Saturday 23rd May

In our pond - when we had one!

Springwatch has started on the BBC this week. Like most programmes at present, it will be what can be seen from presenters' homes, rather than on location. Apart from the scheduled broadcasts on BBC2, there will be opportunity to look in daily on the Springwatch Facebook page and look at presenters' diaries.

We have been watching the eccentric antics of Grayson Perry and his guests on his Art Club on Channel 4. One week, he invited viewers to produce artwork based on what could be seen from the windows of their homes. There was some fascinating and beautiful creations as well as a sketch from one lovely lady who was legally blind! She could glimpse blurred images out of the corner of one eye, but that was all.

This Spring has been remarkable, not only for what we can see through our garden windows, but also what we can hear. The silence without traffic hurtling past. The lack of aircraft in the sky. The ability to hear birdsong without interference has been a joy. The birds and other animals do seem to be so much bolder around the garden. Even if you don't live near the Great Orme in Llandudno and have wild goats in your front garden, you may well have had other unusual visitors.

Surveying the landscape?

We've seen more butterflies than we usually do, partly because the weather has been so good. The birds are loving the birdbaths we have put out for them as well as drinking from our little fountain. We have also been prompted by a family member to put out a shallow tray of water with stones in it for the bees. This year, we haven't missed a flower! How often do you come back from a week's holiday or a visit to family and say, 'Oh, that plant has blossomed and gone over while we've been away.' There has been so much to notice that we probably were too busy to stop and observe in 'normal' times.

So, while we miss watching our grandchildren growing up before our eyes, other than via the internet, there have been compensations for those of us lucky enough to have a garden and a view from our window. This may be a difficult time for many, but for those of us who have found time on our hands it has been a time to look at everything differently - whether it be out of the window or into our souls.

That's something else we need to watch. Our mental and spiritual well-being. I guess for many this will be a difficult time, being forced to remain confined in our world. But I hope that, at least for some, it will be a time of healing and a return to wholeness. We must all look out for those who are not so fortunate in the weeks and months ahead.

During lockdown, our church leaders' group has met on Zoom every week. One of our Elders, Elaine, has been spending some time colouring some intricate designs as well as observing what is going on 'out there'.

Here's an example of Elaine's work and also her thoughts:

COVID Lockdown

No vapour trails in the big open sky.

No traffic or noise on the roads passing by.

No people rushing, or taking a walk.

No noisy children playing in a park.

Strange times!

Listen. Just birds singing beautiful songs.

Listen. Dogs barking and yapping along.

Listen. Family sharing their views.

Listen. Children trying to self amuse.

Strange times!

Look. Spring springing in colour bright.

Look. Grass greening seemingly overnight.

Look. Colour coming back into our lives.

Look. Blues and hues and busy beehives.

Strange times?

No. It's always been there, but unheard.

No. It's always been there unobserved.

No. It's always been there, as before.

No. We just didn't notice beyond our door.

Strange times.

An unknown virus had to come along

To make us STOP .....! See the world belong

To everyone; big and small.

Everyone's problem to care after all.

Together strangers!

Elaine Smallwood (Elder, Shiregreen URC, Sheffield)


Mother, Father God,

For trees in blossom and flowers in bloom - thank you.

For birds that sing and butterflies that dazzle - thank you.

For four-legged creatures who visit our gardens - thank you.

For time to notice - make us truly grateful.

And make us truly grateful for those who have no time while they are too busy saving our lives, bringing our food and keeping us safe,


Anyone for caterpillars?

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