The blackbird is the first to sing during the dawn chorus.
It’s four am and I hear her chirping
No other bird is making a sound
The blackbird is another sign of spring
I don’t mind being up early, while it’s still dark
Especially as the blackbird is awake with me
It warms my heart
And tells me that today will be a good day
I need a good day
And I desperately need the signs of spring
The winter has been long, hard and wet, with never ending rain
I need that blackbird to sing
I’ve heard a rumour that April will be warm
Much warmer than usual
In the 20’s I’m told
April will also bring the full dawn chorus
Such hope and such joy this news does bring
A hope for life
And another winter won
I can rest in hope now that spring has begun.
Spring is most definitely in the air despite the periods of relentless rain. Crocus and daffodils are pushing their necks out of the ground, and they are adding glorious pockets of colour to my days. Such joy. My mood is improving slowly but surely, I’m isolating less, and I’m having more clarity of thought. Gratitude is what I’m feeling as I write this short piece of freewriting (I adore freewriting, it’s shown me that I do have lots to write).
But winter is a bastard, an effing c of a nightmare that I often struggle to get through!
This year my mood dropped at the end of December, and my thoughts darkened. I began to obsess about suicide, and I researched methods on the Internet, and purchased some pills which I believed would end my life.
Motivation and pleasure from activities deserted me and I felt hopeless. Situations which involved close contact with others was a struggle and I avoided people. Ultimately I was overwhelmed and tried yet again to take my life. Disappointed that I didn’t succeed, but the disappointment that I tried to end my life pushed me into accepting help. I’m now attending a therapeutic day unit. It’s a short term program for a few weeks, enough to get me through until I am able to keep myself occupied and productive.
My energy always improves in the spring. If only I could hold back the self destruction long enough to get me through to the lighter, brighter and warmer days.
My thoughts are much clearer now, and I am enjoying my studies. I had my coursework for over a month before I could even open the folder. Eventually I realised I had to just begin the first exercise, I couldn’t wait until my motivation returned, I had to simply take action without expectation. I’m so grateful that I did because I find it has brought joy and satisfaction into my daily life.
I’m looking out for signs of spring now. I’m not waiting for motivation I’m acting as if I’m motivated, and I’m finding signs of spring right now. Recovery is action. Hope is important but I can’t hope my way into feeling better, I have to put the effort into hunting for joy and gratitude.
Writing is magical – it transports us. As you sit ready to write this exercise, close your eyes for just a moment. Recall the last time you were out in the elements. Feel the wind, snow or pounding rain on your face, the chill in your bones. Open your eyes when you’re ready to write about this. Stay in the moment as you write.
The sky was bright, though it was cloudy. I expect the cloud must have been thin and the sunning burning bright behind it.
I sought out the winter flowering blossom. It brings a tear to my eye to think of it. It’s my beacon of hope. I’ve nearly survived this winter. I took out my phone, I had to take a photo, a momento of my being beggining to leave its dark winter home. I give thanks to a god that I don’t believe in. The signs of spring mean so much to me.
I heard the flutter of wings and turned my heard sharply, in time to catch a flock of pigeons urgently seeking flight. A predator must be around. Alas, its only a Magpie, no majestic Sparrow hawk for my mind to marvel at. There are people at the bus stop so I secretly salute the bird, with the saying “hello Mr Magpie, how are you and your family.” I realise there is only a single bird, “one for sorrow”, the words are an arrow to my heart, but I can’t stop the thoughts and fears arising. Suddenly a second bird appears, “two for joy”. I breath a sigh of relief. They briefly circle the tree then land. I notice one of them is preening small twigs. They’re forming a nest. Spring, another sign of spring. Yes. How marvelous.
To be honest it’s been a hard winter. I lost all interest in the people and projects that matter to me, and getting through each day has been a chore. A pointless effort with no reward. I’ve been in a very dark place, I’m still there on many levels.
However, today I felt some spontaneous hope. As I left home to attend counselling I realised it was light. The bus journey was diverted, and I found myself feeling excited to be living in London.
The past week I haven’t felt anything positive, but I have been putting the effort into positive behaviour. I’ve undertaken some photography for a long term project, I’ve read through some of my course literature, and I’ve undertaken a little writing yesterday and today.
Spring is just around the corner, and I’ve been looking for signs of it:- the growth of my trees, lighter afternoons, crocus and daffodils emerging, trees budding, and winter flowering cherry.
One of the things that true for me is that I have wonderful friends, and I seek additional support for my mental health. But life has still been a struggle.
Spring is a time of greater joy, energy and enthusiasm for me. Come on spring, please hurry up.
As you know, I love nature and I go birdwatching whenever I can. Now that I’m in London, the London Wetland Center is one of my favourite haunts. During late summer I was able to shoot dragonflies, and an early winter visit meant I could shoot some lovely shots of a heron. If you’re ever in London then it’s a lovely day out. You can plan your visit by looking at the WWT London Wetland Center website.
Although I was unable to get a decent photo of a Bittern on my last visit, two have returned to the centre in recent weeks, and it was such a delight to see. I made the mistake of taking my intermediate telephoto lens (40-150mm) instead of the 75-300mm. Maybe I’ll get a photo next time.
At this time of year when
The night is drawing in,
The leaves they start to fall,
And my work can begin.
Cold and dampness penetrate,
Into muscle and bone,
I’m searching, watching out for you,
Will I find you alone?
Do you hear that rustling?
Or that suspicious crack?
It’s only the courageous,
Who stop and dare look back.
Hill of Tara, Hill of Tara
Samhain’s nearly here.
Spirits rise to claim your life,
At the end of the Pagan year.
Aos Si the Fairie
Are waiting to surprise,
And take you to the underworld,
Unless you’re in disguise.
You may trick the Aos Si
With mumming and fine song
But I am death! I’m winter!
If you think you’ll live – you’re wrong!
Winter is the season
That’s the hardest one to cheat.
It’s time to rest your shrivelled soul
And lay it at my feet.