the first snow

wildlife

After an evening of snow and a day of rain, we had a night of star studded skies. Frost lay on the ground and sparkled in the end of year sun.

IMG_0506The sun is at is lowest ebb, spilling milky rays across the chilled earth. By swimming in a warm lake and gathering round a fire in the surrounding forest, we celebrated the summer solstice a whole six months ago. But now is a time of lengthening days and gradual renewal.

BeFunky_20141224_151951.jpgAfter six months of living above our heads, the leaves are now and thousand-and-one amongst our feet. Like a November firework or the setting sun, their last act is their brightest.

imageWith the leaves on the ground, cold branches stand stark against the sky. On the ground below, snow turned to ice and chilled our feet.

imageIn the one of the days between Christmas and New Years Eve, we ventured to the high point near our home. Surrounded by heath and woodland, Thurstaston Hill stands overlooking land and sea. The estuary reflected the glistening horizon and in the distance, turbines whirred in the sea air. Our daily lives may be more concrete and tarmac, but we all need these wilder spaces.

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a breathing space and the bumblebee

gardening, growing, wildlife

In our little back garden, we are striving to do big things.BeFunky_Chromatic_1sunf.jpgThe human message of our outdoor spaces, from cities to farmland to gardens, is so often about control and manipulation. Instead of battling nature with sprays, powders and weedkillers, we celebrate the life that creeps and crawls, flits and flies.

BeFunky_10592608_10152306932396376_1623240755_n.jpgWhy not embrace the living things that move in naturally? Why not see the weeds as the wildflowers they really are?

BeFunky_10588683_10152306930781376_2137402374_n.jpgWe cannot rely on the odd nature reserve to sustain wildlife. We can start by maintaining our gardens as breathing spaces for ourselves and the life that inhabits it.

BeFunky_Chromatic_1cour.jpgWe have watched wildlife flourish and grow in our small patch of green. It has been a life affirming experience.

BeFunky_10588540_10152306932411376_619164706_n.jpgBut our garden is not just a breathing space for creepy crawlies. It’s productive too. The first carrots we harvested were spindly and mightn’t win first prize in a beauty contest, but crunching into them is a moment of summer that isn’t forgotten. BeFunky_Chromatic_1.jpgaJust like our own lives, as the seasons roll by, there is life and death, growth and decay. BeFunky_hen4.jpgIn quiet corners of our garden, we leave nature to do its thing. It mightn’t be neat, but it’s alive.

a walk at sunset

wildlife

Tonight, the three of us took to the coast.

The days are shortening, but there is no hint of the damp days and dark nights to come. We are sliding into August and the sun is still rolling up high in the sky, before falling back down into a flood of gold and amber.

BeFunky_beach.jpgHoneyed light hung across the estuary and coastline. Water, sand, wheat, shone every shade of gold in the setting sun.

BeFunky_mead.jpgOver two summer nights, we walked along Thurstaston, with its open vistas of the estuary, and Heswall shore, between a rolling golf course and the grassland of the Dee.

BeFunky_2014-07-01 21.jpgNights like these are the summers we imagine and the days we so rarely get- soft light, birdsong, warmth.

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walkA paraglider soared overhead, silhouetting the arch across the setting sun.

sunSometimes, our hearts become entwined with a time, a person, a place. For me, the open coast, in front of a setting sun, is one of those.