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I have goldfinches in my garden! (well, not all the time)

Posted by: on 02-06-2020

Well, hello there, and don't you look well?  (Marvel at my psychic powers - another new skill I've acquired during lockdown).

As you can see from that rather catchy headline, I have turned ornithologist as well as expert gardener.  I'm still worried about the mint I bought a week ago - that is where my "green thumb" seems to fail, that and the fact that I usually lose interest in the garden after a while and wander back out weeks later wondering why all the plants are dead.  At the moment I have a table of plants.  I have forgotten what some of them are, but they are thriving and I assume none of them will morph into "Audrey II" or a triffid.  I pop out a couple of times a day and look at them.  And sometimes the shoots appear in between those times.  It's fascinating.  Who'd have thought that things growing could bring such joy and calm?  Weird.  Like our circumstances at the moment.

There are lots of sayings that boil down to this: Take joy and happiness in the little things.  And, I think, this lockdown has accentuated that.  Things are easing, but we are nowhere near to "normal," whatever that is.  Popping to the shops may involve a half hour queue and an acceptance that you might not get everything you need, even basics like flour.  Seeing our friends is just that.  The two metre distance prevents the closeness we may have had before.  Even a hand on the shoulder isn't allowed.  Some people are very tactile - I am.  I miss not being able to give a student a high-five; a poke in the arm with a ruler is just not the same.  Going to the cinema, wandering round Primark, going to the swimming pool.  None of these things are essential in the eyes of the government, but they are to some people.  And without them, life can seem empty and pointless.  

Which is where nature comes in.  Well, it's always been there.  In fact, to steal a poem from Rik Mayall and change the first word:

"Nature, all around, sometimes up, and sometimes down."  (He actually wrote it about pollution, but that's reduced at the moment)

June is also "30 Days Wild" month, organised by The Wildlife Trusts.  And it does just what it says on the tin.  Every day you can complete an activity linked to nature.  It's not onerous - yesterday the students in school did a Wildlife Bingo activity, meaning they went outside and looked for specific bits of nature.  Like a rabbit.  Or a beetle.  Now bear with me.  This may seem "lame," as the youngsters may say, but it's not.  It's a kind of mindfulness.  If you've ever tried to spot an animal, I can guarantee that you are more likely to see the little critter if you're being quiet and still.  Except maybe a hungry lion.  Then, jumping about and shouting may be beneficial.  Right up to the moment you help the hungry lion become a lion.  So, whilst you search for a ladybird, you have to slow down and really see what is there.  In our house, there are two kinds of ways of looking for lost items.  A "mummy look" and a "daddy look."  The "daddy look" involves standing in the middle of the room and whinging about how you can't find a specific item.  The person involved glances around the room in a superficial way, not really looking at all, waiting for someone else, ususally me, to find said item.  Now, a "mummy look" is much more effective:  One thinks about where the item may be and starts to look thoroughly.  This, crucially, does not involve anyone else and the look is not abandoned until the item is discovered.  Independence and resilience.  My favourite kind of look.

Being mindful, about nature or your Nintendo Switch, is a great way of calming yourself and helping you centre.  Being in the moment can help reduce your anxiety and worries.  And if you are practising mindfulness in nature, you get the added bonuses of fresh air and vitamin D (although you do need to put on sun lotion and wear a floppy hat - my children hate my floppy hat with a vengeance, and so I wear it at every opportunity).  

The link to 30 Days Wild is below - why not take a look and see what works for you?


Stay safe.





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