Talk to Rochford Life: E-mail us. For  numbers for shops, business etc. see page below. HOME WHO WE ARE CONTACT US
RDC News Make a point of visiting us weekly!        Tell a friend about us. Silver Surfer Articles Return to “Silver Surfers”  CONTENTS PAGE Page FIFTY FOUR

I’m not sure how many times I have commented, “Wow, have you seen that incredible blossom?” only to get a reply, “Er, what, er, oh yes,” in un-ecstatic tones. Let me do something unusual (for these pages anyway) and quote some poetry which should be written large in our world today:

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs  And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,  Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,  Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,  And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can  Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,  We have no time to stand and stare.


What is interesting is that this was written about a hundred years ago so at least one person back then had this same feeling about ‘mindfulness’. But it is more than ‘paying attention to the present moment’ isn’t it, for that can be just self absorption, it is paying attention to the wonder of the world around us - for that takes us out of ourselves into something far bigger, far more wonderful, far more exciting, where we find we can dream dreams that flow out of the potential of the life all around us. We live in a cynical world and cynicism is really good at quenching ‘wonder’. Perhaps there is no better group of people in society than we silver surfers who are well placed (with retirement meaning no pressures of the daily job squeezing us into the mould of job-absorption) to take back ‘wonder’.

So join my “Let’s appreciate spring again” campaign! I have been practising this for the last two months. It has been an amazing Spring! For a number of years now I have been ‘bud-watching’. It came out into the open a couple of weeks ago when a visitor said of a tree in our garden, “Oh, is that tree dying?”  “No”, I replied, “it’s an oak tree and it doesn’t lose its leaves until its buds start emerging which will probably be in a couple of weeks’ time.” And lo and behold, three weeks later every leaf has fallen from it.

Buds, leaves, blossom, all wonders to be watched at this time of year. We have an ornamental cherry tree which is always the first of the trees to blossom and it was covered in white a little under two months ago. Now it is full of leaves. Nearby we have a variety of other trees all at different stages of development. The white blossom comes first and then a bit later the pink. This spring (2015) we have been light on rain and good on sunshine although the warmth didn’t come until mid-April, courtesy of cold winds from the east or north holding it back.  But suddenly, with a couple of virtually hot days, blossom is appearing in abundance all over the place. What incredible pictures. Possibly one of the most amazing trees at this time of the year is the Magnolia with its amazingly big white flowers which sadly don’t last for very long, but while they are here….wow!

Watching birdlife at this time of year is another fascinating aspect of ‘mindfulness’ After months of almost zero bird activity suddenly they are all back and back in pairs. The sight of a bird clutching a six-inch straw in its beak says the nesting season is well and truly here. Some were at it weeks again while others seem to have only have got under way in the last week or so. Already there are the sounds of little twitterings in the middle of dense bushes, indicating the arrival of new feathered life.

If you observe the daffodils along the hedgerows as you drive around the District, you might be led to believe that Spring is on the way out, but tulips deny that as do a host of other bulbs just pushing up and out at this time of year. I have at last found a way of slowing life down. I recently re-laid a flower bed, relocating some plants and trees and adding others (not such a big area as it may sound!) and so now I have been anxiously watching to ensure they all ‘took’  and then having the joy of seeing new growth, but it has been so slow. Life has gone on hold.

Bees, butterflies and other insects form another complete area of ‘wonder-creation’. I created a small pond several years ago and now the activity of a number of frogs, toads and newts provide a new source of “wow-interest”. Frog spawn in profusion and tadpoles now appearing continue the show.

Well I guess you get the idea. I think each season holds its different delights – if you have eyes to see them. Watching it on TV may be OK but actually seeing it live in your own garden, in parks or woodlands is ten times better. The wonder is there for the seeing. Do you know something interesting? The medics say that the healthiest people (physical and mental) are those who spend time in their gardens or in the great outdoors generally. It doesn’t matter if your garden is small – there are plenty of parks etc. to meander in. Point made.

One final point: my wife is an amazing educator. She’s a grandmother who loves her garden and so when the grand-child (or two) comes around, she has them outside capturing the wonder of what is there. Does this exclude the wonders of technology? No it doesn’t. The other day she was introducing one granddaughter to bees (because this particular child was fearful of them). The conversation flowed into the different sorts of bees, the difference between bees and wasps and then, inevitably, into how bees are born, so the next minute they were on my wife’s laptop looking up the life of a bee. I was also educated!   Ladybirds, snails, centipedes, moths, butterflies, birds, frogs, toads, newts, are all part of her curriculum. It’s a wonderful; world for those with eyes to see and you are never too old to learn – or to regain your wonder in what is there.  

And as always, a few quotes to finish with (from a lot of famous people):

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous.”


“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

Margaret Atwood

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

Albert Einstein

There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.

Lord Byron

Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

Hans Christian Andersen

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

Dale Carnegie

"The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
Marcel Proust

“If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”

― Leo Tolstoy, Essays, Letters and Miscellanies

Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'

Robin Williams

Top of page