Taking Time to Stand and Stare

Great sadness to see a tree felled to the ground in an overnight storm on Christmas Eve, the branches scattered across the field, some sticking out of the soil spear-like, others disintegrated into ready made kindling for the fire. The tree was dead when we moved here 11 years ago, it has provided a home and habitat to all sort of birds and beasties, an excellent vantage point for owls and buzzards, the starting point for many a starling murmuration. However, there was never any real sense of continuing life of the trunk and branches of the tall tree at the junction of two fields. Some magnificent gothic fungi have grown on the trunk for years and, hopefully, these will continue to flourish as the tree lies prostrated on the ground. We shall tidy the strewn branches, create logs to fuel the wood burning stoves in the cottages and our own home, gather the kindling and build up wood stocks for the year ahead, but we shall also leave the larger part of the main trunk for the birds and beasties to enjoy, and for the children to play on, or just for any of us, adults and children, to sit on and watch the world go by. Sometimes we just need to stand and stare.

The wonderful poem ‘Leisure’ by William Henry Davies is well worth a read and, perhaps, in this busy, busy world the words provide a great reminder for the year ahead.

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 and 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.

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