Sunday, 27 January 2013

Signs & Winter Colours

The difficulties of a frozen landscape brought about a frenzy of activity from the woodland birds. With snow and ice adorning the trees and with the ground buried beneath a blanket of snow, food was hard to come by for our little feathered friends. The woodland owners had put out feeders from the branches near to the tables. Songbirds flocked to them, Blue tits, great tits, chaffinch and woodpeckers were but a few to assault the food supply and show their colours to those of us who would take a moment to sit and watch.

I am not really a fan of flooding a garden with seeds and peanuts, instead I prefer to try and ensure there are native plants capable of supplying food or attracting insects to help with the cycles of nature and life. It seems a better solution than buying and importing food to make up for the green deserts of the urban landscape, however in the depths of winter a scattering of seeds and scraps can bring reward to both people and the birds. Some of the creatures living within the woods are brought into plain view, giving an indication of the health of the land. When combining this with the tracks left by the hidden creatures in the blank canvas of a new snow fall, the indications deepen and knowledge becomes full and enriching.

For those who take the time to learn and perceive the ways of the land, a simple walk can become a rich tapestry of messages and signs from the land. To those who focus only on themselves, winter will bring only a sensation of cold and alienation. But with regard to the last sentiment, I too enjoy the warmth of the fire and the shelter of home. I take some pleasure in knowing that my fire is fueled by ash logs from my local woodland and the coin I have handed over to the woodsman is staying with the rural community and lands I hold dear.


  1. Beautifully written as always..!Seeing and spending time with any of the feathered friends in winter is a bright spot to my day!Especially after storms..I love to see that they made it through! Well said..those who are not in tune with the beauty of each season are missing me winter is a magical time!

    1. Thank you Victoria, it is a pleasure to know we enjoy similar sights despite the miles. Your visit and words are most welcome :o)

  2. ...the journey of the eyes ~ lay bare ~ the pleasures of the humble soul! ~ a sharing of summer's bounty with our woodlands folks ~ is a beautiful / gentle / passive way of merging with other kindred souls! ~ blessed be!...(o:

  3. So sorry for the delay in reading your posts - work has kept me away from everything!
    I love this post and you've expressed something that has been a growing concern of mine too - bird feeding. We have had bird feeders for a long, long time, but over the last couple of years I have become a little anxious about creating a dependency in them. I have watched the numbers of birds visiting our garden grow - which has been great. Also more and more birds have begun to nest close by - which again, on the face of it, is to be welcomed. However, I also realise that it is partly (perhaps mainly) because they know that there is always a ready supply of food close by. In other words they depend on us. For the last couple of years I have tried to slowly wean them off this dependency, by altering how often I put food out (and how much) which hopefully makes them look for other supplies to, at least, supplement their food. It is a difficult balance to make though.