Open Your Eyes

There’s something utterly captivating about the beauty of frost-coated, fading leaves. Here we’ve had three nights in a row when temperatures have dropped below zero, and the frost this morning was the heaviest yet. Today, the first day of the meteorological winter, the frost seemed perfectly timed. I layered myself up (many layers!), lifted my camera and braved the morning chill.

Frosted leaves of Alchemilla Mollis
I was entranced by the beauty of the shape, texture and muted colours of the fallen leaves from the trees, shrubs and perennials. As I wandered around choosing subjects, the sound of the frost crunching beneath my feet brought memories flooding back from many years ago.
Geranium mixed with other fallen leaves

There have been times in my life when my eyes haven’t been fully opened to the beauty of nature that is all around us. The stresses of bringing up a family, running a home and a business, took top priority for many years and too often there was little time to appreciate the life that’s just beyond your own door. Sometimes it takes someone or something to give you a little jolt and open your eyes. In my case, that jolt came from one of my children.

The beautiful muted tones of Hydrangea
It was that lesson I remembered this morning, one taught to me many years ago by my then six-year-old daughter, the oldest of my four children. Getting four young children ready to go out on a cold wintery morning was always a challenge. It was cosy in the house, though a different story outside, but still they hated having to be bundled up in coats, hats, boots, scarves, gloves. I’ve never liked being late, so to get them to school before the bell rang, we had to get out our front door on time. Two went to school, one to playgroup and number four, our baby, returned home with me – it was an exhausting morning task, one that mums worldwide know all about. I admit I was harassed.
Fallen leaves
It was a morning like today. It was calm, sunny but bitingly cold, and the crisp frost crunched underfoot as we walked towards the school. As we made our way through a silent, traffic-free area, my oldest was skipping ahead, her blond hair flowing and her red coat painting a bright splash of colour against the background of white frost.

“It’s an absolutely sparkling day!”

Claire, age six

I called to her to stay close, and she stopped skipping, thew out her arms and called out,

“Mummy! It’s an absolutely sparkling day!”

For the first time that morning, I lifted my head and looked. She was right. Everything was sparkling. Not just the frost beneath our feet – the bare branches of the trees were coated in frost and had little icicles hanging from them, and as the sun touched them – they sparkled. Trees, shrubs, and long grasses glistened all around us. We were in a little winter wonderland.

I would have missed that beautiful moment. She taught me to look. I’ve been looking ever since.

Wherever you are, enjoy your garden…I hope you too find some winter sparkle.

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