There are days when I try not to listen to the news. 
Those are the days and moments when the reader’s voice conveys more than the troubles we face. It obtains a pitch that seems to stir the reservoir of worries and prods at the barricades that hold it all back. Those are the days when it suddenly becomes difficult to work, the words on the computer screen turn from meaningful thoughts into marks of black on white and I need to find a distraction; something simple that will stop the familiar spiral. 
Right… kitchen, kettle, mug, tea bag, milk… I’m sure there’s a packet of chocolate digestives at the back of the cupboard somewhere. 
Open the door and step outside, that’s better. Sitting down on the step, first glance is at that bit of scruffy lavender that I’ve been meaning to prune back for ages. It still smells nice though, even now in October. Three pots down the dahlias that we grew from seed are still flowering, pink and yellow heads nodding in the slight breeze. Slurp of tea and peering over the rim of the cup, that fuchsia I got from Mum still seems to be doing ok. It’s in the little bed at the end of the tatty strip of grass I laughingly call a garden. Just don’t look at the holes the dog is excavating, with great delight. 
A flash of movement in the oak tree and the blue tits make a foray to the feeder. Flick.. flash… ceaseless movement. Looking back at the tree and de-focussing my eyes slightly I’m aware of more life in the branches, as diminutive wings search for the highest spots to trill their wares. 
I've been distracted, de-railed, and de-spiralled. And it took all of 5 minutes. 
Suddenly, I realise that I’m not thinking about newsreaders, Covid, travel restrictions and whether we can keep a roof over our heads. I’m pondering on the colours of growth and the movement of life.  
The only roof is the sky above and that is as limitless as thought and as open as opportunity; I’ve been distracted, de-railed and de-spiralled. And it took all of 5 minutes. There are days when it takes longer and days when it takes longer still, but it always works eventually… 
… outside. 
Stay safe, 
Dan J 
Dan is Plas Gwynant's Senior Tutor and programme lead. You can contact him at or 01766 890212 
We love this resource from The John Muir Trust: "Creativity, Nature & Mental Health: A collection of poems & reflections"  
You can read more about World Mental Health Day at the Mental Health Foundation HERE.  
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On 3rd November 2020 at 09:53, Chris Davies wrote:
Given your surname Cherry, I suspect that you may have a vested interest in that plant! I'll make sure he gets the message! Chris.
On 30th October 2020 at 15:17, Cherry Jackson wrote:
Excellent, but look after that fushia!
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