Winter Treasures

I don’t know what this seedhead is. Normally that would be a source of anxiety for me, as I like to identify things. That’s been my usual pattern in the five years or so that I’ve been regularly exploring my local nature reserve, Peartree Green – taking photos then spending time looking up what I’ve seen. But this time I decided to take a different approach.

I’m currently working through an online course on Nature Connectedness and I’d been reading about tuning into nature, noticing everyday things. About ‘moments not minutes’, that it’s not about how long you spend in nature, but about connecting when you’re there. On the day I took this photo, it had snowed so I’d gone over to wander round and ‘see what I could see’. This small seedhead was one of the first things that caught my eye.

It’s not really surprising that I noticed the seedhead as I’ve been paying attention to these during the first weeks of 2021. They have an architectural beauty that could easily be overlooked. There are no bright, dramatic colours to call you over, but if you stop and look closely, you might be amazed at what you see.

But if you do want colour, it’s there on the twigs of trees and shrubs, in the bright yellows and oranges, the silvery greens and sometimes the tiny red ‘blobs’ of lichen. For me, it’s fascinating to look closely and take a moment to marvel at its intricate beauty. Thought a moment usually turns into several minutes, as there’s so much to look at.

Another winter find: ash buds. Doesn’t this look like the hoof of some unknown animal? The black buds are like nails or claws, and the speckled bark could be skin. Someone recently said that to me about silver birch twigs we were using at forest school. She thought they looked like reindeer skin, and I could see her point. Every time I walk past this ash tree, I stop and look, and smile at the surprises nature has for me. I hope this post inspires you to take a moment to notice nature. Let me know what you find in the comments below!

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