2016: the year of spaciousness

Because there's more to life than work


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Why is noticing nature important?

We’re all busy. It doesn’t matter if we only notice nature at weekends or on the telly on Countryfile, does it?

Well, any awareness is better than nothing, but it’s the daily stuff that makes the difference. It means we’re pausing out of our oh-so-busy lives and noticing what’s actually happening, right now. You can call it mindfulness if you want (very fashionable just now), but really it’s just being prepared to pay attention, to be alert to the possibility of wonderment in everyday life.

I’ve just walked into our kitchen to make a coffee, and a charm of goldfinches alighted at the top of our cherry tree for less than a minute. No time to take a picture – soon as I’d registered them they were off, away in a dipping and soaring cloud to their next vantage point. But they brought a smile to my face, and reminded me that this is the third time I’ve seen them this week, but with bigger numbers in the group each time.

I find that the things I notice in nature – the barn owl swooping over flooded fields seen from a train at dusk, the birdsong while I’m writing my to-do list at the start of the day, the daffodil giving me the first real hit of yellow this year – are the things that stay with me through the day and beyond.

Daffodil February GoldAnd I think that’s why we all need nature regularly – it’s the stuff that feeds our souls, that lifts us out of ourselves and helps us to notice what’s happening in the huge amazing world we inhabit. And yes, a flowering daffodil is just as much a part of that as the Amazonian rainforest, the Alps or the icy landscape of the Arctic – and it’s right here on our doorstep.


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Wednesday in white

IMG_2624The whites in the garden have been dazzling today, although when you start to look more closely it’s clear that quite often there’s a tint of another colour in there too – this Chaenomeles or Japanese Quince is a variety called ‘Apple Blossom’ and you can see why when you look at some of the other flowers:

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IMG_2623The exact balance of pink to white on each flower is different, giving a lovely overall effect. The magnolia is similar, with a faint blush at its base:

IMG_2619Totally different effect with the daffodils though – this is definitely a creamy yellow:

IMG_2628There are two icy whites in the garden though – the Osmanthus delavayi (I don’t know its common name, sorry!) which is just smothered in pure white honey scented flowers that some early bees were enjoying:

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IMG_2637And the honesty seed pods that have lasted right the way through the winter.

IMG_2629Loving this spring light and freshness!

 


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Reflections on the past year – and spring flowers

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Wow, I’ve been so busy with work that I actually missed my blogiversary on the 19th – can’t believe I’ve been doing this a whole year! Thanks to everyone who’s liked my posts over that time, as well as the hardy souls who follow my blog 🙂

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What’s changed since I started the blog?

  1. I’ve learned that I can make a success of running my own business – just coming up to the anniversary of going full time on that, and all is well
  2. I’ve also learned that knowing when to take breaks and rest your mind is absolutely vital to being able to continue to do that
  3. I can actually work our digital camera for the first time in ten years
  4. I’ve got a lot more into gardening and nature as a result of paying more attention to what’s happening in the world around me
  5. IMG_2594I’ve become more relaxed about posting – I blog when I feel like it rather than trying to impose a schedule. As an awful lot of my life is deadline focussed, it’s quite nice to have something creative that isn’t.
  6. I’m following about 100 more blogs than last year at this time – it’s a real highlight of my day catching up with what everyone’s writing about
  7. I’ve posted comments on other people’s blogs for the first time – I’d never done it before this year, but it’s really nice connecting with people half a world away
  8. My knowledge of geography of the USA has got a lot better – I like to see where other bloggers live and as so many of them are ‘across the pond’ I’m finally starting to get a grip on some of the states

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Its also fun to look back on last year and realise that spring has hit a lot earlier than last year at this time – although the sunshine through my patio door today is deceptive, we’ve just come back from a walk and the north wind is absolutely bitter. We could just see snow on the hills in the Lake District in the distance, so even though we’re past the equinox there’s a whole lot of warming still to happen. But the colour and light in the garden today tells me it won’t be long…

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I’m looking forward to another year of blogging and seeing what it teaches me – not to mention what I’ll learn from everyone else 🙂

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Soft light

IMG_2507The yellow and green of daffodils just seems to perfectly pick up the light at this time of year. The days are rapidly getting longer, and when I went for a run this afternoon there were sheets of crocuses out – so much earlier than last year.

IMG_2509White, yellow and green and this soft, low angled light just sum up spring to me.

IMG_2511IMG_2521I’m thinking that next weekend might involve a bit of tidying up the pots, buying some flower seeds and getting out of the office and into the fresh air of a new season. Can’t wait.