Since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the pace of my life has slowed considerably. But I don’t feel that that’s necessarily a bad thing, as it has given me the chance to immerse myself in nature on daily walks. I’d never have been able to do this pre-fibro as I was always too busy dashing here, there and everywhere, never stopping to take notice of where I actually was at the time or what was going on around me.
I find that the simple act of taking a mindful walk in a peaceful, natural environment and observing how nature changes with the seasons helps to calm my ever anxious mind.
Some time ago, I began to note down what I see on my daily walks in a notebook and started making more effort to learn about the world around me, observing the changing seasons as I go. I suppose it really amounts to taking a slower and more mindful approach to nature and my immediate environment. Whilst I do find that meditation is helpful, I often find it hard to sit down and mediate in a structured way when at home but I feel that these walks and observations are a type of mindfulness mediation for me.
So anyway, onto March, the month where you see and feel the natural world awakening from its winter slumber. As the saying goes “March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb”. As I write this, it’s still too early to tell whether the “lamb” element of this will prove to be true. But the “lion” has certainly been on the prowl, as we’ve been battered with high winds on many days so far this month, so the daffodils in bloom around the village are looking decidedly bedraggled. Even when it’s been sunny, there’s still been a chill in the air that catches in the back of your throat and it’s still been very much winter coat weather by and large. Nonetheless, the fields are at long last beginning to dry out after a soggy winter meaning that I have been able to transition from wellies to walking boots, a real sign of spring!
From a distance, the trees still look bare but looking closely at the branches signs of life are emerging. The hawthorns leaves are out now and the hazel trees are sporting their yellow catkins and minute red flowers.
In the fields, verges and on the edge of the copse, there are clumps of blooming primroses and the vivid yellow cheerfulness of the lesser celandine and coltsfoot are a contrast with the surrounding hues of green and brown.
In the shady areas of the copse, the first of the pretty star-like white wood anemones beginning to flower, low to the ground in between the glossy bluebell foliage which is already carpeting much of the woodland floor. The presence of wood anemones is a sign of an ancient woodland as the species spreads at such a slow rate. I find this a grounding thought and wonder about those who have walked through these woods in the years and even centuries before.
The birds are beginning to be much more vocal as well, getting themselves ready for peak bird song over the next couple of months. In the fields, there’s a yellowhammer sitting on the hedge in the spot where there’s been one for the past few summers. It’s a great vantage point at an intersection of 4 fields and he sits proud singing his little heart out with his “little bit of bread and no cheese” song. I’ve also heard and seen woodpeckers (green and great spotted), buzzards, red kites, chaffinches, dunnocks, wrens and chiffchaffs amongst others whilst out and about in the local area.
In the garden, a female blackbird has been busy building a nest in an apple tree and there have been greenfinches and siskins in the trees as well as the usual visitors – sparrows, wrens, goldfinches, blackbirds, wood pigeons, collared doves and robins.
Much as I adore my favourite season, winter, I do love to see the natural world wake up in spring and find the morning birdsong very therapeutic and beautiful. I’m looking forward to what April will bring!