As the title probably suggests, there’s been a lot of deep thinking of late. What can I say, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands…
I, like many, have been adjusting to this slower, and more singular way of life.
I am still working – and still regularly heading into a (socially distanced) office – (journalists & broadcasters are key workers), so I do have a little bit of a focus, in these hazy, and unclear times.
But otherwise, like many others – I’m finding lots of different ways to fill my time. I’ve built (and decorated – see below!) a bird-box with my Dad… started obsessively colouring in ANYTHING I can get my hands on… and filled my evenings and weekends with video calls with friends and family. There’s also been a lot of baking… brownies, banana bread (cherry & dark chocolate – if you must know), rocky road & (a very stodgy – whoops) lemon drizzle loaf… it’s been excessive – but much needed.
When lockdown began, I’ll admit I did not utilise this ‘daily exercise’ that was being offered, and promoted, by those in charge. I’m not a huge fan of exercise anyway (if you EVER see me running – you should probably run too), and I just felt, that to protect my family’s health – the safest option was to stay indoors, as much as possible. I went to work, and from work, and that was it.
But – I quickly realised that although my concern was justified, and my worries were natural – I needed some movement, some difference… a walk, some fresh air, a change of scenery, was all very much needed. Therefore, I’ve started taking 40 minutes or so each day to just wander, listen, and take in my surroundings. Sounds painfully cliché I know (like many a Jess Lord blog!) – stick with me, there’s a point here somewhere…
Thus I now return to my original title, where the answer is almost certainly the latter. Spring always has been this beautiful, and yes, I have been too busy to notice.
Whilst on my daily walk, I’ve admired the cherry blossom, soaked up the sunshine, and listened to the birds. The cherry blossom in particular has caught my eye. Shades of soft pink, velvety purples, mottled cream, brilliant whites… no, I’m not brainstorming new names for tins of paint… I’m just loving all of the natural pastels. My Instagram has become incredibly #basic (sorry), every Insta story has become a snap of the trees in bloom that I pass on my walks.
It’s interesting because, when I was 17, I was lucky enough to visit Japan. We were there during ‘Sakura Season’ – the first two weeks of April, when Japan’s cherry blossom trees famously bloom, and attract tourists from all over the world to marvel at their beauty.
I remember them so clearly, because it was my focus. I’d done so much research before travelling to this part of Asia (classic Jess!) – on the history, the culture, the things I should see, eat and do – that I knew to look for, and appreciate, the Sakura. And that I did. I’ll never forget the few days we spent in Hakone, the natural beauty was unlike anything I had ever seen.
But, if you’d have asked me a few months ago, whether we had anything even slightly comparable in this country… I’d probably have said no?
I think this proves otherwise…
Where have I been? What have I been doing? Have I missed spring for the past 23 years?
These photos were taken in Grantham, in Lincolnshire, over the last week or so. Thousands, and thousands of miles away from Hakone, in Japan.
This cherry blossom has thus (as I mentioned earlier) prompted a lot of deep thinking. Before this – life was very fast paced. Days slipped into weeks, weeks into months. Family, friends, work, projects, hobbies filled my time… a singular focus, or train of thought, has always been something I’ve never quite mastered. It might sound daft – but before all of this, I cannot remember the last time I paused and admired something as simple as a cherry blossom tree (except I guess, in Japan, but that’s slightly different, as it was a major highlight of the trip).
It’s interesting… and has kind of taken me by surprise? I look forward to seeing the cherry blossom trees on my daily walk. I’ve also started noticing certain, particularly colourful trees, on my drives to and from work… I’ve been driving that same route for over a year, and never previously given the trees a second thought (although that may have been due to the stress of the journey… see previous blog for further information).
Up until now, I didn’t realise how important, and healthy it is, to have such a simple focus. Taking a moment, each day, to appreciate the spring season, the glorious blue skies, the fresh air, and of course, the cherry blossom, has, I think, done me a lot of good.
Food for thought? I’ll leave it with you.
Also – don’t even get me started on the birds that I’m now noticing & listening to… I saw a Chaffinch for the first time the other day – and was (genuinely) absolutely delighted (they’ve got a sort of rust coloured belly… very striking). What is happening to me?!
Anyway, must go – there’s always more colouring in to be done!
Hope you & yours are well. Stay safe, stay well, be kind. Lots of love xxx