Making time to stand and stare


It's an incredibly busy time on the smallholding at the moment. I have had several blog posts on my mind since the last one but very little to write them! Please bear with me and forgive my silence as the land requires all my physical and mental energy at the moment.

Since the Spring Equinox, hours of daylight are increasing before they culminate at the Summer Solstice. We have now passed Beltane, the half-way point between the two and in response to the lengthening days, nature is very busy. Plants are growing fast and for the tender ones, it is still too early for them to take their place outside in the garden. Space inside to accommodate all these "not quite ready to go out" pots and trays is becoming very tight and some plants are going leggy. It is such a pressured time for a gardener! And this year, with the added pressure of supplying produce to customers next month! Sometimes, I find myself running between house and polytunnel, polytunnel and potting shed... I feel stressed and even exhausted at times, finding it difficult to keep up with the pace.

As always, at times like these, I reach out to nature to soothe and ground me. I make time to stand and stare at the busy-ness and fullness of nature in May as a way to take a step back from my own busy-ness. I go and sit outside in the field and watch the landscape to help me achieve a sense of inner perspective. The green rolling hills of Mid-Wales that I can see as far as the eye can see have become a firm anchor point for me to reach a calm and peaceful place within me to give me the energy and the strength I need to support myself during this super-busy time in the garden.

At the weekend, I went to check the various bird boxes in the field and I very much enjoyed not only what I found when I gently lifted the lid of each one with care and anticipation, but also stepping back and watching the birds coming and going for a while, noticing their behaviours as they were working so hard at feeding their young.

Walking in our fields, I noticed bluebells and cowslip which were not there before, when the sheep grazed there. The meadow grasses are getting taller and the lanes are lined with cow parsley, now replacing the daffodils which have passed. The newly created cottage garden is coming into life with many plants blooming in there. Aquilegia are currently putting on a great show in the beds at the front of the house too.

There is so much pleasure to be had from slowing down and taking in the full growth of nature at the moment. Despite the pressures on my time to keep up with the gardening, especially growing the produce for the veg bags, I am determined to make time to stand and stare, to notice and be mindful, to bask in the beauty of nature in May and to marvel at those seemingly little things that have the power to energise me and make me feel alive and well. I hope you make time to do the same - our well-being depends on it.