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The Great Outdoors

No nation talks more about the weather than the British. I can certainly testify to that with several conversations a day involving some reference to the weather either subconsciously or not. Every morning at school drop off starts with a variation of "Hello, isn't it chilly today?", "Look at this weather, when's it going to stop/start."

Plans depend on the weather, people's mood depends on the weather, what we feel like eating depends on the weather.

Yes, the weather has a lot to answer for but I feel the British weather in particular receives unfair negative reviews. I say this after living in the tropics for nine years and when I announced my return to the UK, commiserations were not on Brexit, the state of the NHS, education system or endless scourge of reality tv shows and resulting celebrities but on the Great British Weather. I was quite taken aback. When I asked what was so bad about it I was met with 'well you know, it's cold, it's grey and it rains all the time.' I realised at that point how easily you can separate the optimists from the pessimists just by gauging their reaction to a cloudy day. I suddenly felt quite protective of the Great British Weather and felt determined that I would not be barricading myself in with the central heating on max and blankets up to my chin as tempting as it was on many a day this long, harsh winter.

I can easily conjure up an image of blue skies, a warm breeze and the sun on my face. Gardens in full technicolour bloom and endless fields of green bathed in fading sunlight. The memory certainly feels good. At the same time, nothing makes you feel more alive than a walk outdoors on a blustery cold day. Leaves swirling around and heavy clouds scudding overhead. The charm of children collecting conkers and kicking red, yellow and brown leaves. The excitement of building snowmen and whizzing down a hill on a sledge before tears set in as the cold makes fingers and toes grow painfully numb.

For months it feels like nature is just a sludgey brown colour. Then, unexpectedly and very quietly, you look around you once more and notice that the landscape is looking less barren. Patches of colour from snowdrops then crocuses and daffodils spring up signalling the start of a new life cycle. Bare trees are beginning to form new buds and the days begin to draw out.

Do I notice these things more because I have missed the change of seasons for ten years. Am I consciously trying to practice some level of mindfulness. Or am I just being stubborn and showing those people living in warmer climes that life is still good over here. I think it is a combination of all three. With the addition that the Great Outdoors has been my faithful companion these past few months as events in my life took place that I could not change anymore than I could change the weather. So I embraced the Great Outdoors and I went walking in all weather conditions to seek out something beautiful created by nature that would provide some degree of comfort that day.

Spring is blossoming and I'm looking forward to finding out what new things there is to discover, come rain or shine.

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