I actually wrote this blog posting longhand into my notebook whilst sitting in the village church (mid ground - image 1). At that point in the morning it was around 11.30am and being about half way through taking the 17 images, I'd popped in to the church to take part in their 'sanctuary' Saturdays, held on the first Saturday of every month. Apt really because as this little project of mine also takes place on the first weekend of the month, the 'sanctuary' event reminds me to do it.
Taking the images today really was a pleasure. The first two forays into reproducing the seasons in images were at best a trial. January was just wet and cold, February bitterly cold and miserable. Today, spring finally woke up and began to release winters grip. There is always a day in the first week of March when the sun shines, but more than that. On that day for the first time since mid-winter that sun beats down on a stirring landscape. Something has changed ever from a day or two before. The incessant mud is finally trying, dark brooding earth is giving way to pale soil. The sky is a brighter shade of blue, the sun has warmth and there is well just a different feel about the countryside.
Today was that day for 2015. As the images which follow show, there was almost unbroken blue sky from horizon to horizon. Ostensibly the images, apart from being sunny, don't reveal too much of difference to January or February. But the differences were there for me to see today. As I sat in the church writing in silence, outside birdsong. Lots of birdsong. Chaffinch, great tit, blackbird, rook and jackdaw were prevalent. Later in the day I heard my first skylark of the year. Plus, the sunlight which streamed into the nave was brighter today.
I watched a shaft of sunlight move over the floor from one pew to another and in doing so it cast the first pew into shade in not much longer than 5 minutes. As I watched I could see the shadow millimetre by millimetre advancing over the floor left to right. A reminder of the reason for this project. Outwardly everything is the same yet nothing ever stays the same, not even for a moment.
Today's thought provoking text for the sanctuary had a specific resonance on this glorious spring day. It came from Matthew 13 : 31-33. In summary, sow a mustard seed it will grow and birds will sit in the mustard tree and from that we will obtain mustard and pleasure. In other we reap what we sow and nurture; work hard but remember that life is about taking time out and relaxing, especially by listening to the patterns of the seasons, to nature and to the rhythms of life. As humans we are designed to work a little, play a little but above all stop and let our spirit become attuned to the seasonal changes. That's healthy. And I agree. I'm not a religious person but these Saturday sanctuary mornings are becoming a must attend part of my life, a reason to enter a cool building (have a cup of tea) and just listen to silence; or the birdsong without. As the passing shadow pointed out, nothing stays the same and time is always moving, moving forward, eventually it will run out in more ways than one.
To the project then, a photo record of the changing seasons in this tiny part of North Somerset. What these don't show are the other aspects of the day. As the temperature rose to 16 degrees, from a cool 10, brimstone butterflies were on the wing, as were many bumblebees. Rooks were noisily defending their newly constructed nests. everywhere the sound of birdsong, and in many cases, the first lawn mow cut of the year. The countryside is just beginning to green up. Bud burst is still relatively uncommon, but daffodils and spring bulbs are bursting forth. In the hedgerows arum and umbellifer are beginning to grow. It will be a few weeks yet before the trees and hedges look green, but every day now a new aspect of the wakening countryside can be observed.
Image 1 : This looks the same yet changes afoot. The evergreen shrub on the right has gone and the wall around the house on the left was rebuilt this week and now has capstones. Plus a sneaky peek beyond the seat, a daffodil or two is in flower.
Image 2 : The main change here is the five rooks nests in the tree to the right. Ten days ago these didn't exist. Behind where I'm standing to take the image is a huge rookery, these are outspill rooks.
Image 3 : It was here I saw the first brimstone of the day just seconds before this image was captured.
Image 4 : The churchyard was ablaze with daffodils, sadly my chosen location wasn't.
Image 5 : Lane to Banwell, where I heard my skylarks.
Image 6 : Still all quiet in the orchard,
Image 7 : River Banwell looking lovely
Image 8 : The Strawberry Line
Image 9 : Thatcher's cider orchard still dormant..
Image 10 : Bridleway
Image 11 : Old Barn
Image 12 : Woodspring Priory, strong shadows crossing the field.
Image 14 : Sand Bay
Image 14 : Ebdon Bow junction.
Image 15 : The footpath now has a wooden gate tied on with bailer string.
Image 16 : Green's Farm, just visible in the distance a Leyland 270 tractor which passed by just before I was in position for the image.
Image 17 : River Banwell again, surprisingly little birdlife today.
April the 4th then is the next photo day. Easter Saturday.