Tag Archive | seasons

How tiny are we?

A bit blurred, but here she is glowing behind the earth's shadow - thanks to Charley for the pic!

A bit blurred, but here she is glowing behind the earth’s shadow – thanks to Charley for the pic!

There are times when I feel utterly lucky to live in a house so uniquely connected to the rhythms of the land. Last night was one of them.

I admit, there are also times when I bemoan it! Times of unstoppable draughts and exposure to freezing elements. Times of mud caked single track roads that are treacherous and slow. Times when I’d just like to dip into a bit of coffee culture nearer than an hour’s drive away! And times of threat from living so near to the sea.

But times like last night, watching the awesome lunar eclipse, with my lovely daughter also awake with the excitement of it, makes me realise it’s worth all that!

It’s worth the draughts to watch sunrises and sunsets as they pass seasonally round the windows. Windows that look out in every direction across a uniquely natural landscape which stretches as far as the eye can see. A house that sits with the rhythms of the turning earth as wild geese in winter or summer swallows call the seasonal changes.

The moon shine starts on our East facing bedroom window and works it’s way around to the South facing one as the night passes on. It lays ribbons of sheen upon the sea then upon the bed as I’ve left the curtains open a crack to watch it. Last night I couldn’t help but get up to watch the phenomenon of the eclipse.

At first the light was strong enough to cast shadow and illuminate the land as if it was daytime. Then as I watched it dull to bruise red, a mist came up on the land and blurred it all, yet up high the stars were still as clear. Finally the shadow on the moon moved over and the brightness returned and I returned to bed wondering how I’d manage living in a house where I couldn’t feel this connected to the earth. An earth which really matters more than tiny little me!

When I’m in the city a commercial culture rules all and it’s easy to believe that is all that matters. I can become entrapped in the cosmopolitan and the superiority it breeds over those that live and work rurally, day after day, far from a man-made culture or a froth topped coffee.

When I’m here and able to witness such incredible phenomenon, that leave me more shaky with excitement and awe than with tiredness, it brings my mind home again to the things that truly matter.


Mad hares and swallow moments

Bluebells to look forward to

Bluebells to look forward to

I’m excited now the equinox has passed! Now that from this time on, for six months, there will be more light than dark. Despite irritating disruptions like clock changes I shall be waking in the light and there’ll still be enough light after supper to meander outside.

Outside things are changing. Mad hares have been leaping. Birds are home making. Shoots are surging and bursting open and when the extra light shines on me I feel like doing the same. There will be bluebells to look forward to and one of these coming days I might even toss my thermals off!

Thermals are required both inside and outside this house. Apart from the fact it’s old and draughty and I get damn cold sitting writing, I also try to ration the heating for both budget and planetary reasons. I want to go on enjoying this light and atmosphere and it needs preserving for those coming along behind me so they can do the same.

Winters can be challenging and I know I’m taking conscience a bit too far when it’s so cold in the house the dinner won’t defrost. But when it’s bad I light the log fire. Or hoovering is good for a warm up – the house is much cleaner in the winter! And I have jumpers that reach my knees and plenty of woolly rugs.

Now though, with longer hours of sunshine, I can utilise natural radiation and sit by a sunny window. Sun warmth penetrates deeper and faster than any heating and although I may have grown soft with modern comforts I appreciate the sun’s heat and the turning of the season more than any fire. So I do what I can to preserve it, however little a drop in the ecological ocean that may be.

It all helps.

And whatever little action you take will help too. Never think it’s not worth it.

Because all these little actions we take, added together, not only make a difference in lessening the impact you make upon the earth and its atmosphere and sunlight, are also a message in example to others. It may influence others’ actions.

Just like everyone follows a trend, like saying ‘hey’ in greeting instead of ‘hello’ for example which changes societal behaviour, we can change people’s behaviour towards the earth by our example and create new trends and habits. A good one to start with would be not to buy wet-wipes – have you seen the damage they do?

So, yea, I’m getting more than a little excited to see that added sunshine. And if any words I write here in my appreciation of it educates others enough to change one small thing they do to help preserve it, then I’ll be well chuffed.

Just as I am chuffed to see the sun rise each day, to witness the first feathered arrow dart across the sky as the summer swallows come, or see the mad hares leap about the fields in mating games.

And after writing this I will get up and leap about just as madly in order to warm up and resist putting the heating on so that the order of the natural world is disrupted a little less by pollutive habits.

May I plead with you to do the same and make one small change in your actions today, thus setting an example to your children and future generations and showing them how important is this earth?

Memories for your loved ones

autumn14 007You know the time of day when the busyness ends; when you get in, put shopping away, make supper, eat supper, tuck children in bed and, duties done, you finally sink down onto the sofa with a big contented sigh?

Well, I always think that’s exactly what the earth must be doing right now.

It’s settling itself into the soft shoulders of the season its bounteous duties done. It’s drawing its resources back into the ground to nurture and enrich it for next year. It’s laying low whilst autumnal gales race and roar through stems, ripping off the last of the leaves and heaving down those branches not strong enough to bear another growing season. The animals and birds hunker down in the earth’s embrace, managing to survive on the minimum of nourishment that remains around them and sleep it out until it’s worth going out again.

Quite frankly, I sometimes feel like doing the same.

But eager for exercise and light, and keen to see what’s afoot in the changing tides of landscape, I go out.

Sometimes it’s unimaginably still and calm and quiet, maybe with just the faintest of distant ploughing noise, or ethereally misty when the silence is only punctuated by the robin’s shrill melodious solo.

Other times the elements slap me round the ears, pour tears down my face and I huddle by the hedgerow like the winter blackbirds before returning to that settee to watch the Blue tits from behind the comfort of the window. They cling to the rocking feeder and sometimes pop into the bird box for shelter too.

And although we bemoan the drawing in of the dark at this time of the year, the elements still give us something spectacular.

I watched many an autumn sunset fall over city rooftops as a child. Now I get to watch autumn’s most majestic finales across the uninterrupted scape of sky that this fen land offers. I get the light from horizon to horizon. And if we go to the marsh or the estuary we get it doubled as it reflects in the water.

The sunsets at this time of the year are the most spectacular, igniting the sky far better than any bonfire. We watch until dark, silently sharing with grown up kids now too mesmerised to speak. Silhouettes of birds go out to river for the night. Pheasants chuckle from the dark land side. And hares scuttle across the path of the headlights as we hurry home again and hand the night time land back to them.

So despite the desire to hunker down indoors, get out and observe the passing of a season. Seek and share a sunset with your loved ones, however little or large they are; they’ll always remember.

And never be too busy as a parent to give some time to making them those memories!

last of 2013 022


Peculiar seasons of the soul

How peculiar the season is this year! peculiar autumn14 012

We’ve had August temperatures in October when it’s been warm enough at times for me to sit on the step outside with a lunchtime cuppa.

We’ve had the rich scent of a spring flowering shrub, flowering now despite the fact it’s not spring. And that’s mingled with the perfume of late roses. I’ve collected one for the table – it’s alongside the Christmas cactus, also deciding to flower out of sync with the season.

And I’ve just discovered the stems of a miniature daffodil rising up beside a pot of viola and nasturtiums still surviving despite the first frost.

peculiar autumn14 004

Daffodils shooting up already!

Very peculiar!

Although we like to think we can, there’s just no predicting nature.

There is no predicting our own nature either!

I find my own seasons come and go just like nature’s, flushing me through with emotions either blossoming or bleak, bounteous or barren. And our children are just the same. You can almost see the changes in their moods flash across their lovely faces like clouds on a blue sky. It all gets a bit difficult to manage sometimes.

So this is to reassure you, especially if you’re going through a particularly challenging season with the little ones right now, that there is one thing that is comfortingly constant through all this unpredictability; things always change.

Children and nature. Seasons and souls.

Whatever is feeling difficult now, won’t remain so. However peculiar their moods and emotions are they’ll pass; they too experience seasonal changes. As you do. We all do. Nature does. And it’s important to acknowledge your own as well as theirs, let them be and let them pass.

And incidentally, there’s no better tonic than getting all outside and seeking the delights of this season to help lighten the spirits whilst you do so.

A seasonal delight – gossamer strung across the fields catching the autumn sunlight

B off winter…

003  Ice up the windows again this morning. Flipping Nora will winter just B off!

It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed the spectacle of snow covered vistas. Or the jewels of frosted ice hanging off stems and stiles and wires. Or cosying beside the fire in those long dark hours. But those long dark hours take a toll on my mentality when I am light starved. I do go out and brave a battering every day but it’s not enough.

Move over winter. Give me some light!

I know there is a slight lightening now, not long after I’m awake. There is even an extra hour at the other end of the day. And I know that in between has changed too, infinitesimal it may seem as the temperature plummets yet again and the poor cold birds have hardly enough energy to forage round the bird table. I know how they feel.

But I need more light yet to keep me sane. With more light comes more energy. My sap will rise the same as the twigs’ I examine for burgeoning buds. I’ll feel a surge of singing coming on like that cheeky Robin, breast all bright and showy. And the ever increasing light will pull me up from winter blackness towards a more illuminated life.

Can’t wait. But maybe it’s just as well we have winters, for without would I appreciate all this? You need contrast to appreciate what comes next. Cold to appreciate warmth. Wet to appreciate dry. Work to appreciate leisure. Hardship to appreciate the comfort we mostly live our lives in these days.

Easy to take it all for granted really.

Although, the way I’m feeling now, winter is one of those things I’m definitely going to appreciate once it has gone!