Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Green, Blue & White

31st May 2020

This was an entry that I meant to write last year but other intrusions got in the way. The need to face some fears surrounding a stay around Vancouver were among these. The latterly unrealised possibility of meeting a bear on a hike was uppermost but the length of the transatlantic air journey was another one as was my reproving myself for spending so much on a holiday. It turned out to be a year for major discretionary expenditure but all was paid off in good time.

The way of the world was another matter with an unwanted political change in the offing and business rules threatened my contracting enterprise. In the end, neither turned out to be as existential as feared and have been trumped by the ongoing pandemic in any event. That has added unnatural tension with which I have been learning to deal. It remains a work in progress and has encouraged me to get out and about in any sunshine.

The Spring Bank Holiday weekend was so good to me that I am left wondering if I can wait too long before having another longer break from work. Given current restrictions, travel will not be all that extensive and my dependence on public transport makes it more so even if I dream of short bus trips away from home. Even without this, I still see the benefits of taking a week or more away from work.

It helps that it is a time of year when colours that I find appealing are in such abundance. Many of my favourite photos are based around blues, greens and whites so I have started to wonder why. It may be that my tastes are simpler but these are calming colours as well. Other outdoor photographers may decry the summertime with early starts and late finishes being needed if you want to make images in the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. Others again look to autumn, a season that I find more challenging for photography with its directional light and added colour complexity. Then, winter can have tricky lighting conditions of its own but it does have its fans.

For me, springtime is my favourable and it has been glorious this year. Ironically, the pandemic restrictions and added sense of tension have been more enough encouragement to get out and experience what is there. Once I find a quieter spot and that is challenging when people cannot travel far, it is relished all the more. The feeling of added relaxation is as much a bonus as seeing the countryside at its best.

The main drawback of all the sunshine is that places are looking a bit parched and utility companies are asking us to conserve water. It is as if the transition from green to brown starts in summer with winter being its zenith before spring eventually greens things up again. That of course is the cycle of life as much as the lengthening and shortening of days.

June is ahead of us tomorrow so the solstice looms, a time of a little sadness for me since it marks the zenith of daylight hours before we start on an inexorable journey to their nadir. The winter solstice oddly marks a time of hope for me because days start to stretch after that. With all this, it is best to take each day at a time and marvel at how we adjust and adapt. That has been an ever present feature of the last few months for me and the bittersweet time beyond the summer solstice may be counterbalanced by any hope given by things opening up more and more as the year progresses.

Then, we might be able to contemplate a wider range of possibilities. July this year might have seen me go to Denver and Boulder in Colorado but that kind of escapade will need to wait. We never really know the times for making use of opportunities, something that is being driven home to us in this year. It is one where remaining in every moment and taking things day by day looks more sensible. It also causes us to make the most of every one of these and stops us merely passing by it all. That could drive how 2020 gets remembered: happy satisfying moments in the midst of a challenging time.

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