A February Nature Walk

One of my intentions this year has been to live more in the moment and appreciate the small things that perhaps I would previously have rushed past without acknowledging. It’s all too easy to spend so long planning, grafting and worrying about the future that we completely miss out on the present. It feels like a cliché to write, but I’m sure it’s true for a lot of people.

A couple of weeks ago, I turned a quick errand to the local shop into a “photo walk”. I wanted to see what I could capture and appreciate of a seemingly mundane route that I do most days. I wanted to get from A to B, but in a way that pushed me to be present in every single second of it rather than losing that time in a zombie-like state of tunnel-vision.

I find it quite amazing that even the beautiful hellebores and daffodils that had come in to bloom seemed to be appearing to me for the first time! The soft green of these hellebore blooms with their vulnerable, gracefully drooping gait had previously faded into the background. The daffodils growing in the shadow of shrubbery beneath a metal barrier had completely escaped my attention until I made the commitment to look deeper.

It’s one thing to appreciate flowers when they’re in bloom, but it’s even easier to overlook them while they’re still struggling their way through the soil and dried leaves like these tulips below. The edges looked like they had been nibbled and their colourful blooms were still far from appearing, but I couldn’t help thinking of how determined they seemed. Perhaps this is a metaphor? We’re so used to celebrating something after it has been achieved, but we often fail to celebrate the experience of growth itself.

Even the cracked, uneven edge of a path provided the opportunity for a photograph. I loved the way the gap between the path and the grass divided up the frame, and how catkins had gathered in the middle. One of them even looks like it’s wriggling itself free.

I walked past a tree with some early blossom which I always find beautiful, but it was when I looked back towards the ground again that I noticed the bright petals gathering in the gutter of the road. What you can’t see from this photograph is that a few of the petals kept getting gathered up by the wind and spun in a little twister before falling back to the ground only to repeat it all over again. It was like they were dancing.

The final photograph is one of my favourites. It was taken along one of the roads less than a minute from my house that I walk along every single day, but only when I was really looking did I notice these lovely almost perfectly circular mounds of moss growing in the cracks on the top of a wall. They look almost like fluffy little sea creatures.

So many of these small treasures I just would never have even noticed if I hadn’t been walking with the intention of seeing them. There are other moments that I didn’t capture, perhaps because the light or angle wasn’t quite right or it didn’t seem appropriate (like taking a photo into someone’s garden), but it wasn’t the capturing of the image that was important, it was the fact that I saw, acknowledged and appreciated something I would have otherwise missed.

I hope that inspires you to get your boots on and go for a walk in your area. It doesn’t have to be very far or for very long and it could be a journey you’d already be doing. If you do venture out, I’d love to hear how you get on in the comments!

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