Count Your Blessings
I am in “lockdown” while writing this in July, so inevitably I am thinking of the past weeks and months when the world has not been normal for us all; when sad things have happened. The usual patterns of our lives have changed, but some aspects have improved and the old chorus, “Count your blessings” came to mind.
This song was one of the ones my maternal grandmother used to rock me to sleep as a baby (“Sound the Battle Cry” and “Onward Christian Soldiers” being other favourites). There are so many experiences that I have mourned in this ‘lockdown’, such as watching the new green leaves appearing gradually on the trees, bluebell woods, ox-eye daisies, poppy fields, hearing the cuckoo and being out in the countryside. As you can guess, I am a country girl at heart. It has been hard not to do the normal things that we have taken for granted, such as going shopping, outings and picnics, and we have had to endure the small contacts (distantly) that we have had with family members and friends, and not able to go out for a coffee or a meal.
On the other hand, the weeks spent at home in the good weather has enabled us to observe garden things closely, such as the different sorts of bees and flowers, and the way they select some flowers and ignore others. Different sorts are adapted to deal with some flowers i.e. they have long tongues to push into certain flowers, while others only land on flat flowers. The flowers have numerous colours and shapes and some have heavenly scents. Here we have been blessed with several rose bushes in our front garden which are very old. We have lived here 56 years and they looked old and well-established when we arrived.
One is a ‘Peace Rose’ and this type was developed after the war. The blooms are very large, reminding me always of the Queen Mother’s hats.
In the summer, I enjoy watching a flower bud on an Evening Primrose unwrapping with mathematical precision to an open flower which attracts moths. It takes about 20 minutes for the whole process to be worked through. Fascinating!
Lessening of pollution has meant that butterflies have increased, and the night sky has improved visually. In this area the sight of stars is a novelty because of the huge light pollution from the container port. Not only have we seen more stars than usual, but the full moon has been spectacular. Normally the seasons come and go as expected, but this year has been so different in so many ways and we now have many new memories to look back on. These will help to ease these strange times.
Holidays have been cancelled, but with memories we can retrace happy times we have spent both here and overseas. Children and parents have had to cope with lack of schooling; weddings, funerals and many kinds of celebrations have been cancelled and this has been hard to accept. This time of change, anxiety, worry, bewilderment, grief and coping both physically and mentally, has meant that the year 2020 will be remembered for a very long time.
It has been so strange not to be able to worship together on Sunday, or be able to see others of our church family, but we are grateful to all those who have worked to bring services to our homes instead. Modern technology has made so much more possible in these weird times. Let’s all remember to count our blessings.