Good, Bad and Everything in Between

We are in the middle of February, and the past two weeks have not been unlike any other winters in the UK – only that we are still in the post Christmas national lockdown – and it has been particularly cold.

To a lot of people, winter is a time they dread the most: the long enduring darkness, the harshness of a Northerly wind and daylight shortlived. However, seasonal changes is what makes this part of the world so beautiful, and to go through the good times you have to experience the trials and tribulations as well. Personally I would like to think that I’m here for the journey’s entirety, channelling my bad experiences as lessons and motivation for wanting to do better.

This year I’ve felt a shift; with courage and conviction I have put myself out there. Despite some less than ideal situations in the last three years of working in UK conservation, I have simply refused to give up.

Knock me down. I purge. I stand up. I try again.

It would be easy to sit on my laurels and stay put in my comfort zone, much alike the quiet lull in winter before signs of springtime began. That was certainly NOT going to be the case for me, thus week after week I have thrown myself into new challenges and experiences and most importantly enhanced my knowledge for trees and the natural world.

So far in 2021 (up till today) I have:
(1) Found my love again for macro nature photography
(2) Worked with a prominent nature conservation organisation to manage a couple of huge fallen trees
(3) Learned plenty of new stuff from attending different webinars about trees
(4) Reached out to and connected with prominent tree experts whom I really respect, and got them to mentor me
(5) Successfully passed my reassessment for chainsaw felling up to 380mm
(6) Learned to use sophisticated instruments to measure tree decay
(7) Discovered, recorded and verified an ancient oak in my county, which has been shared far and wide across the world (amassing over 1000 likes on social media in two separate pages)
(8) Learned to sample a woodland for carbon sequestration

It’s not always easy to go beyond one’s comfort zone so a lot attributes to plucking up the courage and motivation to get out and do something positive, taking small but meaningful steps forward. In the light of the current pandemic we have a choice to either forge ahead and prepare ourselves for the excitement when things get back to a new normal, or we can stay stagnant and not evolve. I know what I’d want. I also know that the good, bad and everything in between makes our journeys that extra bit special.

(Cover photo is of a twin stem beech that had suffered a structural split down the middle, possibly also exacerbated due to a storm or lightning strike. The photo was taken on one of my woodland survey days, and the tree was most impressive to look at!)

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