Spring Challenges

The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.

Quote by Harriet Ann Jacobs (February 11, 1813 – March 7, 1897) African-American writer who escaped from slavery and was later freed. She became an abolitionist speaker and reformer.

Spring is peeking over the horizon, the days are lengthening, the darkness of winter is slowly becoming consigned to my memory and the dawn chorus is edging its way out of an empty space, tentative, almost fragile but becoming more meaningful and determined every day!

Outside my front window I can see cute little sparrows and delicate, delightful blue tits on the buddleia collecting the small leaves for their nests. The Blackbirds are enjoying the back garden seeking the pieces of apple I put out for them each day as well as finding plenty of worms!  The great tits and robins are vigorously competing with each other to see who can make the garden sound the most alive with their exhilarating song! There are 2 collared doves on the holly tree performing their unique courtship routine, magpies and rooks are strutting their stuff making it known that they have the upper hand and the starlings are sitting on the roof clicking and clucking away as they survey the whole scene!

Daffodils are lending their bright colour to a garden that is slowly becoming greener and more inviting, the snowdrops have made way for the purple and yellow crocuses and the tulips look ready to burst into action! The earth is renewing itself once again as it prepares to give us the warmth that has eluded us over the winter months.

So, with all this hope, promise and light on the horizon why do I feel so dark? I have a permanent lump in my throat and feel close to tears most of the time? The Sun is starting to make a more permanent and prolific appearance but I can’t shift this black cloud above my head.

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.

 Quote by Hal Borland (Author / Journalist 1941 – 1978)

There is so much joy happening around me. The birds are excitedly singing as their quest for survival becomes easier, rabbits are radiantly bounding across my path when I am out with my companions in the early morning, the sky larks are giving us early morning music to start our day in the best possible way and the newly bloomed pink and white blossom lends itself to give my early morning outings a wondrous feel.

My Son has a new job and I don’t think I have seen him so animated or content.  He is at last showing a real passion for his profession as a joiner and I couldn’t be more proud of him. My daughter is fast becoming a teenager but, even though she does like to test me to my limits, I know she does this because of the closeness of our relationship and our mutual respect and love for each other.   My husband seems really content and well at the moment and, for the most part, we have a truly special relationship based on team work and Love. I know how lucky I am!

So why can’t I be happy inside? I know the answer. It’s because I can’t focus solely on my own personal world. I am too aware of the tragedy and destruction happening beyond my little circle as much as I try to stay ignorant of it. It’s staring me blatantly and unashamedly in the face every day.

With each daily car journey, I am witnessing more and more dead badgers, rabbits, deer, pheasants and other poor souls on the side of the roads. This is totally heart-breaking and, I believe unnecessary. Us Humans, with our big killing machines, going too bloody fast and not giving any thought to the fact that other beings have to use our roads.  Every day, I am reminded of the destruction we have wrought on our planet with our need to live out of kilter with the natural world. I love to watch the pigeons in town and I am in awe of the way that they feel safe enough to live and survive among the humans, who, as far as I can see, largely ignore them and fail to appreciate the wildlife that moves alongside us.  What I can’t bear is when I see a dead pigeon on the road in town. There is no excuse for this. No one should be driving fast in town centres, and there is every opportunity to allow a pigeon time to gather its energy to fly off or waddle across the road. Even the most impatient Human being is able to toot the car horn to encourage his/her pigeon neighbour to get a move on! But unfortunately for some despicable humans, they are unable to wait that extra 10 seconds to allow a pigeon to live. When I see this, I am both mortified and devastated. One day, I am going to be the pigeon lady of Witney, sitting on the bench feeding the pigeons and I won’t care what my human neighbours have to say about it…One day!

One of the signs of spring that people seem to love is the sight of those adorable little balls of legs and fluffiness that are the lambs that farmers are selectively breeding to be born earlier and earlier so that these poor helpless tiny souls are trying to survive in very unspring like conditions. This is so farmers can ensure their lambs are big enough to slaughter for the lucrative “spring lamb” market around Easter. Around 10-25 per cent of all lambs born in the UK die within their first three days of life. That represents around 2-6 million animals every year. Rather than being due to foxes and other predators, this high mortality rate is due to exploitation and neglect by farmers themselves.

When I see these totally beautiful and incredibly gorgeous babies, I also see their future and I feel gutted and filled with despair, unlike the majority of human beings who see a cute baby, say “Ah” and don’t give any further thought to what lies in store for them. I just don’t understand why people can’t make the connection between that innocent life and what they will be eating for their Sunday roast. It appauls me.

So, there it is, confronting my every day. My source of sadness and despair. Tearing me up inside and damaging me at a deep level that I can’t climb out from. Add to that, the knowledge of the human rights abuses and the absolute atrocities that are happening further afield from my own little piece of earth, and I am plunged into a place of darkness where I can’t see the light no matter how bright the sun, yellow the daffodils, loud the birdsong and light the mornings. I feel I am just existing. I do what I can to make small ripples but it doesn’t feel enough and time doesn’t grace me with it’s presence to create waves.

Things need to change. I need to change. I need a change.

If you want things to be different, perhaps the answer is to become different yourself.

Quote by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (May 31, 1898 – December 24, 1993) was a minister and author (most notably of The Power of Positive Thinking) and a progenitor of “positive thinking”.

And that is just what is going to happen but before that, I need to achieve so much. I need to get my mind in order, I need to reassess my priorities, I need to find some peace of mind and learn how to be happy despite what I can’t control. I need to concentrate on something all consuming which requires all my concentration and energy so that I can’t focus on what I can’t change.

To that end, I will be starting a new job role in May which is a step away from anything I have done before. I believe it will challenge and stimulate me and will need all my focus for the foreseeable future. I think and hope that this will enable me to be distracted from everything that hurts me. I know I am going to be so engrossed and hopefully inspired by the expectations placed on me that for a while, at least, I will need to put my activism life on a back burner. And perhaps that is not a bad thing. I know that, as Animal Rights Activists, we are supposed to feel that every little action counts and I know it does. It raises awareness and educates. But as an all or nothing person, doing just a little bit of something, is not enough for me and just causes me to feel frustrated. I can’t give my life over to Animal Activism because I have family and responsibilities which I wouldn’t change for the world. One day, perhaps I will be able to afford to, but for now, I need to give my energy to something that I can both be effective in and be paid for! I have loved all the roles I have taken, they have all led me to the role I am about to take. With each role however, I have reached my comfort zone, and I am easily bored, and my comfort zones have started to suffocate and strangle me and I have needed to move on to seek new challenges. Working with people with Early Onset Dementia has been a privilege and an honour and has instilled in me life’s greatest lesson: LIVE IN AND FOR THE MOMENT. However, my relationships have reached points where there is now an opening for me to branch out and let new relationships form. It is not going to be easy at all. I have some particular relationships which have become very important to me and to the people I support. Saying Good Bye to these people will probably be one of the hardest and heart-breaking things I will do. However, I believe that my colleagues, who will replace me, will be totally amazing and I know I need to let go of the relationships which have probably become too intense and stagnant and which need fresh and new direction.

So I am going into a role where I will be driving changes in health and social care policies. A role which I believe is going to test me in ways that I hope will motivate me to give myself over to this position and allow it to become my main focus after my family. I have wanted to study the social sciences and social policy for so long, and now I have a paid way in to do this. I already have a broad base of knowledge in this field and now I can really use my knowledge and experience to influence effective campaigning and positive changes for Human beings. This doesn’t cause as much utter pain in my heart as the struggle for driving change within Animal Rights and I feel in control and know what I am doing. I can see changes and light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t see the light for our Non-Human neighbours and while I will continue to promote Veganism among all those I know and come into contact with, while I will not hesitate to inform people about the cruelties of animal farming and testing and while I will continue to be defined my Ethical Vegan Values and beliefs, I need, for my own emotional health and wellbeing, to find a way of working through the hopelessness and anguish that is with me constantly. I think I can do this by immersing myself in a role that is going to require dedication, belief and focus.

Sometimes you have to lose your mind before you can come to your senses.

Before that, I need to get my life in order. Finish all the jobs that I have had on my “to do” list for months and years. Get on top of all my anti technology issues because my new role will require me to be quite tech savvy I think! File away all my Animal rights and vegan magazines somewhere I can pick them up, as and when, rather than having them staring me in the face every day, reminding me of what I can’t do. Plant my veg, tidy my garden and spend as much time with my daughter before my mind becomes distracted with the demands of my new job!

So I sign off now feeling a little lighter in spirit having got my feelings out of my head and onto my computer, blog, worldwide web! The sun is trying to shine through the window encouraging me to make a start on getting ordered and organised so that come May, I will have a clean slate and hopefully a clear and more peaceful mind.

When you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.

Quote by J Jackson Brown, Author.

This post is dedicated to my WONDERFUL AASS (Animal Aid Soul Sister) Kay.

Kay, you have been my biggest supporter throughout this whole journey of mine. You have helped me, encouraged me and believed in me. But, most importantly, you UNDERSTAND me which means ABSOLUTELY AND TOTALLY EVERYTHING!

Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down



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