Mindfulness – an early Spring walk

The sun was shining today so I achieved something I’ve been failing miserably at since Christmas.  I went for a walk. A whole hour in the sun and the fresh air!

The first thing I noticed as I went up the hill was my aching legs.  Obviously my laziness has not gone unnoticed by my calf and thigh muscles.  But I pressed on.

Next thing was the snowdrops.  They are at that perfect stage just now – almost open but not quite.  Hundreds, maybe thousands of them, glowing against the mud and the dead stuff and the dirty brown of the hedges.  I found myself wishing that I’d brought my camera, but hard on the heels of that thought came an insight that I’ve had once or twice before.  Let me explain.  I have photos on my computer, in folders with names such as Spring 09, Winter 08/09 and so on.  The photos are of sunsets, spring flowers, ferns opening, bare branches against January skies, lambs in fields, Autumn leaves, etc etc.  Things that you can see every year.  Things that can never be captured adequately on film.  Things that are always immeasurably better if you see them for real.  And finally, things that never lose their freshness and always make you glad to be alive.

So let’s save the camera for times that aren’t going to come again, like young children playing, birthdays and anniversaries, holidays and special occasions. And let’s get out there as often as possible and renew ourselves daily, weekly, season by season.

After that it was just one thing after another.  Tight catkins waiting for the warmth of spring.  Pennywort and Hart’s Tongue ferns and fluffy moss contrasting beautifully against the brown, dead leaves and ferns and the tightly cropped hedgerows.  Young lambs skipping in the fields.  Water rushing in the gully beside the lane, and pouring out of the hedge after the recent heavy rain.  (Hey, that rhymes – maybe I’ll try poetry one day).  And the sun was warm (in places!)

By the time I got home my mood was more positive than it had been for days.  It would be silly to claim that I’d forgotten all those wonderful things were out there on my doorstep; but it certainly did me a lot of good to be reminded.

Of course it’s raining again now, but I know that Spring is coming and I plan to looking out for it.

When I got home I cut some twigs from the garden like we used to do as children.  Sticky buds from the Horse Chestnut, and some green and red stems from Cornus, in a glass on the kitchen windowsill.  It might be a bit early for them to come into leaf, but we’ll see.

I think this could be counted as an hour of Mindfulness.  I’d like to do it more often.


>Isolation and efficiency and how they have come around to bite us in the backside…

>This has been a day of being pulled in many directions. After a series of cold, dull, grey, wet, typical January days, today the sun is shining brightly. Although the cold is even more bitter, it is a day with possibilities – getting washing dry, early Spring gardening, walking in the country lanes, or even the (previously waterlogged) footpaths. Spring cleaning…

Suddenly full of energy and enthusiasm (a slight exaggeration this), everything suddenly seems interesting and exciting and I want to pursue every little detail. The current rash of Darwin articles, tv and radio programmes has made me keen to know more, to read “The Origin of Species” and to explore the ideas and the conflict with creationism.

The Origin of Species, of course, ought to wait till I’ve finished “The Adventure of English” (Melvyn Bragg) which has been on my bookshelf unread for several years. And “Stephen Fry in America” which was a Christmas present. And “Bad Science” (Ben Goldacre), a gift for my birthday. And all the time I’m seeing, hearing and reading new stuff that I barely have time to take in.

My Resurgence magazine arrived a few weeks ago, and I opened it for the first time today. Only to find that “Slow Sunday” was on January 25th, and I’ve missed it! Is that ironic, or what? Over lunch, I flicked rapidly through the articles, wanting to read them all but knowing that there wasn’t time. One was a transcript of a Commencement address (not really sure what that is exactly) by Barbara Kingsolver at Duke University, North Carolina: a speech which illicited several “that’s what I’ve been saying for years…” moments (there’s a word for that, but I can’t find it just now). The most vivid of these is the idea of the “age of isolation and efficiency and how they have come around to bite us in the backside”…

I found the speech on YouTube, HERE… and I’ll be sending a link to 3kool, who finished university last year, as it seems to be of some relevance.

Meanwhile, I must go and make a list of things I want to read, and things I want to think and write about. Oh yes, and get on with that Spring cleaning…

>A "normal" day?

>Week 2, day 2 of my new regime: a nice Spring day today, and I’m off to work in half an hour. Mustn’t grumble though, having 2 extra days at home has really paid off so far.

At work yesterday, I spent the first hour or two interacting with colleagues and teachers round the school. There were serious network problems and I tend to be the one that communicates these things to the “clients”. The others are too focussed on solving the problems to spend time recognising the difficulties they cause to the users.

Then I settled down in my “new” office to do some serious work of my own. Two teachers were working in there much of the day as well, which was a little distracting. But apart from the network boss coming in twice to discuss ideas with me, I was left very much alone to get on with it.

Being left alone is something I have longed for, and it feels good to have time to get my head around things. However, I must guard against becoming a recluse, and always make the time to talk to the other technicians, and join in with their work when needed. They won’t ask, I know, so it will be up to me.

Can’t wear proper shoes to work at the moment as I had nail surgery last week, and it’s quite sore. I’m getting up about 45 minutes earlier in the mornings to bathe and dress the toe properly before work. This gives me time to write here as well, which is good. What are the chances of me continuing to get up early and post my blog once the toe is better? Slim, would be my guess.

8 o’clock, time to put the toe sock on and go out to face the day…