As we draw towards the half term break, I can feel the chill creeping into the morning air and the colours of Autumn become more evident with each passing day. Perhaps it is the COVID inspired break, but somehow we seem to have just a little more time in our lives just now to stop, pause and reflect on some of the smaller details of the world around us. And we are told that this ‘noticing’ is a very positive thing for having good mental health...the more that we stop and really listen or stop and really look, the more grounded we are and the more able we are to put other things in perspective.
Each morning as I stand and wash up the breakfast dishes, I can watch our resident red squirrel (Sidney - since you asked) busily working away to stock his larder for the lean months ahead. Watching his earnest endeavours, it is impossible not to stop and reflect upon how much we can make ourselves busy with things that don’t really matter and fail to leave enough time for the things that really do matter. So I have resolved to be a little more like Sidney...I will get busy with the things that really matter and stop being distracted by the things that don’t.
And if squirrels aren’t your thing, then look to the birds in the hedgerows, the deer in the field or the seals basking on the sands. We are blessed to live in such a vibrant corner of our planet where, within a short distance of your kitchen window, it is possible to see a host of creatures getting busy with their lives.
So, perhaps as half term approaches and with limits on what we can do to entertain ourselves, you might reflect on the words of John Muir:
“Keep close to nature’s heart...and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
John F Gilmour