PHOTOS AND NOTES: During the first UK lockdown the weather was glorious and we were allowed to leave our homes once a day for exercise. I got in the habit of walking after work every evening with my husband and teenage daughter. It became something we all looked forward to and it was so nice to see other families out and about too. That's something you only see on a weekday evening if you're on holiday or in the middle of a pandemic.
I'm not sure how it happened but gradually I got into the habit of taking a photo of one tree on each walk - my favourite of the day. It was something to talk about and a kind of game. Others could suggest candidates but only I got to decide which one became tree of the day. The trees were chosen for many different and varied reasons. This was the first one, I think, that gave me the idea...
Others were chosen for their shape, the way the light fell on them, the colour of their leaves, their perseverance against all odds, their familiarity or sometimes the birds and animals around them.
This one came with a ready-made smile, ready for its close-up...
And this with its own door...
Looking for a tree of the day made us all pay closer attention to nature and we became more aware of our local environment. We started trying to identify trees and birds and asking questions only Google could answer: Do slugs have mouths? Can trees live without leaves? What are wasps for?
Despite living in the same area for 17 years we've found lots of local paths and variations of walks we've never been on before, all starting from our front door. We were so used to commuting every day, or getting in the car to go somewhere at weekends that we neglected to explore what was on our own doorstep. It reminded me of being a child again - you couldn't go far but where you did roam you knew every nook and cranny.
Halfway through the year our son graduated from university - via a Zoom call - and returned home so he joined us on our family outings. Before then I'd send him photos from our walks, including my tree of the day, on our WhatsApp family chat. It was a fun way to keep in touch while there was really not a lot else going on and sometimes he'd send us photos too.
As it's nearing the anniversary of the first lockdown I thought I'd use Shooglebox to gather all my "tree of the day" photos and share the box with the rest of the family as happy memories of a very strange year.
Looking at them all together now, makes me realise just how long we've been living with pandemic because you can really see the seasons changing. Like everyone else, I can't wait to come out of lockdown but taking photos of trees is a habit that could stick!