My (almost daily) walk through our village has become part of what I need to relax and wind down. As this blog has described earlier, it takes me through the 'urban' part of this little quaint village, past charming old Dutch merchant houses with hidden garden gems, which you are sometimes lucky to get a glimpse of, provided the garden doors have been kept open.
As I continue, it leads me out on a small road which once was covered with tarmac but nowadays presents more stones than it does smooth surface. Once you hit that road, you're in the proper countryside. And this, just 10 minutes or so from home.
Alongside one side of the road stretches an enormous hedge, in front of which nettles are growing high. I have learnt that you can judge the age of a hedge by counting the number of species living inside it. Hedge making is an incredibly interesting art form and takes a skilled workforce - and some time - to create a hedge.
On the other side of the road lies Topsham Bowling Green Marsh, where twitchers from all around the world come to do what twitchers do - watch birds, talk birds, read about birds and... well, maybe not eat birds.
The location at the river Exe estuary, with its salt marshes, reedbeds and vast mudflats means there is always plenty of food for migrating birds. There is a bird hide which allows you to get up close and personal with egrets, shell ducks and curlews. People who can spot and name birds impress me. To me, birds will probably always remain "that black and white one with long legs" or "the one with the pointy bill". On the other hand, I find crows, blackbirds and house sparrows just as interesting and beautiful as their more famous mates.
As much as I like birds, I find the cows along this road more pleasing. There is something very peaceful about cows, graising in a field of buttercups. Maybe we all should live more like cows. Chill out, eat, sleep and well... recycle to use a word.
What I find fascinating as well, is to follow the changes in nature. When you walk the same road every other day, you can really observe what's happening. Every little bush becomes somewhat familiar and you get almost upset if you find someone has chopped it off one day.
I have started to take pictures of the same oak tree every time I pass. I am hoping to put together a collection of photos on how this tree changes during the seasons.
I am not a winter person, I prefer Spring and Autumn. I find Summer often being too stressful and hectic. But whatever the season, I feel the need to observe it, to live with its changes in order to adapt to the forthcoming one. Maybe this is due to the fact that I originate from a Nordic country, where the seasons are much more dramatic and obvious, I don't know. Or maybe it is just the biological clock we all have within.