Do you have a special spot? Somewhere that just relaxes you as soon as you’re there, or even better, even when you just think about it? I have known special spots in the past that I would go back to, time and time again: sit spots. These places are intended for quiet visits, where you can just merge into the background and just be, and watch the wildlife go about its normal life as if you were not there.
In these sit spots, I have had wonderful moments, but it’s not something I’ve practiced for a wee while now. I don’t know why. Too busy? Too hectic? In reality it’s probably closer to the truth to say that I do mini sit spots on a regular basis. No drama, no fuss, just sit and watch.
Today was one of those days where I had several ‘sits’, but accidentally. I was in the wee woodland that I’m working to restore but I took my camera and tripod today and once I’d finished my work, I had some fun.
I was beside the wee burn, setting up the tripod and the camera, crouching down because the image I was trying to get was of the water spilling over the wee run of stones. Then, splash. I wasn’t sure what caused it, it sounded too big to be a frog, and indeed I caught a glimpse as it did the jumping thing, and that was no frog. I sat, stock still, just watching the water to see what would happen next.
After several minutes of nothing, I see it again. Beautiful, streamlined, elegant, the exact colour of the peaty water. Turns out it’s a brown trout, using the burn, perhaps, to spawn in. A fair size, it must have been at least 30cm, and I saw it again as it moved from the shadows up to the next wee step of the burn.
There is literally life all around us that we just do not notice. If I had just been walking, I would never have noticed that fish, but because I was fiddling with something, I was there, I was being quiet, I was listening and so I heard it.
This rush rush rush does no one any good. And as if I needed further reminding, it happened again, but this time it was a bird. I’d been hearing it, a gorgeous wee high pitched tweet tweet, sounding so jewel-like and I knew it, but my brain wasn’t giving me the answer. Again, I was fiddling with the camera, this time trying to get a picture of the woodland, and to capture the magical autumn light and then there was the sudden movement out of the corner of my eye and I knew, that’s the bird.
Using my binoculars I saw it properly. It was a goldcrest, one of the smallest bird we get here in the UK, and the first one I have seen since I moved here 6 months ago. And it sang and sang and sang. Utterly heavenly. I watched for as long as I could until it was lost in the undergrowth.
Which is when the robin appeared! And then proceeded to dance in the trees around me, cocking his wee black eye with a cheery demeanour. What delights are in this woodland! What a heavenly place to be.
So if I can say one thing to you it will be this: slow down, listen, watch, just be in the outdoors. Relax and enjoy and allow the wildlife to come to you. You will enjoy it all the more. Move quietly, with patience and care and see what finds you. Learn the magic of the sit spot, and take it with you wherever you are. And above all, allow the heart to feel the joy of seeing nature without disturbing nature. Be peace wherever you go.