Wow, February already. I can’t believe how quickly January came and went. In the Northern hemisphere we are seeing some early signs of Spring, the frogs have spawned, the crocuses are coming and in some places the daffodils are already out. Imagine my delight when I witnessed Great Tits inspecting an empty nest box that I’ve had in the garden, unused for the past three years. In the Southern hemisphere it must be the promise of cooling down and for some places, it is their rainy season.
I don’t know about you but in the winter I do miss my connection to nature. Not so bad when the weather is cold but bright, but when it is rainy, miserable and grey, grey, grey. Nature is so important for our well being. I know I sometimes think I have too much to do to get ‘out there’. Sometimes I am put off by the fact that it might be a bit muddy, or there’s an icy wind blowing. I really have to make it my February resolution to make more of an effort because when in nature I feel I can breathe, it calms me down (If I’m not), it brings a smile to my face and I aways get back refreshed, glowing and in a much more relaxed carefree mood.
I do have friends who go out into nature every day, and I know it has helped them through some pretty dire stuff, it’s great to see the benefit going out every day has done. It’s silly really but we go to the doctor to get some help, when nature is there helping us just by being there.
This winter I have been troubled by a hip problem which has meant that I haven’t been able to walk very much at all. I hadn’t realised just how much I would miss being in nature. Just imagine when, after months of not being able to out, I did a short walk on the beach. Just watching the sea, breathing in the sea air, walking on soft wet sand, which actually helped my hip a lot I really appreciated what I have around me. My next little foray was to a little corridor of woodland between two housing estates, I stood in the middle of the woods delightedly hugging a tree, listening to bird calls and the rustle of dead leaves that were covering the ground. It was heaven.
Through these experiences I have learnt that by not going out when I could, I was denying myself sheer pleasure, exhilaration and heart bursting moments. I really don’t want to deny myself ever again.
I still can’t walk far but the places I will walk to will be places that are as natural as they can be, and if they are not, I will still appreciate the water running along a man made canal, a tree in someones garden, the patch of grass between concrete. I am also sure that when we appreciate nature, it responds by being the best that it can be.
Take yourself off into nature as much as you can. Really stop and breathe it in, look at it with eyes that appreciate the way it looks, touch it, feel it. It is such an uplift, no pill can equal it.
I’m lucky in that I have created a beautiful garden and I can get into the garden at any time but I have had to learn not to look at the weeds and notice all the jobs that need doing but instead to look at what the garden has to offer, to appreciate everything that has chosen to grow for my benefit, and to joyfully appreciate when I see the frog spawn in my pond and the little hole that a mouse has made under the ferns and that cheeky little flower that has shyly peered above the dead leaves. It’s all a matter of appreciating. Appreciation deepens our experience and gives us new eyes and new ears, opens our hearts and brings joy.
These last few months have been a real lesson in appreciation and the more I practice it, the more joy I am experiencing and the more childlike I become, I have found that there is so much to get excited about, just by being in my garden or walking along the street. Little things that can uplift and feed our spirit.
Wishing you a joyful February full of new, joyful experiences and simple wondrous pleasures - Patricia