"Keep your your eyes open and you will see nature." All too often I am reminding myself that it is important that I simply stop. Look. Connect.

Turning off from your work and focusing on there here and now is something that those in Sweden are very good at. They call it Fika, a dedicated and compulsory shutting down of the work force twice a day (in addition to a lunch break). Mug full of coffee, topical discussions and a spread of cakes later, the mind is cleared and ready to focus on the task in hand once again.
catkin5-201x300 Catkins all opening

Trees with Catkins

  • Hazel
  • Alder
  • Silver Birch
  • Willow
  • Oak

As I was focusing during my 15 minute connection time this week I noticed a number of things that had been passing me by; under my nose but not in my focus. Hedgerows, river banks and my own Forest School setting is covered in willow and, yes, I have been cropping, planting and sculpting (if you can call it that) to create and maintain a number of structure. catkin4-200x300 Catkins all opening

However, it took the workshop from Helen this week (thanks to Helen and those who attended for making the day a joy to be a part of) to remember to connect with the willow.

As I slowed down and took a closer look, I noted the different shapes of catkins on the various varieties of willow. If you have it growing in your setting or garden then take a moment, you won't regret it! This was then shared with the children - who reminded me that they were actually caterpillars - and a pot full of water and short lengths put in my window.

Essentially, catkins allow the tree to reproduce. Catkins allow the female flowers to be pollinated as the pollen from the male flowers is blown by the wind. Once the seeds have developed they are dispersed by the wind to avoid growing right below their parent. The exception is willow which uses insects for pollination rather than wind.Woodland Trust

I now await the grand opening. And I will keep looking, reminding myself to stop and be present. Only nature to thank for that!


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Catkins all opening
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