In praise of small things

cherry treeThis is one of my favourite times of year – after a week of warm weather it feels like Spring has really arrived. This morning I had one of those moments where I felt really connected with the natural world – in this case the wildlife in our little back garden. We have a number of small trees in and around the back garden which are quite a haven for birds. At the top of one of the taller trees a male Blackbird was singing. In the next tree a Great Tit was calling its distinctive ‘chink chink’. There were also a couple of smaller birds in the same tree – probably Blue Tits.  I couldn’t help but stand for a while in the garden watching the birds flying from tree to tree.

I decided it would be nice to get a bit of exercise and enjoy a little of springtime in the city. Rather than catching a bus to the church office at Archway I decided to walk the ‘back way’ through Tufnell Park. This took me through residential streets of Victorian terraces and villas. I am fascinated by the endless variety of Victorian architecture, particularly the decorations and ornate flourishes incorporated into the facades. In my own street of detached Victorian villas (built around 1870) all are clearly built to a common design, but every single house has a unique feature – on one the colour of the bricks, on another details on the stonework around the windows. I particularly enjoyed walking along unfamiliar streets looking at the houses – a plus was that many of these roads are lined with cherry trees, the early flowering varieties in full bloom.

stand of daffodilsMy route took me through Whittington Park, a local recreation ground. Most of the trees are, of course, still bare of leaves, although fresh green shots and buds are ample evidence that they have long awakened from their winter dormancy. Around the park there are a variety of daffodils, now at their peak. Passing by all-weather football pitches, a coaching session was in full swing, with lots of excitable and fidgety small boys (and a few girls) being called to concentrate and LISTEN – which made me smile. Nearly all were, unsurprisingly, dressed in varieties of Arsenal football strip.

The park opens out on the busy Holloway Road; by the entrance there is a large green floral cat (presumably Dick Whittington’s). I pass by here nearly every day on the bus, but had never noticed him before. It goes to show that there are some things you don’t see properly unless you get off the bus or out of the car and travel more slowly and attentively.

floral catThis is a journey I shall have to make more often. And thank God for the little things – for songbirds and cherry blossom, pansies and daffodils in window boxes, toddlers in the playground and dog owners walking their pets, patterned brickwork and terracotta tiles.

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About Holloway Rev

Paul Weary is a Methodist minister living and working in Holloway, North London.
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