Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Walking with the seasons

As you know I'm always banging on about the joys of eating with the seasons. It struck me this week that is as equally important to get outside and notice the seasons too. Every day I cycle the school run. Being in Milton Keynes we're not exactly in a rural setting but there is plenty of manciple planting, rows of trees in every street and a park on the way - just enough to get a sense of the changing seasons. Back at the beginning of the school year we were cycling without coats in warm sunshine. Then we cycled in thin coats through falling leaves, over conkers and crab apples. Last week we cycled through frosty mornings with bright sunshine breaking through mist in thick coats, hats and gloves. Today I abandoned the bikes and we walked through snow in ski-suits and fluffy boots.

I like the way that my girls have learnt to appreciate what they see each morning. The bright yellows and reds of the autumn leaves, the almost spiritual nature of sunshine through mist. They comment on it with things such as "Mummy, did you notice how beautiful that looked this morning?" I haven't had to teach them to appreciate it, merely provide them with an opportunity to.

I once worked with a man who had recently moved from Nigeria. He was truly amazed by the beauty of the autumn changes and slightly unnerved by shortening of the days. When snow finally fell he wouldn't let his children outside in case they were hurt by the coldness of it. He did, of course, eventually relent under their pressure and got to experience the fun. He made me think again about the beauty and wonder of the changing seasons and not to take them for granted. Last night as I picked my handbag up I accidentally tipped it upsidedown and everything fell out, including an odd combination of "essentials" such as lip balm and factor 50 sunblock. Isn't it amazing that 3 months ago I was stood in the school field, dabbing sunblock onto my children as they ran around for sports day and today I am applying lip balm to protect their lips from freezing temperatures. The best thing is, by and large, we just accept it and cope with it, getting out the appropriate clothes and footwear and getting on with the day.

The only disappointing thing is that some people don't fully embrace it, instead retreating to their cars for the school run for every little excuse. It's raining, it's windy, it's frosty, it's snowing... yes, horray! It is, don't retreat into your expensive metal motorised umbrellas, stick on the appropriate coat and footwear and go out and see how beautiful it is!

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