Tag Archives: snow

If life throws you lemons make lemonade

Find the positive in negative situations. 

Children have been turning these Castle Park slopes into winter fun for hundreds of years.

Children have been turning these Colchester Castle Park slopes into winter fun for hundreds of years.

New day, leaping out of bed, throwing open the curtains – snow.

My first word of the new weekend was a rude word.  Lets think positive over this I thought,  snow means opportunity for great photographs contrasting spring against winter.  Childish enthusiasm sets in as I wait for the snow fall to subside, then it is off on the hunt for great photographs.

There is a saying that if lemons are thrown at you by life, use the lemons to make lemonade.  Hunt for the positive in the negative.

For your information the ongoing winter across the north of the world is thanks to the Jet Stream being trapped, so high and low pressure systems are stuck in place, meaning extremes of snow, flood and drought.  Since the paralysis of the Jet Stream looks to be an ongoing long-term pattern, the positive to some is the opportunity to run a business to provide products and services for people hit by snow, drought and flood in their community or beyond.

The magic of snow

The world is full of magic, shame the sleeping majority will never notice.

Imola Pond in Colchester Castle Park last week conveyed the magic of winter beautifully for me.

Imola Pond in Colchester Castle Park last week conveyed the magic of winter beautifully for me.

Yesterday as I was visiting new WordPress blogs I posted a comment on a blog how everyone seems to mention Narnia when it comes to snow scenes.  The response was “Do they?” That response irritated me, the sort of response with the unsaid insult of “here is an idiot”.  It is the sort of rude blog response that no blog writer should make if they want to attract followers or encourage comment on their blog.

To understand such a comment as I made on that blog about Narnia, it requires an assumption of three pieces of information:

  1. they had seen the film “Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”.
  2. they had experience of others having mentioned Narnia.
  3. they had encountered winter scenes that reminded them of Narnia.

It is presumptive on my part to assume the other knows what I am talking about when I speak of something that they are ignorant of, however the response they make can shut down an opportunity to learn something new about the world.  Opportunities for new insights or adventures open up around us all the time, all we have to do is keep our minds open to all possibilities.  Too often however the mind shuts out anything that is new or is counter to its world view.

The concept of sustainability is often new and challenging to most minds brought up and conditioned in the old unsustainable paradigms that currently rule the minds of people and society today.  It is the defensive, hostile closed minds that anyone attempting to share and show sustainable ideas are going to face with the ignorant.  The ignorant rude attitude of some can be like a red rag to a bull, so it takes an effort to pull back and let it go.  Such people will be constantly encountered, and they are unworthy to waste energy on.

If you have not seen the “Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” then it is worth seeing, as well as reading the book. CS Lewis includes considerable philosophy into his Narnia books, which makes them enchanting to both adults and children.  Once you have seen the snow scenes in the film, then you will quickly make the association with winter scenes in the real world.  Once the snows come the wildlife seem to vanish; the birds stop singing; there is often a silence, a calm fresh stillness in the air, as if everything is sleeping, waiting and watching.  If you have a camera as the light conditions get low you can catch a magical landscape that will convey the magical experience of what you see.  It is the magical scenes of nature that make life worth living, sadly the ignorant will be blind to such magic.

The prize goes to the bold and inventive

Be bold and inventive to succeed in life.

This bold and inventive Colchester swan is likely to survive this winter.

This bold and inventive Colchester swan is likely to survive this winter.

Winter struck with a vengeance in Britain with my town of Colchester buried in snow and freezing temperatures.  It is at this time I think of the wildlife, so I took time out to take food out to the swans in Colchester.

I have a process where any money I find on the ground goes to buying brown wholemeal bread that the supermarkets discount down as far as 10% of the original value at the end of the day.  The bread goes into the fridge waiting for a spare opportunity for me to visit the swans of Colchester Castle Park to feed them.  During this hard winter moment I knew the swans would be challenged in finding food, so I visited them yesterday (Sunday) and today. I also took my camera to take my first photographs of 2013.

Nature is a great teacher, the birds of Castle Park taught me an important lesson about being bold and inventive.  In life those that are unoriginal thinkers and passive tend to be forgotten, enjoying few lucky breaks; used and abused they get the scraps of life.  The champions portion of the feast always goes to the bold and inventive.

Amongst wildlife in the deep of winter the passive and unoriginal die, falling to starvation, cold or the predator.  It can be a shock to witness wildlife be so brutal when it comes to food, territory or mate, but the prize goes to the bold and inventive in those struggles.

I stood on the river bank on Sunday feeding two swans.  It was a feeding frenzy as a hundred ducks descended upon the feast.  Swans are slow, ducks small but fast.  The swans used their size and power to drag ducks by the scruff of their neck from the food.  The swan brutality to the ducks was shocking but the swans were able to get at some of the food on offer as a result.  By their vast numbers and speed the ducks gained half the bread on offer to the swans.  One inventive duck came up to my leg, tugging at my trousers; in this inventive bold way drawing my attention to its existence so that I fed it. This tugging and pecking at my leg continued the whole time I was feeding the animals, putting me in anxiety that my leg would take a bruising if I did not feed the duck, so it won plenty of food to save my leg.

I returned to a different part of the river to feed other swans today.  I cleared the ground of snow on the river bank so swans or ducks could see the grass upon which they could feed.  I had more bread for the swans, and this time had a problem of fifty or more seagulls.  The seagulls are fast and aggressive, so when I threw bread to the swan the unfortunate bird was mobbed by a dozen or more seagulls that stole its food.  Ducks and seagulls use numbers as well as speed to compete for food against swans, who are slow at reacting.  I changed tactics throwing a snowball into the river which all the seagulls chased, giving opportunity for me to get food to the swans.  The swans were aggressive with each other, biting at each other’s necks for the food.

In times of plenty many swans are nervous about taking food from the hand, but these were hungry bold swans, and I was able to get them to take food directly from my hand, so eliminating the problem of the seagulls.  In cold weather it hurts when a swan bites your fingers as it goes for the bread, but I eventually got the hang of it.

I came away with a clear lesson yesterday and today from the wildlife, the prize goes to the bold and inventive.

See every problem or obstacle as a challenge

The choice is sink or swim in the challenges of life.

The self grows through challenge and learning.

The self grows through challenge and learning.

Every problem or obstacle is a challenge.  For every bad period in life there is a good period in life.  In crisis you have a choice to sink or swim.  These three insights are useful to consider when life gets hard.

It is through challenges you grow.  It is through the experience of the bad times that you appreciate the good.  It is through attacking crisis head on that you emerge through the other side.

I have hit a rough patch.  The second cold since Christmas has emerged to challenge me; snow has fallen; it is cold; I have to go out to work in challenging weather with a cold; I have to balance out multiple business demands; I am dazed with so much change going on in my life; and I am stressed.

I eased back yesterday to fight the cold, hammering it with vitamins, paracetamol, soups, honey and rest.  I put off a client until today, my admission of a cold sounded as weak as telling a teacher my dog had eaten my homework.  In fact my efforts to kill my cold ended in a reaction like one would expect from poking an angry dog with a stick.  Did I say I was stressed?

Sitting back yesterday watching war documentaries on the internet at least got me in the frame of mind that I am up for a fight.  This is war.  I am on the attack against the cold, I am fighting a defensive action to keep my clients happy.  I am working on a strategy on being a better parent to my body, this second cold being my second warning.

Looking on the bright side, whilst the rest of Britain has been buried in snow, Colchester escaped with a lighter brushing.  I can cope with the snow.  I am liaising between retailers and art gallery today so at least I will be less in the cold.  The cold is near the end of its lifecycle, and I still have avoided flu, plus that vomiting bug going around.  A week or so from now I will sit back and laugh at this.

I took some time to read a few WordPress blogs yesterday.  A talented writer, who annoyingly never replies to comments by their readers was indulging in a story of self pity claiming they are a useless writer.  I had purchased their book, and was less than impressed at their claims of woe.  They had set their target too high for many book sales in a limited market, then when they predictably failed, they indulged in a post of self hatred.  So here is me in my challenging situation reading a blog of someone having a life crisis over nothing; I unfollowed.

So there you have it.  I am fighting through my challenges, and I intend to win.  Did I say I was stressed?

Global weather turns hostile

2013 likely will be worse than 2012 for extremes of weather.

Two glowing eyes in the clouds promises a harsh global experience in 2013.

Two glowing eyes in the clouds promises a harsh global weather experience in 2013.

A few days ago I was bouncing around Colchester happy as a bee as the mild spring brought pleasant weather after the floods of rain during December.  The winter in Britain depresses me for its cold and darkness, so I have been liking the mild temperatures this winter, with few frosts, tons of rain and one day of snow.

The blossoms are on the trees; foraging bees were out gathering food; the birds singing their hearts out, creating their territories and finding a mate; the first flowers of spring, including snowdrops were blooming.  At the back of my mind I warned myself to be wary of my optimism, for the British weather is a temperamental animal, which can turn nasty in an instant.  Today temperatures dropped more than ten degrees Celsius on the previous day, something that has an impact of a sledgehammer on the human body, which dislikes sudden temperature changes.  The savage frosts were back and a warning of snow was being made all over the internet.  Damn!

The observant can over time spot trends, which includes weather.  The news of the first ten days of 2013 is grim.  The Middle East has been hammered by the worst storms in ten years, heavy rains and snow; a sense of disbelief that Jerusalem is at a standstill due to heavy snowfall.  In the northern provinces of China winter fell like a hungry beast trapping more than a thousand ships in sea ice, and plunging temperatures deep below freezing point.  In the USA, suffering the continuing drought, winter storms dumped tons of snow on suffering Americans.  New Zealand is in drought, their rivers at the lowest point in years.  Record killer heat waves in Australia and Tasmania resulted in vast wild fires that destroyed homes, took lives and wiped out large swathes of forest and innumerable numbers of wildlife.  Distressed whales that usually visit in summer appeared in winter in Canada, and are a cause of concern being trapped under ice with a diminishing gap in the ice providing them with air.

My prediction is that the weather in 2013 is going to give humanity a worse kicking than it did in 2012.


Sustainability Action 10: I signed up to a sustainability seminar in Colchester.

Knowledge is power, for knowledge provides the keys to open doors to success.  My progress to be a sustainable individual is hampered by the limits on my knowledge; it is through education that I can increase my knowledge, thus to be a better sustainable individual.  I today signed up to a one day seminar on sustainability at Essex University in Colchester for next week.

I shall learn about how to involve other people in a cooperative atmosphere to design and follow a sustainable process that benefits society, business and the environment.  Currently the world follows unsustainable processes that will lead to human extinction; those processes need to be changed, and it requires all individuals to make those changes together if humanity is to survive.

Expect challenging moments in nature

Nature offers unexpected surprises and challenges.

Unexpected snow in Colchester

The sudden change of the weather during the winter in Colchester surprised everyone including me.

For the last three months I experienced a mild winter.  Here in Britain after three harsh winters, I enjoyed some days I could even wear a t-shirt.  The flowers of spring were two months early, and even an admiral butterfly fluttered past me.

It came as a shock to me last week when winter knocked on my door, temperatures in double minus figures, snow on the ground, and no warmth in sight for weeks.  I doubt the butterfly was prepared for this sudden change in climate, and thus death was certain.  For me, I was complacent, and a leaflet campaign for my business was wiped out thanks to slippery ice.   Neither butterfly or I had prepared for a sudden change in our fortunes, and for both of us it was a disaster.