The Paradox of Winter

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There is something very special about seasons which change every three months. It is a gift of nature more marked for those of us who live further from the Equator, although, also there, different wind and weather patterns  play a season role.

Living in northern England, we can love the leaves changing in autumn, but have  faint dread of the colder winter coming, Of course, if it is a day of clear skies and minus two degrees Celsius or so ,the world is wonderful and the cold is crisp and very special. But change that to plus one degree Celsius with a wind and deep cloud cover and the land and the mood is not uplifted but depressed and weary. Winter.

As I write, in mid January, I hear the birdsong of a blackbird who has been day after day at the top of the old beech tree, singing and singing into the leaden sky. It was Christmas Day when I first noticed him and he brightened the complete time of daylight. Clinging to the top branch, swaying in the cold breeze. The bird has come and sung numerous times in the same tree since. He sings in the early morning, he sings in the mid afternoon and as dusk creeps into the light,he gives a final song before dark. We may be finding winter gloomy but the birds are out, singing, snatching seeds gratefully at their table and active .Winter.

The grass of the lawn is uneven with brown, dying patches, and moss patches are breaking out in brighter greens. And there around the edges, the promise of new life as daffodil shoots come through and stretch out for light and set themselves free from being brown bulbs. I marvel at this promise of life to come and promise of it coming soon . And hidden in the shelter of a small tree, the first snowdrop is still encased, but ready to break out and bloom. Winter. 

So the birds sing through this winter and the flowers know there is a new day coming and in the middle of the winter both can put out the promise of spring and regeneration.And creation wraps that blessing of daylight around them as the earth in the north has turned passed the winter solstice.

Winter, a hard and cold season ,has been given treasures from creation to relish and use for sustenance, for encouragement , for our nurture. The light has shined in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it .

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The horror of a roof as an investment 

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Ask a ten year old ,nay a five year old ,what is a need in life , A hug ,aka Love? Food, a secure sleeping place ? Aka a home ..
Stop , think , what is your answer?

Then where is the justice in making a home a thing of investment and profit for self? Or of basic food being overpriced for profit , or the greed that fails to share love ?

Just asking

Catching an evening

Just waiting, just waiting.The sun is dropping quickly in the sky,  the dusk will come and suddenly the darkness.  This is the time  when the edge of the sun’s power is slightly chipped away.The rinsing of sticky hands and face can be a little less frequent. The light slants and shadows appear.
In the town, the pace of traffic slows and the pace of people powers up the commerce. It’s a time of special change in an evening hour. I love it, but today it’s just a little bit more precious.

The air is gently moving as it cools slowly by ten degrees or so. 34 degrees to 24. Maybe it will dip to 22 tonight with slight dew fall in the morning. But the air is restful as it slightly rustles the leaves.It’s cooling is gentle and relaxing and a longing to live longer in this hairdryer warm world stirs.Mindfulness of moments is acute tonight.

The dogs bark backwards and forwards and the cockrel mutters a quiet goodnight. The loudspeakers in town a mile away are background beat and the frogs croak in the ditch. Crickets fidget in unity and the silent lizard scales the wall.

Power is solar tonight and water is a little bit short.The cooking develops on the outdoor stove and the toddler gives exhaustion cries.

The food is delicious and everyone is sleepy. The call of the lead singer rouses the household to evening prayer and the melodies of praise gently envelop the house and all who dwell here.

I don’t want the intrusion of a mosquito net but spray it anyway and surrender to it’s protection. Did I remember my anti malarial today?

And now, passed midnight this world is quieter and the evening flight to Europe, I assume, has flown overhead as the lone reminder of air travel.

Time to sleep before the jolt of tomorrow.

//https://www.youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/new-dormitory-for-school-children-/322669″ title=”Fundraising for Uganda”>

Infection

Eveyone has their temperature taken on arriving at Entebbe.The nurses all wearing masks.Ebola may not be far away ,but the risk is low .There are other common illnesses that do change nations demographics still. And unnecessarily. Unfair for those who suffer. Often a result of haphazard neglect of educating about simple preventative measures. And inadequate provision.
Is it a scandal that the world has neglected adequate toilet and drainage and handwashing facilities for so many? Is it not an animal instinct to have a clean nest as a priority? The twenty first century sees mobile network providers being far more savvy at marketing than sewer manufacturers or toilet makers.It must be one of the biggest untapped markets .( no pun intended) Please,if you are a toilet manufacturer or economist or WHO person ,please can you tell me why the neglect. Don’t say money ….why the low low priority? Don’t say ignorance … We have had the information for 150 years ..

Unpaid leave

I have a lot to be thankful for.  I am taking a spell of unpaid leave and my colleagues are very happy for me. Which is not a given. I thank them for being so supportive.

It has caused me to reflect on the need for change , the different ways it is embraced and how it is sought out , if at all.  I, more than most , perhaps , love the warmth of bed and sleep and often struggle to lift myself from its comfort. Sleepy,idle or not keen on the disruption, getting out of bed  has to be done. I have even been trained to do it at very inconvenient hours. Not in a formal way as such, with advice on how best to do it , but with the shrill urgent call of a bleep calling to whatever emergency a delivery suite  or neonatal unit or casualty department  has to offer.

Kreislaufstoerung  is a wonderful German word. Getting out from the horizontal to the vertical , to the safe to the urgent , to the known to the unknown is uncomfortable .It is also invigorating , stimulating and raises the heart beat to a new awareness of surroundings and new possibilities of being . We are created to explore and seek

So the first irritation of change can be welcomed but if we find that a struggle, a planned timetable for change can be sought out.Repeat this a few times in life  and a new understanding of surroundings builds up . An new awareness of the other ways and a new resolve that flexibility can be exciting and not a threat. And this is why a period of prolonged leave can enhance an individual’s well being . It can enhance an organisation and community too.

Thank you Spectrum Wakefield for allowing me change .

( and I shall have to be changing my  blog’s strap line very shortly )

Beekeeping in the Snow

Beekeeping in the Snow

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We all know, in northern Europe, that it has been a late snowy winter and that many humans are already fed up. Why won’t the Spring come ? We need it to be warmer.

We may think of the Selfish Giant described by Oscar Wilde and remember the snowy and icy garden of the giant who would not let children play there. When he relented, the spring came and the summer and the sound of happy children playing in his garden and giving him joy. The joy of seeing others happy was perhaps greater than seeing the beauty of nature. Quite something to think about for those of  us who may struggle with generosity.

But animals and bees are also struggling to welcome the first signs of spring. We see the lambs, not surrounded by daffodils but by snow drifts and cowering in fierce winds. And bees, whose queen tries to rapidly grow the colony at this time of year by laying and laying, are sitting in clusters trying to keep warm and fed. The bees of the colony have no way or where to forage for nectar and pollen. So its artificial feeding with sugar syrup , just to get them to a flowering Spring. Will it come in time ? Alas, for a few brave bees this week, they came out on a flight and returned only to  land on the snow, unable to take off again and dying  within a metre of the safety and warmth of the hive.

But the sun is warmer, now, eleven days into official spring. We feel its stronger rays and are encouraged to look skyward and see a little bit of blue sky and a very large promise of warmer and brighter times. Don’t give up a few metres from your hive of help,opportunity or hope.