The countryside was bathed in sunshine this morning when I set off for my walk, very chilly but sunny. Daffodils nodded their pretty little heads in the cutting breeze and in the hedgerow new green leaves sparkled in the light. I love this crisp mornings full of promise of better weather to come, as I walked up the lane I felt very thankful that I have beautiful places to walk and enjoy nature. As I mused on how lucky I am, I started to think of someone I know who is having a bad time at the moment and momentarily felt guilty for being so happy. I say momentarily because, I reminded myself that we each have our own experiences and it is not for us to hijack the experiences of others as our own. We can offer help to others, if asked we can give help and support but the events we experience are ours, the events other people experience are theirs. If we wallow in the sadness, worries or concerns of others we are showing ingratitude for the gifts of joy given to us.
Having missed my morning walk the past couple of days due to work and private commitments I was pleased to see this morning was dry and sunny albeit frosty. I actually like frosty mornings, the air always seems so clear and clean. It was one of those wonderful mornings when the ice crystals were caught in sunlight as it streamed through the trees giving a totally magical effect. I trundled off down the lane, despite the miserable weather we have had the buds are showing themselves resilient as they start to clothe the hedgerows, primroses and daffodils are giving splashes of yellow here and there and the blackthorn has blossom (very important for those of us who make sloe gin). I decided to take a little wander into the grounds of the golf course. To my utter delight I found a huge patch of blue violets, there little blue jewel flowers brightening up a dark corner, there leaves edged frost diamonds. I adore these little gems. I remember when I was a child there was a huge patch growing wild at the edge of a spinney on a neighbours land just the other side of the brook that acted as a boundary between our properties, of course no brook (or hedge) acts as a boundary to children. One day I came home and found the trees in little spinney had been grubbed up alongside all the other vegetation. The farmer had decided to incorporate the land into the adjoining field. I was devastated and cried over the loss of those violets. Of course as children we don’t understand that changes must occur, things and people come in and out of our life. That is the rhythm of this world. Anyway, today I had the delight of these tiny weeny little flowers that I find such joy givers.
Today my walk took me around Hurcott Woods, it is a beautiful walk, the thing I like about it is I can walk the perimeter in approximately 45 minutes and get a decent workout with fantastic views. I start by walking along the pools at the bottom of the hill with the huge ancient oaks and chestnut trees banking on my left, firstly the big pool where the ducks, geese and coots live then the smaller waterways where trees grow out of the water like swamp land (no alligators in Worcestershire though ), then the climb that is bordered by a narrow country lane with high banked hedgerows. The wood at this end always reminds me of the forests I walked in, in Germany, the trees are all evergreen firs. At the top of the hill and all along the top of the wood are fields which today are a beautiful spring green as the early barley makes it’s presence known. WE then drop back down to the car park through bare prickly larch and silver trees standing tall and elegant. Throughout the walk I noticed little pointy, green shoots, the promise of a carpet of bluebells later in the spring. I love bluebells! As I walked and observed these pointy little shoots it occurred to me that bluebells will have bloomed here for hundreds of years before I was born, and they will bloom again after I have gone. It matters not if I come and see them, they will push up through the earth in glory of colour. Long after my worries and anxieties have passed there will be bluebells. That is what I love about this country, no matter what else changes some things are constant … matters of nature just go on with or without us, sort of puts stuff into context doesn’t it?
The sun shone this afternoon hurrah! It wasn’t wet underfoot hurrah! The temperature rose to above freezing hurrah! In fact is was almost tropical at 5 degrees centigrade. So boots on and off I went for a nice walk. I recently noticed a signpost for a footpath I have not seen before, so I decided that today, would be an excellent day to investigate. I was so glad that I did because it took me up the side of a farm yard and out onto a field path. I was treated to loads of fresh air, nobody else in sight, beautifully ploughed fields, peace and quite. I even managed to see a heron as it took flight from a fishing pond I passed. I love to see herons and storks, I always think there is something prehistoric about them. Even though I am fond of taking regular walks up a local lane and looking at the changes in the hedgerows, this afternoon was a real treat. It does us good to go to get out of our ruts now and again. The breeze blew away my cobwebs and I thought of some new ideas for a course I am putting together. Fresh air, exercise and new ideas, what could be better?
- No matter if you take the same walk every day, there is always something different to see including people, birds, animals and plants. Buds appear, bloom, die and berries take their place. Even the sky and clouds provide a picture of constant change.
- Walks give us an opportunity to put some distance between us and worries or concerns. If we immerse ourselves in nature we can often forget our problems and woes. Also, a little distance and time to think often helps us to find a new prospective and solutions to problems.
- Health benefits, some research suggests that walkers have less incidence of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other killer diseases.
- If you are unable to walk in the countryside find a safe walk where you live or work, you may get to know the locality better and meet interesting neighbours you did not know you had.
- Walking to help us to loose and maintain our weight. Walking helps us to build healthy lean muscle, lose inches of fat, and pump up our metabolism; of course if we are walking for the purpose of losing weight we have to still use common sense with our diet.
- Walking in common with other forms of exercise can improve our mood and help with stress relief. Walk and other exercise leads to the release of the body’s natural happy drugs – endorphins.
- Walking is free!!
- You don’t have to have specialist equipment. Okay so shoes are important you don’t get far in high heels
- Unlike other forms of exercise such as tennis or badminton you don’t have to rely on other participating with you. If you want to walk alone you can. Of course some people prefer to walk with friends or walking clubs.
- You can wear a silly hat and crazy boots and nobody seems to notice.
One day last week a friend rang and asked if I would like to visit a local arboretum with her. Yes I would! I had often thought how I would like to visit that attraction. It transpired that another friend of ours was offering us free entry tickets because she was off to sunny climes. The tickets had to be used by Sunday 17th February. Yesterday morning when I woke up I remembered it was the day of the outing yeah!! The sun was shining yeah!! The weather forecaster said the sun was going to shine all day yeah!! Then I realised that it was going to be one of those winter days when the sunshine is lovely, when viewed from within the house, because, it is flipping freezing cold outside and the sun does nothing to warm the biting wind that slashes one’s face and hands. I thought maybe it would be better to stay in the nice warm cosy house, drink hot chocolate and watch ‘Ski Sunday’ on TV, I knew if I rang my friend she would take little persuasion that the arboretum could wait until the bluebells are out besides the entrance fee is not so expensive after all. Then the little voice started in my ear, the one who always urges me to grab whatever opportunity comes my way, the one that tells me I can have a boring safe life and never go anywhere or do anything or I can enjoy whatever presents itself to me. The little voice that points out “I can’t be bothered” means “I cannot be bothered to experience life, I prefer to fritter it away”. So I dug out the gumboots, hat, scarf, gloves and thick jacket and took the five mile drive with my friend to Bodenham arboretum where we amused ourselves taking loads of photos of bark and early plan buds, we were entranced by winter sun lightning up beautiful silver birth and deep russet redwoods, we admired reflections on water, shy snowdrops and cyclamens. We saw magical colours and shapes that get lost in summer’s hues. We enjoyed each other’s company and chatted and laughed together as three hours flew by as we wondered through woodland and fields before returning to the visitor centre for coffee and cake. I am so glad I did not give up a day to remember in favour of an armchair and television viewing. I have photographs to make a collage with (one of these days) and loads of ideas from nature for future weaving projects. No matter how simple an experience is, don’t let it pass you by, it might be gem that does not come your way again.These two pictures were taken at Bodenham Arboretum which is worth visiting http://www.bodenham-arboretum.co.uk/
Today I spent a lovely day with my sister who lives in Evesham, Worcestershire. The journey over to her house was lovely in the February sunshine, as often happens in the winter months, the river Avon has bursts it’s banks. I managed to take this snapshot of the meadows under water. I got to thinking, a lot of us love to walk or, sit by water and find rivers and lakes serene and calming. However, the farmers who, needed to move their animals out of this pasture land, and, have had to look at their fields under water for weeks on end are, probably not too happy, and, may not see a lot of beauty in the water on their land.
Life is like that, time and place is everything. However, in six months time when we have hot summer days the floods will be out of our minds and maybe we will be hoping for rain. Everything passes even troubles and worries.