In praise of noticing

Water droplets make everything photogenic!
After the rain this wavy hair grass looks to be decorated with Christmas decorations

For me no two walks are the same. One day I might be tangled up in thinking - the mind spinning around on a carousel of chatter. Thoughts about the future - plans, to do's, worries, or thoughts about the past - memories, regrets, mental traces of bygones. The very next day, I might be taking the very same route but with the fog of thinking having lifted.

To call this mind stuff a 'fog' might seem odd after all we identify so closely with our thoughts - they seem to define who we are. But it gets in the way - our window on the world gets misted up. While we are lost in thought we are not present. Freedom from the needy 'think me!' of thoughts grants us the gift of noticing.

Nature beckons us away from ourselves - with the call of a benign siren. Nature lays out a feast for the senses - all we have to do is notice it.

Puffballs improve with age.
As they lose their spines the surface takes on this wonderful lacy appearance - a fungal crochetwork
I notice more and more. I used to be a birder first and foremost so during my patch walks I'd focus on the sky and tops of trees, seeking out some avian prize, ears pricked and attuned to every bird call and song.

As my natural history interests have widened - to fungi, lichens, insects, mosses - the whole living panoply - so my patch walks have become more rewarding.

There aren't any dull days any more, there's an almost infinite amount of new natural wonders on show.

The photos in this post depict just a few tiny details - examples of a natural world - waiting to be  explored, experienced...noticed

No two leaves are alike.
Fallen willow leaves are  like snowflakes - each with a unique pattern

Fungi can make unusual patterns.
This is the spore print of a brown birch bolete.

 The exploded seed capsules of Himalyan Balsam  make fantastic shapes.

Waxcaps are wonderful - especially underneath

Flowing streams make lovely patterns.
Flowing over the autumn leaves catching the sun - a flux of watery giraffe necks
There are a lot more spiders web than we think.
A dewy autumn morning reveals these silky wonders - normally difficult to pick out - to be everywhere,

Even on a chilly, drizzly, dull, unpromising November day like today - there are things to see.
This muddy path is about as unpromising as it gets - but the subtle pattern of dead fronds is sublime!
No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -

We learnt this poem  at school by Thomas Hood which basically says November is a bit crap! It put me off November for some time but I think it's wrong - all months are great, just different. There are always beautiful things to see like this wonderful bark pattern
...all it takes is seeing, looking

Look closely at tree - a whole world of textures, shapes, forms
Get this


  1. Wonderful images Phil.. and there really isn't much better than an autumn walk to clear away some of the mind 'fog'! Hope you're keeping well. :)

    1. Hi Jan, thanks a lot, good to hear from you! Yes not bad thanks - hope you are too!


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