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What is this life, if full of care.... butterflies and pond life

Date posted: Monday 30th March 2020

What is this life, if full of care.... butterflies and pond life

This blog is going to focus only on all the positives – what’s going on in the natural world on and around our allotments site this early springtime. So many funny, witty, inventive, thought provoking and inspirational video posts on my WhatsApp from choir members and ex-colleagues, keeping spirits up through the first week and into the second of lockdown. We’ve had a week of relatively warm sun so people have been taking the opportunity for light exercise on their plots, but two days ago the wind turned cold and we’ve now had short showers and much cooler temperatures, somewhat depressing the spirits during home isolation. Meanwhile, two weeks ago the first sand martins were racing and wheeling over Rick Pond in Home Park from their nesting banks alongside Raven’s Eyot in the river.

The first brimstone butterfly fluttered over my back plot 28b last Monday but didn’t stop for a photo op. Two peacocks sighted three days ago, settling on bare earth and probably just emerged from their overwintering habitats.
Voluntary lockdown will take it’s toll, and it must be so very challenging and hard for so many people in so many different circumstances. I’ve been going up to my plot as much as to sit and watch as to gently hoe and weed. In these unchartered and unprecedented times it’s more important than ever to take time out from social media and all things screens and online chatter to be still, breathe, take in the burgeoning regrowth and life going on all around us. It’s good to sit:
“I say it a lot, but don’t take my own advice often enough. Experiencing nature is about slowing down – stopping, in fact. The stiller you stay, the more you see. Nature confides when you’re not blundering through it. But that’s only half the story. The rest is attention. It takes mental effort to stand, orient, step and not fall on your face. Backroom brainwork for sure, but it still absorbs neutral capacity, and so the best way to see is to sit…I settle…in the dense matrix of rosemary stems I notice…furtive movements of dunnocks and a chaffinch, pecking at spilt birdseed. A wren peeks. Robin sings. Long-tailed, coal and willow tits return to the feeder and tree sparrows skirr past in a small, hectic squadron….There’s another movement in the rosemary and I realise a young rabbit has been there all along – less than a collie’s standing-leap from the dog’s snoozing muzzle. They are all stay-at-homes, I realise. Despite wings and swift feet, their lives will likely be lived wholly in the area I can see now…For these little homebodies, this horizon is all there is. And I’m reassured it can be enough.” (Amy-Jane Beer, Country Diary, The Guardian 28.03.20)