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Time to say yes to the nature and beauty of Caithness!

By Monique Sliedrecht

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Northern Drift by Monique Sliedrecht

Say yes to our local wildlife, says Monique Sliedrecht. Picture: Alan Hendry
Say yes to our local wildlife, says Monique Sliedrecht. Picture: Alan Hendry

Spring is surely now on its way. I’ve been waiting for this moment, and for the invigorating rays of sunshine and longer hours of daylight.

I find myself suddenly wanting to start a myriad of projects and feel able to do just about anything. It’s a new season, with new possibilities.

The last few mornings I’ve been waking up to the beautiful and varied song of the thrush. This unassuming bird sits in one of few trees near my window and sings its heart out, as though it is saying “yes” to the morning, yes to the day.

Its first utterance in the early hours of dawn is an unexpected melody. If roused from my slumber, I often open the window just a crack so I can hear it more clearly. It is a heartening sound – one of spring, but also a sound of hope and promise. Keep singing! It seems to cry out.

The natural world is stirring. Bluebells and forget-me-nots are popping up through the ground. Gaggles of geese are flying overhead, curlews are nesting in the grasses, and fulmars are populating the cliff sides.

Bumblebees will soon be making an appearance, including the great yellow, unique to this part of the world. There is so much life!

All of nature follows the rhythm of the seasons and does what it does best. It says “yes”. Do we?

Recently I was struck by something a TV and film writer said when asked what her plans were for the upcoming months. She said that she was planning to say yes to any opportunity that came her way. I thought it was a pretty bold step but, on consideration, realise it is one of courage and life.

Lately too I felt a strong nudge to begin to say “yes” more often to things. I, along with many of us, us have become so comfortable with saying “no” that we end up rejecting even the opportunities we would enjoy rather than embrace them.

But we don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines of life. That’s not good for our health and wellbeing. So rather than give into fear, what would it mean if we were to say yes?

Yes to risking more, and fearing less;

Yes to a new paint colour or medium, instrument or hobby.

Yes to waking up earlier;

Yes to exploring a new route for our familiar journey.

Yes to helping our neighbour.

Yes to stepping outside of our comfort zone.

Yes to surprising new opportunities.

Yes to filling in potholes without fear of the cost (a yes for the council!)

Yes to worrying less.

Yes to walking.

Yes to our children instead of scrolling on our iphones.

Yes to prioritising our health.

Yes to letting someone into the queue in front of you.

Yes to the countryside rangers in Caithness. There are not many funded roles like this, supporting individuals with a love for the natural beauty of the county who are willing to share their knowledge with young and old alike.

Yes to learning more about the treasures in our environment.

Yes to the great yellow bumblebee.

Yes to supporting our local businesses.

Yes to growing old gracefully.

Yes to being more fully ourselves.

Yes to giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

Yes to swimming in the sea.

Yes to art, music, poetry; to reading a book, learning a new skill, meeting face to face.

Yes to humanity.

Yes to nature, to the welfare of the seabirds and curlews, the snipe and the puffin.

Yes to our sea creatures.

Do we recognise what treasures we have on this earth? The north of Scotland holds many of them, too good to miss out on.

Yes to hoping, like the thrush.

Before we jump to a default position and say no, let’s say yes.

Monique Sliedrecht.
Monique Sliedrecht.

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