WITH the coronavirus lockdown impacting upon our everyday lives here in Clackmannanshire in so many different ways, the power of nature is a great soother of the soul and an inspiration for the better times that will soon lie ahead.

Of course, we are all restricted in our movements, but even a short daily walk near one’s home will always reveal some wildlife marvel to see, whether in town, village or country.

For those of us lucky to enough to have a garden, then that is the perfect place for seeking out nature.

And if you don’t have a garden, then any local park or other greenspace will offer the same natural abundance.

Last week, in my own Wee County garden, I observed a female blackbird busily collecting dried grass for building her nest, glimpsed a treecreeper spiralling up a tree, and watched a comma butterfly float across the lawn on lazy wings.

Even a red squirrel has been making regular starring appearances.

At dawn, robins and wrens have been making impressive contribution to the dawn chorus, and on one unkempt corner of the lawn, the lovely delicate mauve petals of emerging wild cuckooflower provided a wonderful sparkle of colour.

Nature plays a crucial role in our mental wellbeing during these challenging times – it is like a calming balm.

And, the wonderful thing is there is so much wildness on our doorsteps, no matter where in Clackmannanshire we live.

So, although we face restrictions, even by staying local, the wonder of nature will be all around us