy snowfall arrives and stays with us. But most of all I am looking forward to the Winter Solstice, now in less than three weeks time, when the light returns and the hours of daylight start to lengthen. I have lots of new things I want to try next year so I shall start planning them now, making sure I will have everything I need to do these things.

So a time for contemplation, planning and enjoyment is what winter brings to me.

The winter darkness

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.

catkins

The return of the light

It will soon be the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. After that the days will start to get a bit longer and the dark nights a bit shorter. I am really looking forward to that as I don’t deal with short dark days and long dark nights very well. I need lots of light in order to function.

Many cultures celebrate the return of the light at this time of the year so I like to join them and celebrate too. The return of the light is a very common theme. I wonder how our ancestors felt at this time of the year. Yet although the days will be longer, here in the UK winter is still to come although we have had a frosty snowy week just now. January and February are often the months when we get snow and lots of ice. But we often also get beautiful clear blue skies and lots of sunshine as well.

This last week here has been one of snow, more snow, rain and then ice. There is still some snow lingering on the grass and roads but there is also a lot of ice making it difficult for me to go out and enjoy the local nature reserve. I have missed this but I have enjoyed looking at the photos of those who could get there. The pools were frozen over some days and the ducks and swans went skating.

So I am really looking forward to the return of the light and will be celebrating this as will many others, alone while some will be celebrating in groups. However you celebrate the return of the light I wish you a wonderful day and a good year to come.

first snow

Moving forwards

Moving forwards is how it feels so I hope I really am doing this. I have continued to work with the Reiki precepts this week and also taught my first Reiki student for some years. That was an amazing experience and an emotional one too. I have learned so much more about the Reiki energy and how to work with it over the last few years and I am still learning. I have found some good books about Reiki as a spiritual journey and these have given me many more ideas about deepening my work with Reiki. I feel different too which is good as the difference is for the better.

The weather this week has stopped me from going out a lot but I have been keeping an eye on a young swan on the nearby pond. He was pushed off the nature reserve by two dominant swans and is alone at the pond. He was rather battered when he arrived but there are plenty of us to keep an eye on him as dog walkers go past several times each day. I sent him some Reiki energy too and he has done well this week having moulted all his grey feathers and is now able to fly better. I have let the area round the pond have Reiki energy for some weeks now so that all that visits stays safe.

But the weather is cold, wet and windy here now. The wind has been coming over from Siberia bringing extreme cold air with it. The leaves are falling rapidly from the branches and there is a carpet of gold, red and brown leaves on the ground. I can see houses I didn’t see before as when I moved here the trees were in full leaf. It is going to be interesting watching the changing of the seasons here. I notice that we have more birds on the feeders and the squirrel is busy collecting food and hiding it away somewhere. It is time to stock the larder and find the woolly jumpers and thick socks so I am ready for the winter.

Are you ready for the cold of the winter?

If you work with any form of healing energy do you use it for the land around you?

loneswan Continue reading

Winter landscapes and change

There is something special about the winter landscape especially the trees. So bare but still beautiful and often standing out against the sky. The sun is often shining adding a little bit of warmth this week and the sky can be a clear blue.

It makes me feel hopeful and also happy inside knowing that new growth is on its way and that soon this winter landscape will change as leaves appear on the trees. The morning frost will no longer happen and the beauty that the frost brings will have to wait again until next winter. Change is the way.

Change of course happens all the time but there are many who do not like or want change. But it happens. You have only to look at nature and see this. So why do we try to avoid change in our lives? Without change, our lives can become boring and uneventful. Do you avoid change or do you welcome it?

mistletoe

 

Looking after our natural world

It is a foggy icy morning here today. The snow has gone but it is still very cold. The birds are busy eating food from the feeders. There are other small animals around too. Unfortunately one was caught by a local cat the other morning. It was a little shrew which had been hiding in the leaves under one of the bushes keeping warm from the snow. But that is nature I suppose, one animal is food for another one.

However it is up to us to look out for them in the cold weather and make sure there are places for them to hide and food for them to eat.

But the ice shows us the amazing nature of our natural world. The tiny crystals formed by the frost are simply wonderful. No two seem to be the same. I love to look at them all, even the ones on the wheelie bin and the bird feeders. Do you see these and notice how different they are? Do you feed the birds? Do you have ‘homes’ for other small animals and insects in your garden? Seeing our natural world in all its glory makes me feel so much better. Nature is stronger than we are!

icymorning3

Winter has arrived!

Boxing Day brought the snow. It was thick and fast and covered the ground quickly. But by the next morning it had started to melt. However it soon became very cold again and there is still snow on the ground and on the roofs of the houses. When the sun shines, it glistens and looks beautiful.

I used to love being out in the snow when I was younger but now I am not so happy to be outside in case I fall over. Old bones do not mend so easily as young ones so I have to take more care and stay indoors until the pavements are safe for me to walk on. I am lucky to have a very good friend who will take me to the shops. There are many older people who do not have such friends. Do you check on the elderly living near you to see if they need help when the weather is bad?  Often they may just need someone to talk to. It can be lonely living on your own and the days seem much longer when there is no one to talk to.

In many places there are befriending schemes. I think that these are good for those who live alone whatever age they are but especially for those who cannot get out easily. As a druid, caring for others, especially those who are vulnerable is part of my belief although I am on the other side of this now. I do try to help others when I can. How about you?

wintersnow

Winter time

It is getting colder. Several mornings this last week the ground has been white with frost. I love to see it even though it keeps me indoors. The delicate frost particles bring a shimmer to everything and glisten in the sun shine. Generally the skies are blue and clear when this happens. This morning though the sky has red streaks in it. Not a good sign I think, red sky in the morning, shepherds warning is the saying. It does look lovely though. Do you notice the sky in the mornings? Or the way the frost glistens?

Last weekend I visited the local Tree Festival. There were over 900 trees and it was a spectacular sight. I have decorated my Yule tree already and this year I have made my home look more festive. I have also started to look back at what I have managed to achieve this year. It has been a difficult year but I am looking forward to the coming months.  Despite the turmoil in the world today, my inner turmoil has decreased and I feel more at peace with myself and my surroundings.

My robin comes to visit every day now; the British robin is smaller than its namesake in the USA. Although the photo is not that good I hope you can see him at the bird feeder.

robin

 

Mysteries in nature

Recently I have noticed several things happening around my trees. Last week I wrote about the icicles on the leaves. But why were the leaves still on the trees during the winter? Normally the trees are very bare but this year there seemed to be rather a lot of leaves still hanging on the branches although they were brown and crisp.

This week I took a closer look at the birch tree on the spare land behind my garden. There are signs of new growth but also there were last years fruiting catkins still on the tree. Is this normal I ask myself.

Have you noticed anything like this on the trees near you? Have any of you seen this kind of thing before? I find it fascinating that this kind of thing happens and wonder why. Does our current climate make this happen? One week it is bitterly cold and snowing, the next week it is sunny and mild. Nature must get confused sometimes. Do our actions make the climate change in this way or is it just part of the cycle of life? Please comment on this if you can either on FB or on the blog itself. Here is a photo of the birch I mentioned earlier.

birch

The magic of nature

It has been a strange week, snow one day, then heavy rain, then sunshine and then it all repeated itself. But yesterday I decided to go to Leicester. I have not been for several years but I needed art supplies and now I have moved house it is much easier to get on the bus. I set off early and there was a mist rising over the villages in the valley. It was really beautiful and magical. I felt quite sad as we entered the outskirts of the city and the mist disappeared.

Leicester itself was busy and everyone hurried about in contrast to the country scene I had observed from the bus. No one seemed to have the time to stand still or stop and look at their surroundings. I do not like large towns and cities so I did my shopping quickly and went back to catch the bus. By now the mist had cleared most of the area although there were still a few patches. I love this landscape, small hills and valleys with tiny villages nestling in them.

My friend Simon has been taking photos for me of my grove of trees in Londonthorpe Wood which belongs to the Woodland Trust. We have been observing the changes through the seasons. One of the photos he has taken shows the autumn leaves still hanging on the tree despite the snow. But these leaves are encrusted with amazing tiny icicles glistening in the crisp air. The more you look at them the more you see so they are here for you today. Look around your garden or nearest green space and see what you can find to amaze you.

leaficicles