I am always talking about the benefits of getting out into the countryside; the green fields and the chirpy birdsong usually manage to lift the spirits for a while at least. It’s always a comfort somehow to see the same old trees in the woods standing stoically strong; their trunks immovable and their roots firmly planted alongside the path where we often walk deep in thought. How many footsteps must have passed their way over perhaps hundreds of years and how many more still will? I can look at the trunk of my favourite tree in wonder. I can sense a benevolent charm in its being and almost see a kindly expression in the depths of its bark. And then I can look up and see its lofty branches reaching for the light. It knows what to do, my tree, it doesn’t need a set of rules or list of suggested requirements for better tree development.
I am a bit of a scaredy cat – I have even written a book about a scaredy cat. I am one of those people who sometimes have to cling on tight to the things I hold dear in times of strain and here is where I find nature has many ways of literally grounding me. We may not find the soultion to all our problems but we sure can get them more into perspective after a walk in our favourite part of the countryside.
Last week we took a break from Dove Lane and spent a long weekend in Devon. I can’t recall a time the countryside has ever looked more beautiful but maybe the spring has a way of renewing our outlook and refreshing our surroundings so that every time we revisit it is like the first time.
Walking through an apple orchard it was as though we could breathe life from the abundance around us and win hope from all the promise; we could listen to the music of the birds and see the beauty of the surrounding colours. A million petals seemed to gleam and red buds sparkled, the bees were busy in each open flower preparing for the vital matter of honey. Beneath our feet there was spread a carpet woven of many greens, of sunlight, and spring flowers. The last of the bluebells lowered their heads where the ferns were uncurling beside them. Trunks of old apple trees leaned at random angles; all shapes and blotched with the lichen that Mother Nature inscribed on ancient barks. Against a curtain of apple blossom we could see a blackbird flitting about – who alone of the birds can put imagination into song like him?
Some of the later trees still held their buds tightly clenched, as though half a hundred Springs had taught them to fear the oncoming of summer, yet Mother Nature gently commands, and soon every reluctant bud will open to fulfill its destiny.
So when we are being a scaredy cat – when we have those days when we can’t cunjour up much effort to stride forward – it is good to look at all the signs around us and take the reassurance that everything turns and moves and goes full circle. I could almost imagine Pamona the wood nymph who was reputed to be the goddess of fruitful abundance talking to me with all her ancient and modern wisdom. I certainly felt she was making us welcome – her light laugh mingling with the surrounding sounds. I think she was saying “I do love this time of year best, although I shouldn’t have favourites; it is dear to me because it is all about life – and the promise of good things to come later. And remember, dear one, no winter lasts forever.”
And that is what I feel we need to remember – good things will come.
‘The Earth laughs in flowers’.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Anton the Brave Viking and the Scaredy Cat is a children’s book based on some members of our family. Great to read to your kids or to yourself when you need cheering up a bit!
It is available from http://www.blurb.co.uk or email me and I’ll have a copy winging its way to you in no time!