The cold, the snow, our health and lockdown – all these conspire against us in our need to connect with nature. If I’m out for too long in the cold and damp, my joints tell me all about it the next day, protesting at their mistreatment. I am reluctant to walk on icy surfaces – the risk of a fall is scary. The risk of catching Covid 19 is also scary.
How do I stay in touch with nature? I look through my window.
Every morning I open my back door, feeling the cold wrap round me, the damp in the air. (I shut it quickly when it gets too much!) I look to the sky, see the colour of the clouds. Are they dark grey angry or pure white scudding past? Are they reaching down to touch the tree tops? Are they driven by wind chasing them across the sky? Are they sulky, dragging their feet slowly on their way? Are they pierced by shafts of gold that highlight the tips of branches, bouncing sparkles off rain drops?
All this will tell you much about how the day will unfold, and the more you watch and take notice, the more you will understand what is happening out there, the more you will connect, be able to anticipate the day to come.
Door closed, curtains open, I watch the wildlife. The occasional cat on the roof of a shed in the distance, not curled up lounging in the sunlight in this weather, but prowling, stalking prey. A solitary squirrel bouncing from branch to branch. Who knows where his urgent errands are taking him?
Heavy pigeons crash land on the tops of trees, making the branches dip and shake under their weight. Magpies shout their presence. Count their number. Crows stand out black against the leafless branches.
Hedges shuffle their leaves with the constant movement of smaller birds. Coal tits bob their black heads. The resident robin eats the seeds left out for him. Blackbirds rustle low to the ground, their yellow beaks giving away their location.
And despite the cold, there are signs of new life. There is a solitary yellow flower on the mahonia. Two brave shoots of green are pushing their heads through the damp-dark soil. Are they daffodils? I will have to wait and see, marking time till Imbolc.
One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret
never to be told.
Written by Portland Jones, PF Disabilities Liaison for West Midlands