So, I’ve been doing 30 Days Wild, in case you hadn’t noticed. I love the whole concept of letting more wildness back into our modern lives, and I’ve really enjoyed taking part so far. What’s great is that you get to see everyone else’s pictures, blog posts and videos as you go along. I love this video by Will Penrose and this post at Grantham Ecology, which features some beautiful butterflies.
I woke up on Saturday with a whole day before me, unplanned – the perfect opportunity to fit in a really good wild activity. And by good, I mean one that would look really adventurous and exciting on Twitter. Oh dear – that is not what the project is meant to be about, is it?
The thing is, I also woke up with a banging headache, a house in dire need of a good thorough clean, a husband who really just needed a rest, and a mind full of worries. As we talked over all the possibilities for the day, it quickly became apparent that actually what we really needed was a quiet day at home. Not an exciting wild adventure, then.
Making the decision not to go out turned out to be the best choice we could have made, and the wild managed to creep into our house and our day of its own accord. As I began to clean, I gathered three vases of flowers from around the house. Most of the flowers had seen better days, but I was able to take out the dead ones and cut back and rearrange the others, which gave me three brand new sets of flowers to display around the house.
I think my favourites are these in my bedroom. The roses remind me of my wedding flowers and it feels quite luxurious having them upstairs.
Placing these bright yellow ones next to my favourite quote reminded me why I’m doing 30 Days Wild in the first place, and why I blog at all. The quote, from Ann Voskamp, reads ‘Doing well in life is simply about seeing God is good and spreading his goodness around’. When I see those bright flowers beaming up at me, I am reminded that God is good, and that his goodness can be seen all around me, in the wild outdoors, and in the quietness of a morning of chores.
I gathered the magazines I had lying around and got ideas for some future ‘wild’ activities, courtesy of the National Trust. I love the idea of having a 1920’s date night with Andrew out on the lawn at Coleton Fishacre, with cocktails, canapes and jazz, I’ve been longing to go and see the deer on Exmoor for ages and ‘Murder on the Terrace’ at Greenway sounds great!
Once the chores were done, I sat down for some much-needed prayer time. As I took my seat, I could smell the wood of my desk and I saw that the sun was making beautiful shadow-patterns on my photo board. There they were again, those whispers of wildness, the natural world insisting itself so gently into my life.
I have a photo on my board that I took in South Africa of a misty mountain view, and on it, several years ago, I wrote a Bible verse: ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.’ The grandeur of the hills does have its way of drawing our hearts to something bigger than ourselves, doesn’t it?
As we had a whole day free, I had plenty of time to cook a proper meal for our lunch. I used herbs from the garden and the window sill – basil for a pesto topping for our salmon, mint to flavour the potatoes. As I smelt the freshness of the herbs, I made a mental note of another aim for my 30 Days Wild: Find out how to use the mint leaves to make tea.
Poor Jamie the dog had been a little neglected all morning so I took him out to the garden for a while. After a bit of running around, he seemed content to just sit on the grass, so I sat with him and made a daisy chain. The birds in our garden are getting tame and they fluttered to and from the bird feeder, paying no heed whatsoever to me or the dog. I love the sound of their wings.
Both my headache and Andrew’s persisted into the afternoon, so I decided that what we needed was tea and cake out in the garden. A butterfly flitted in and out of view. The weather was muggy – I’m sure a thunderstorm is needed to break the closeness. Maybe that was the cause of our headaches.
Our neighbours, just back from holiday, invited us into their garden to drink our tea with them, so we sat among their pots of flowers and heard about their adventures up in the wilds of the Island of Skye. I love hearing about people’s travels and I think Skye is going to have to be added to my own list of places to visit. As we talked, a crow taunted and pestered a large buzzard above us.
All of this pottering meant that we were late to get ready for our one engagement of the weekend – a summer ball party. I frantically tried on dresses. On realising that the best option was an easy to wear black number, I set about looking for summery accessories to lighten it up. The flowers I had brought up earlier in the day became hair accessories, and combining them with a pashmina with subtle lace daisies and a butterfly necklace, I felt more seasonal. As we drove to the party, a hare sprung up on the lane and ran ahead of us for some time. Hares are rather majestic creatures, very different to rabbits, in their size and speed but also in their air of mystery and wisdom.
When we came home, the light was only just starting to fade, so we ended the day with a few moments outside. It turned out that when I couldn’t go looking for the wild, it came and found me.