Whenever life feels a little too heavy I take a walk. It has always been the way. Getting outside, breathing lungfuls of fresh air and stretching my legs reminds me that I’m alive. And sometimes, that’s just enough.

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Saturday rolled around and with it came slate grey sky laden with heavy clouds. The morning was cold; tiny flecks of icy rain falling intermittently, threatening a miserable day of showers. Almost as if mirroring my own mood. But a little rain never stopped me; I’ve walked through storms before and I will again.

Mum and I headed over to the marshes; towards nature and life and a tiny slice of hope. The rain soon stopped, the wind dropped and determination rose within me – things can get better with a change of perspective and a little perseverance.

We walked trails I have trodden countless times, finding the quiet little spot where the robins are most friendly. Armed with my camera I was ready to capture some beauty and smooth over the bumps in my heavy heart. Nature has always inspired me and sparked a passion within me. The times I am wandering around a reserve or country park are my most happiest. Even more so with my camera in tow.

It was a quiet, peaceful morning. The robins sang beautifully, making my heart expand with joy. Every little robin I met I photographed…some of my favourite captures to date.

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When our legs were tired and our feet were aching we set off for home.

Then Sunday rolled around and we decided to go back.

Another dark morning filled with clouds. This time the weather forecast predicted heavy rain – I was so sure I would be caught in it – yet somehow the thought couldn’t dampen my want to get back outside.

We walked alongside the Thames, winding our way up the stone path. The blustery wind whipped up the water and brung the tide so high it swallowed up the small strip of bank. I had hoped to search for sea glass but with my chances dashed I sat down and let the sound of the water wash over me instead. The sun broke through the clouds, sunlight reflecting in pools across the rippled surface. With everything looking a little brighter it was easier for me to feel more positive. There is beauty out there in the world if you just take a little time to look for it.

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After we had sat and talked for awhile we made our way back in to the reserve and were treated to the sight of a beautiful male pheasant. Pheasants have always been a favourite of mine and to see one again made me so happy. Tiny moments that momentarily engulf you are like a balm to the soul. I so wanted to get a better, more close-up shot – but settled for an average one and the comforting fact that I had again seen something that I really treasured.

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We made our way once again to the quiet paths we had walked just a day before. Despite the less than perfect weather conditions the corner was alive; all flashes of yellow and red darting between the overgrown bramble, glimpses of wing and beady eye.

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We stood there on the bend in the corner for what felt like hours but in reality was 30 minutes or so, me eagerly snapping away with my camera. We saw chaffinches, blue tits, great tits, dunnocks…and yet more robins. Bird song punctuated the air in the quietness of the afternoon.

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Finally, when our hands grew cold and the sun began to dip, we set off in the direction of home.

Two mornings and afternoons I spent at the marshes. Listening, watching and feeling. The cold air has blown away some of the dust that had settled on my mind. Nothing is perfect but I am alive and I am doing my best… I can still see the beauty and it gives me hope for myself and for brighter days.

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