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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht


Updated: Jun 15, 2022

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about the colour yellow, having noticed how predominant it was in the early spring season.

Since then, a medley of pinks, light blues and purples have joined the vibrant tapestry of bursting foliage in the Caithness landscape.

I picked a few of the wildflowers and placed them in a vintage jug I bought at a charity shop in Inverness recently. This humble bouquet has graced my small round outdoor table during the Jubilee weekend up until now and served as an extension of the beautiful warmth and sunshine we’ve had lately. The purple of the bluebells and orchids are especially fitting somehow, a nod to 70 years of the reign of Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II.

There is so much new life and verdant colour all around. I love Scotland in the Spring!


Last week my sister gave my niece, Raya, a book with blank pages to use as a personal nature journal. She was so excited to start writing and drawing in it! She immediately set off with her new book and some coloured pencils to record what she saw outside. Her first entry was of the tulips that are currently growing in their garden in B.C., Canada.

The other day, during a skype chat, I commented on her journal and observations. When I asked her what her favourite colour was, she said


I was expecting her to say purple, or pink.... but no - 'It's teal, Aunt Meek.'

I like a girl who knows her mind, and her colours!

On the same day, my sister and nephew spotted a unique moth on their screen door. It's called a Ceanothus Silkmoth.

It will be the next thing Raya draws in her journal. I love how she and her brothers are being taught to notice nature around them and record their observations on paper. Maybe I will go back to basics and start a nature journal myself. Actually, isn't that what a sketchbook is all about?


Added to the visual tapestry in Caithness is a rich chorus of birds: the cuckoo calling from the distant forest, oyster catchers loudly expressing concern every time I pass by (‘Monique! Monique! Monique!), curlews flying low over the rushes crying out with their long haunting song, other small birds twittering in the bushes and in the nearby fields.... Lately I’ve spotted an adult pied wagtail flitting around the newly cut lawn, its two young chicks following closely behind while they look for food. It is a precious sight, and I try not to scare them off by moving too suddenly at the kitchen window.

Meanwhile the handsome chaffinch continues his tap, tap, tapping at the windows, challenging his reflection which he deems to be the competition, or a threat, or both!

Lately I’ve been waking very early in the mornings, which I mainly put down to ridiculously early sunrises (It is already fairly light by 3 AM!), as well as that darn chaffinch. Usually I will get up for a glass of water, and I always have a look out the window when I do. On one of these mornings, I spotted a fox making its way along the fence line only a few metres from the house. Another time I watched a roe deer cautiously grazing, which then reappeared the next evening.

Somehow in the wee hours of night, when I'm wakeful and half asleep, the worries begin to invade my mind. Things seem out of proportion. Does anyone else experience that? Getting up for a drink of water helps me in these times. It seems to blow away concerns into the ether, or at least put them in their rightful place.

Watching that peaceful deer, and noticing the intricate wildflowers, brings some old lines to mind:

'See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin....Not even King Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these....'

'And look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns....'

'Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.'

Ah, to live in the present! To be free as a bird...


Mum, Mum, what's for breakfast? Hang on, I'm getting it. Ah, that's better!

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