Updated: Jan 3
It's easy to walk around at this time of year and feel that everything is grey and a bit gloomy (hence the popularity of the traditional 'Holiday Season' where we often reflect so we can look forward, and where we bring light and colour into our homes and surroundings).
Nature is of course still full of wonder - we just need to look a little closer, and when we do, we can be rewarded by seeing some amazing transitions and new beginnings. There's also some colour left over in the fruits of berries of previous seasons.
The natural act of hibernating during the months when our sun is less present may also be something we should consider giving a whirl. Perhaps instead of ushering in artificial light and colour at this time of year (which may have far reaching environmental implications) we should accept the restorative healing process of calm and rest.
Obviously it's highly unlikely that most of us can escape the social and economic pressures that prevent us from actually hibernating (such as dormice and hedgehogs do); however, maybe we can be more like the squirrel who only emerges to nibble from it's food store occasionally; or like the fallow deer who rests to conserve energy, camouflaging itself with dead bracken and staying alert to emergencies and danger.
Sheltering underground, barely moving at all, are beetles and moths. Under the ground too are earthworms who vary their depth depending on how warm it is, and deep within trees and bushes (often under bark) are spiders trying to keep warm in their silky cocoons.
On the branches of the trees above a few signs of life are emerging as buds slowly form and push their way through lichen ready to explode with growth once the warmth and light return.
Even thorny twigs offer beauty and colour for those who take the time to appreciate them.
And if you look really closely (the image above is a small piece of moss on an otherwise grey stone wall) there's so much to see and appreciate, such as the perfectly round water drops reflecting the world around them; each held in place by tiny hairs angled to deliver moisture to leaves below.
So, even when the world seems a bit dark and grey, we urge you to look closely and embrace the calm. There's always opportunity to find beauty in nature and to let that beauty have it's healing effect. Just remember, as we always say at NR, 'leave no footprints'.