mostly monotone

We all know that, as the year turns, Mother Nature’s palette of colours changes. But while we indecisive mortals might hum and haw about redecoration for weeks or months on end, visiting different shops, compiling mood boards, comparing colour swatches, holding fabrics alongside wallpaper samples, and trying out tester pots of paint, she just gets on and gets the job done.
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snakes and lions

It’s April, but we don’t seem to be enjoying Chaucer’s “shoures soote” – the sweet showers that bring forth spring flowers. Yes, the parks and gardens are bright with blossoms and blooms aplenty, but the weather is as changeable as it has ever been.

I haven’t actually seen snow here this month, but there’s been hail and temperatures below zero, as well as heavy rain, brilliant sunshine, strong winds and days of constant grey sky and mizzle.
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small gratitudes

There’s been a lot written in recent years about the importance of being grateful.

The traditional definition of gratitude is probably focused on the recognition and appreciation for things we receive, or actions that benefit us, particularly when we’ve done nothing to warrant these.

The problem with that idea, though, is that it implies the existence of a benefactor – someone who does something for us, or gives something to us. There are so many things in life to be grateful for and many of them just seem to happen without any external intervention; if you don’t believe in a Higher Power, there’s no one specific to thank. Perhaps the thing to do then, is to convert gratitude into an attitude.
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beginnings and endings

The long hot summer is forgotten, the grass is green and straggly again and there is a distinctly autumnal nip in the air.

The horse chestnuts seem to have really suffered from the drought – rather than turning colour with the season, their leaves are all shrivelled and mottled – and I’ve hardly seen any conkers, though there are at least some sweet chestnuts.

There’s also more beech mast than I thought possible, and a fair number of acorns, too, so hopefully the squirrels should have a reasonable chance of surviving the winter.
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things worth celebrating

The August bank holiday weekend is just about at an end.

Despite it having been the longest, hottest summer in who knows how long, yesterday we had torrential rain and today has been as grey and breezy as might have been expected if global warming had never been invented.

Essentially, there are no more national fiestas now until Christmas.
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the words we use

They say that language shapes our view of the world: if we use sexist and bigoted language, it is difficult to avoid becoming sexist bigots and if we don’t have the words for a concept, we find it hard to understand.

Certainly my own experience of learning a second language revealed a different personality: I was free to say things I could never have said in my native English because the words and the grammar permitted it and because I came fresh to the new language with the opinions and ideas of an adult but with no personal attachment or aversion to the words.
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onwards and upwards – or downwards

Once again, I’ve been thinking of Dorothy Rose from the poem by Pauline Frances Camp.

For those who don’t know, Dorothy Rose was a little girl whose “turned-up nose” inspired her to adopt a positive attitude in life. (Read more about The Rhyme of Dorothy Rose, plus a lovely comment from one of PFC’s great grandchildren on the post Ever Upwards)

In general, I’m an optimist and agree that a positive attitude is a Good Thing. But, more and more, I realise that looking on the bright side isn’t really about looking upwards and overlooking the dirt and the nastiness of life. In fact, by ignoring the negative you can miss so many delightful things.
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