DISTRACTION TACTICS

Are you glued to your mobile phone or other device? A friend of mine doesn’t have a mobile phone, seldom listens to the radio and television-viewing is just one daily news bulletin. Do we need a distraction from the often grim world news in order to have a more balanced perspective of life? Here are just two distractions that I enjoy:

Bird-watching. I love it that birds are unaware of world news and just carry on as they always have. I’ve seen a goldcrest on a riverside tree, starlings on chimney pots, blackbirds turning fallen leaves to locate hidden worms, long-tailed tits chattering in the apple tree, gold finches balancing precariously on seed-heads. Red kites float across leaden skies and I even heard, then spotted, a parakeet – a newcomer to my part of the world.

Pulling on wellies to take a walk from home into the lanes, woods and fields. The ground has been frozen or gloopily muddy for weeks, but there’s always something new to spot – crops in the fields, a scuttling shrew, catkins, random nutshells, rabbit poo – and rabbits if I’m lucky. Dogs bound across open spaces, as glad to get out of the house as their owners; a three-legged cat comes to say hello when I pass its front-door. Roe deer lift wary heads from the grass to stare at me; sheep – cocooned in enviable thick fleeces – chew non-stop. A kingfisher streaks silently along the river, its iridescent plumage flashing turquoise and orange.

We can’t – and shouldn’t – ignore the news, but sometimes we can get a better life balance by setting aside weighty matters for awhile. Thank God for nature’s bounty.

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