Mindfulness with Snowdrops

A seasonal joy

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

We just walked back indoors from our customary saunter around our garden together just while we wait for our mid morning drinks to cool slightly. We’ve been to visit our woodland garden. It occurred to me how mindful this annual ritual has become.

Snowdrops en masse are a feature of my woodland garden each January. We arrived and found many here and then planted many more, dug some up to thin out clumps and spread them further. Four January’s on and our snowdrops are a sight to behold.

But it is not just January that is involved. It is a mindful process of many months.

In late summer we must clear away all the other weeds that grew up that summer, the nettles and eupatoria, the other species which inhabit wet woodland settings naturally and provide essential food and breeding habitats for the many species of insect and bird which also live in our garden. We wait for it all to brown off, then go in and pull by hand as much out of the way as possible. Sometimes our hands are tingling with the remnants of nettle leaves stinging away. That’s ok. We prune down the thicker stems and thin out some of the more thuggish plants, removing any snowdrop bulbs caught in their invasive roots and replanting them carefully, at the right depth for their needs.

We start visiting the woodland daily from early January, noticing the first small noses poking through the ground in the areas which receive most sun. The first bud appears, and is celebrated. Then a few flowers open, a few more, another patch wakes up and starts to show off too. Other woodland bulbs begin to show their green spikes, bluebells, daffodils, wild garlic, celandines. It is all coming to life. Even the nettles start to grow back and we pluck their shoots off to make our delicious lentil and nettle soups, a foragers delight in our own backyard. Golden saxifrage makes itself present, ferns start to show their dark green and brown furled fiddleheads. Over a period of two or three weeks the whole area is white with all these other green textures emerging to contrast, to help show off the wonderful snowdrops.

Once the carpets of white recede, we spot the dense clumps and carefully dig them up, thin them out into many smaller clumps and then replant them all into new spots, areas yet to be inhabited by this annual wonder. Another loving, careful, mindful activity to be enjoyed.

Each day during our shared mindful walk down there, in wellies and fleeces, we stop and listen to the wind through the trees, the birds getting louder as mating season approaches. We feel in touch with our living world, deep gratitude for the joy our patch of woodland brings us. Stopping, feel joyful gratitude and connection is such a simple meditation for each day, shared with love.

By the time we retreat back indoors, our hot drinks are ready to be drunk, and we are ready to continue with our respective activities. Such mindful moments can be found by everyone somehere or other. Just stop and be grateful, be connected, be at one.



Sylvia Clare MSc. Psychol, mindfulness teacher

mindfulness essayist, poet, advocate for mental health and compassionate living, author of ‘No Visible Injuries’, ‘Living Well and Loving ADHD’ and many others