. . . adventures and discoveries
August is a time for holidays and escapes, for visiting new places, embracing change and celebrating difference. Adventures may be big or small; journeys of a life time, or just having the time to explore what’s on your doorstep.
Head to the coast and there are entire little worlds to explore in the rock pools, and discoveries to be made in the shape of shells, pebbles, fossils and other beach-combed finds.
Head to the country and there are new walks to discover, unexplored territory waiting to be found.
And as the month wears on even familiar paths begin to look different – fields have turned to golden stubble, leaves have darkened, and there are hips, haws, berries and seed heads to find.
. . . Golden light.
This is the month to plenty of sunshine. The days are sun drenched and the garden is parched. Out in the meadows beyond the house the grasses have grown up, and there are seed heads to pluck and brush through.
This is also the month to enjoy long summer evenings in the knowledge that they are lessening minute by minute with each day. Late afternoons take on a magical quality, the flowers in our pollinator friendly patch become backlit and we are treated to some beautiful sunsets.
The heat brings a feeling of wanting to strip everything back, to rid mealtimes and living areas of fuss and clutter. Simple meals of fresh produce and time spent outdoors, away from possessions, are what we crave, staying outdoors in the evenings to marvel at what already exists around us – the first stars as they appear in the twilit sky, the bats taking flight, the faint scent of jasmine on the air.
. . . magic
There are walks to enjoy across the meadows where the grassy slopes have turned to a haze of golden buttercups. High above, feathery cloud formations stretch across the sky where swifts speed and the buzzard circles on an ever upward spiral.
Later in the day, just before sun down, the golden hour casts its own special magic. Dusk brings fluttering bats, who brush past us as they swoop low over the pond. And as the sky turns to indigo the white flowers in the garden begin to glow.
Longer evenings, lantern-lit, are spent outdoors. Midsummer approaches, bringing a sprinkling of magic.
. . . Growth
Everything around us is blossoming and blooming. Step outdoors and it’s possible to feel the energy; life surging through the new shoots, sap rising in the trees; leaves unfurling and buds bursting.
There are lots of little things that make May special – wandering home from the village with a plant chosen from the honesty box at No 92, nurturing the garden and seeing it grow, watching the birds raise their young, spotting solitary bees, picking posies, feasting on asparagus, and peeping into the copse beyond the house to admire the bluebells.
Here’s to this frothy month of floral delights, burgeoning hedgerows, and flourishing meadows.
. . . Anticipation
The April breeze brings a warmth that we had almost forgotten. Each year that first Spring sigh comes almost as a surprise. Experiencing it unlocks a yearning for sunshine and greenery, and each day we look at the garden a-new in eager anticipation of the things to come. The opening of buds, bright blooms in the borders, and the buzz of bees on the wing.
The anticipation of each new day begins with birdsong, as more voices join the gradually building dawn chorus. The days lengthen too. And when night falls we listen to the grumble and gribbit of the frogs and toads. The garden is coming to life at last.
Opening up . . .
After months of enjoying the cosiness of winter, of shutting ourselves away, by March it feels time to start reconnecting. But this year that feeling is stilted. Our walks through the village and out along the lanes bring us only more winter. Snow is heaped in drifts along the wayside, scoured by the wind into miniature landscapes.
I keep my eyes peeled for hares, but no luck. Robins accompany us, flitting along the hedgerows; eyes bright, heads cocked. We glimpse deer, and above us the all-seeing kites soar. Perhaps they are looking out for signs of Spring too.
. . . cherishing the things you love most.
There is something special about February. It’s a month full of anticipation, of small joys, and of secret wishes. Spring is just around the corner, but a part of me wants to hold on to that feeling of life being temporarily placed on pause. This is our last chance to enjoy winter’s magic.
There is beauty still to be found in the bare outlines of trees, and the sparseness of the winter landscape. Along the lanes, where our eyes can look far and wide, it feels as though time is still on hold, and the natural world has not yet awoken. We’re not yet ready to launch ourselves fully into the busy-ness that comes with spring. Energy levels are still re-charging.
The minimalist landscape, devoid of leafiness, has an austere glory. A frugality that makes this month’s little celebrations all the more poignant. The taste of pancakes with lemon and sugar (the simplest of feasts); the feeling of warmth that comes from spending time with loved ones. The hope encapsulated in a clump of snowdrops; the cosiness of curling up inside on dark days, listening to the rain, or the wind as it races through the copse. The relief that the garden can wait just a little longer, and our spare time can be spent enjoying other pastimes instead.
. . . Reflection
January may be a time for new beginnings, but in this coldest of months it can be hard to find the enthusiasm to launch whole-heartedly into new things. I prefer it as a month of reflection, particularly when the cold weather brings with it clear blue skies, and sharp air; weather for bracing walks to de-fog the mind and encourage thought, coupled with a return to the warmth, where notepad and pencil in hand, in front of the woodburning stove, those thoughts can be laid down as plans for the year ahead.
Coming after the end of December’s merriment, January’s frugality makes it a month to be remember to be grateful, and to turn our appreciation towards the little things and simple pleasures that each day affords. For light on dull days which end in a sudden sunset blaze beyond the back garden, for the open fields in which to wander, for clear night skies filled with a multitude of stars to reaffirm our humility. We are not the be all and end all of life on earth. We share this wonderful world with a multitude of other life forms, each playing a part in keeping the whole alive and in good health.