As anyone who has read my blog knows, I love to walk. Walking brings freedom, space to think, an opportunity to ‘just be’, peace and solitude. As a therapist I find I need some peace and solitude, walking allows me to leave other people’s woes where they belong. I do like to go for the odd long walk with friends. The onset of the month of March has brought some nice sunny days even with a chilly lazy wind (goes right through you, too lazy to go around) it has been good dry walking weather. My legally wedded has decided to walk with me the past three days which is nice insomuch it is nice that he wants to share my time but part of me wants to walk alone, it is what I do. Also I like to choose where I walk. However, on reflection I am jolly lucky to have somebody who wants to be with me. Today he wanted to walk to look at something he is considering purchasing and, suggested we walked to the showroom together, I was not keen but as I was able to ensure that the route we took was up my favourite lane I agreed. Life is like that, negotiation, give and take. Anyway I know that as soon as the weather turns again I will walking on my own. 🙂
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?
- 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.
I know some people do not like the long winter months which can seem to go on forever without an end in sight. Sometimes I long for some warmth to the winter sun too. But, I try to see Winter as a time of gestation, Mother Nature is nurturing the new green shoots which will burst out on us. And as Nature holds close the bounty we will enjoy later in the year we too can be hatching our own hopes, dreams and aspirations and watering the seeds of our destiny. The dark evenings and long nights are a perfect opportunity to go inside of ourselves and take a long hard look at where we want to be in the future and what we want to be doing with our lives. A time for mindfulness and meditation and as surely as we see the snowdrops, crocus and other spring flowers pushing through, so we also see little bits of colour appear in our lives apparently from nowhere which will joy not only to us but also those around us. Always look for the treasure within.