Dedicant Path Week 3 – Nature Awareness

4 04 2013

The fifth part of the ADF Dedicant Path “Through the Wheel of the Year” Supplement is Nature Awareness (parts 3 and 4 are the high day so i’ll do them at the beginning of May.) For the Nature Awareness part, we are asked to go to a local nature spot and spend at least an hour there, listening and watching, and record our experiences. We should do this once per week. The aim is to connect with the Earth Mother and the Spirits of Nature.

I am very fortunate to live in an area that has beaches, parks, woodland and a nature reserve all within a mile of my home. I chose to go to a local park that is next to a beach but also includes a nature conservation area. This should give me a whole mixture of nature to see. The nature conservation area is a wetland/ marshland area, however a large percentage of it is reeds which are currently dead because its only early spring and the place looks pretty bare. There are some trees around, several ponds and some grassy areas.

I chose to go at 2pm this afternoon (4th April). The weather was cold and windy and the sky was covered in light grey clouds. I could hear a few birds singing throughout most of the time I was there. As its easter holidays there were lots of children around and the bumper boats were making noise so it wasn’t the most peaceful afternoon.

The trees in the area were beginning to bud, one had some catkins on it and a horse chestnut already had many leaves on. I could see where the leaves were breaking out of the buds on some of the trees.

Coot

Coot (Photo credit: Sergey Yeliseev)

I sat down near one of the ponds and began to observe what happened around me. There were a few marshland birds around including coots, ducks and swans. I observed the coot swimming around, drinking and bobbing its head backwards and forwards as it swam. Later it went onto the land area and began eating some small green leaves from a plant. There were two more coots in another pond which were staying close to the edge, swimming, eating and drinking.

There were half a dozen mallard ducks in the pond. Mainly males, but one female who they tried a few times to mate with. The ducks were swimming, drinking water and pruning themselves.

I also saw two large white moot swans. At first they appeared to be sleeping on what looked like a nest. They began to build more bits onto the nest and then after a while one came to the pond to swim. It also tried to attack the ducks which then stayed away from it for the rest of the hour. The swan appeared to gargle when it drank water and then shook its head. It also used its flipper to scratch the top of its head which I think was it trying to clean itself. I noticed that while ducks are very noisy, the swans and coots were very quiet.

Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail (Photo credit: oldbilluk)

There were some wood pigeons about – some in the trees and other on the ground eating. Seagulls were flying above and I saw a few male blackbirds flying between trees. There were two small black and white birds with long tails which flew around. I think they were pied wagtails. There was also a very small brown bird which landed on a nearby tree, which I am sure was a wren.

One thing that surprised me was I didn’t really see any insects and there appeared to be no life on top of the pond. However there were some bubbles appearing in the pond which suggested to me that something was alive in the water.

There were some daffodils out in bloom and a few dandelions around too.

I said hi to the Nature Spirits when I arrived and thanked them and Mother Nature when I left. I didn’t really have any mystical experiences or feel much besides the cold, however at one point I got a little frustrated at the birds not staying in place long enough for me to work out what they were and that led me to a realisation, which was perhaps the earth mother or the spirits of nature talking. The realisation was – Nature isn’t here for me, its a privilege to experience what I do in nature and I should be thankful. That may sound obvious but I think its often easy to forget it so I think the gentle reminder was important.

I decided it was important to bring a field guide with me next time and to spend some time in meditation/ being open, rather than just writing down everything i saw.


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