Sunday Sunrise

Took ourselves off in our little Bongo for an overnight stop at Tan Hill Inn ~ the highest pub in the UK last night.

We had a slight food issue which was a little grrr.  Phoned to ask if they could cater for a vegan, they said yes, got there and they said no!  This inn is on the middle of nowhere and we had already sampled a couple of beers so we were driving nowhere.  Luckily we had enough breakfast with us to eek out 2 meals.  Oh and some frazzles!

The surroundings of the peaceful Yorkshire Moors with sheep and birds more than made up for it and this beautiful sunrise would have been worth missing a meal for (*possibly*).  Beautiful spot, beautiful morning.  Happy Sunday everyone!

Sakura, springtime and reflection

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I appear to have got distracted from my planned next post!  I fully intended to write to you a little bit about my trip to Orlando…and then I kept seeing photos popping up on my social media of all the sakura (cherry blossom) in Japan right now and I felt I wanted to write on that instead.  Pinky promise that some posts on my vacation will be coming up real soon though.

I love all the seasons for different reasons.  They are part of the cycle of life for me, they remind me how things start and end, how the world keeps turning and that life goes on regardless.  Winter is a time of snuggling, crisp days and woolly hats.  Autumn is full of glorious colours and piles of leaves made for kicking.  Even hot uncomfortable summer (assuming we get one in the UK that is!) when I can’t sleep or go outside because it is too sunny has bluer than blue skies and house martins sweeping overhead  Spring though holds an extra special spot for me and every single year I am reminded how much I love it.

 

Yellow daffodils in spring

Photo by ColobusYeti

This time of year is when that part of nature that has been having a jolly nice winter snooze wakes itself up and everything springs back into life (pun intended!).  Seeing all the crocuses, tulips and daffodils makes me smile and feel all sorts of happiness inside.  There is such joy in them.  Buds appearing on the trees and bushes delight me more than the leaves that will take their place.  There is an energy that I feel at this time of year that lifts me up and makes me happy to be alive in a way that no other season really does.

Cherry blossom sparks off all these happy feels big time and I love seeing the trees erupting in that all too brief moment of fragile beauty.  It is a stunning sight wherever it happens in the world yet nowhere seems to take it quite to heart in the way the Japanese do.  Sakura (the Japanese word for cherry blossom) seems to be something all Japanese love and I have been lucky to experience cherry blossom season there several times giving me a huge appreciation of how important it is to them.  People stop to admire the blooms wherever they appear.  Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties spring up in parks, by canals and in graveyards.  Social media is full of snaps of cherry blossoms and shops or restaurants awash with sakura themed items.  It seems to take over daily life from the eagerly awaited first sightings of blossom until the final bloom has died.

The Japanese love for cherry blossom runs much deeper though than it simply being something pretty to look at and it is something that really rings true for me.  They value cherry blossom not simply for its simple beauty or for the festivities that accompany it, they also find a message in its short yet brilliant existence.  It is a reminder that life is brief and fleeting.  Life slips by so very quickly without people really noticing or accepting that one day death will come for them and cherry blossom reminds us that life is short, amazing, precious and something that we need to enjoy, take note of and be thankful for.  Life is for living and for me, spring serves as the perfect reminder for this.  So next time you see some blossom, take a moment to consider our fragile yet awesome existence.

macro shot of cherry blossom or sakura

Photo by ColobusYeti

 

In Defence of Winter

Frosty moorland at Geltsdale in winter

Photo by ColobusYeti

It seems that as soon as New Year has been and gone (if not even sooner), I start hearing people wishing the winter away for warmer and longer days. You rarely hear people say that it is their favourite season, all the others have their fans but poor old winter seems to be the one in the corner with no friends.

I love winter, okay it may not be my favourite season yet there is something about the season which really speaks to me. It has much that comforts and brings me pleasure. The cold and stormy weather when it comes encourages hiding away and cosy times wrapped up in blankets. There are moments of stillness that you simply don’t seem to find at other times of the year, things are resting, waiting for the work to be done in spring. When I wake up on a cold, sunny day with frost clinging to the grass and plants or breathe in that cold crisp winter air, there is a delight that no other season equals for me.  And if it snows…boy am I like a small kid!

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People accuse the winter of being too bleak and I guess that yes it can be bleak, that bleakness though is something I enjoy. Seeing nature stripped back to its bare bones is something that brings me so much pleasure. Trees stripped back to their bare forms are a sight so intriguing and beautiful to me, tracing the branches and twigs show the life of a tree in a way I cannot see when it is covered with leaves. It is now when I feel most connected to the living world around me.

Tree silhouetted against a sunset

Photo by ColobusYeti

At the same time though winter is not colourless, there is always something to spy whether it is the red berries on holly or the sunshine splash of winter jasmine. Winter sunsets seem to have hues and brilliance missing from their summer counterparts. And that moment when you see the first snowdrops peeking their way through the ground! Followed by the bright colours of the crocuses and all the signs of nature waking up again! This sight always makes me smile.

I like the personality of winter, it seems quite introverted to me with a little hint of temperament! Apart from the big dollop of festivities in the middle of it, winter seems to have periods of being withdrawn and then exploding in to life before settling back down for a little snooze again.  So yes I love winter, it feels like a kindred spirit. It provides time for contemplation and thought that I don’t seem to find at other times of the year, it is a time of beautiful bleakness and of a feeling of resting soon to be erupt into the joys of spring.