Christian would love this...
I’m sitting in the garden writing this blog to mark the end of my first three weeks of immersion in Nature. I was sure Nature would provide the key to reducing my emotional turmoil and it’s proved the case. Just watching the birds visit the birdbath to drink & bathe and listening to the bees buzzing in the Welsh poppies is life-affirming and healing (of course, the bees disappeared when I tried to take their photo!).
I have written a random list of thoughts/points/advice in the hope that if you need somewhere to turn for help (due to illness, pain, despair, frustration, anger, anxiety, grief, loneliness, etc.) then you look towards Nature as she will nurture you, if only you let her.
20 things I’ve learnt these past weeks (in no particular order) :
I intend to keep exploring Nature-based nurturing and write about my experiences and the people I meet along the way. If you feel you'd like to contribute your story, tell me about your organisation or suggest something Nature-related for me to try, do get in touch...
Below are some of my favourite photographs from the past three weeks (L to R): Sheffield Forest (Forestry Commission), Stanmer Park woodland, Railway Land Nature Reserve (Lewes), Jubilee Green (Chelwood Gate), Fletching Churchyard, Walk Wood @ Sheffield Park Gardens (to feature in an upcoming blog).
Christian would love this...
Recently, my life has started to flow smoothly (for several reasons which I won't go into now) and during the walk in the forest yesterday we happened to meet the gentleman responsible for the upkeep of the village churchyard. It seems there is a new grass-cutting trial occurring to find the best management for the wild flowers... I thought I'd investigate. Potter about for an hour. Take some photos. Sit and contemplate.
Back in 2014, I edited 'The Nature of God's Acre', a beautiful booklet (co-authored by Miles King for the charity, Caring for God's Acre) which featured our churchyard - St Andrew & St Mary, Fletching. To give you some background, I quote from 'our' entry: "The church... is very old, showing traces of late Saxon and early Norman stonework, with the current church completed around 1230... One parishioner explained how wildlife in the churchyard made them feel:
...connected to God and his universe; a reminder of how previous the natural world is to humans and how we must care for it.'"
I read this before entering the churchyard. Could I be equally moved by Nature in the churchyard? It didn't start well with a man up a ladder mechanically sanding down window frames at the entrance to church grounds. But as I walked further up the path, the man-made whining made way to a much more pleasant choir (I recorded the following - unfortunately, including the plane on the Gatwick flightpath to Gatwick - I'm no expert on birdsong, so if anyone can identify the birds please leave a comment at the end!).
I completely lost myself for an hour and a half, peering into every nook and cranny of the churchyard, often surprised by things I had never noticed even after doing the school run and walking Duffy daily through the grounds for 10 years (photos below - I'm a novice photographer with only an iPhone, but I hope some of the images may entertain).
So, how did I feel after my hour(plus) potter in God's Acre? Happy, fulfilled, soothed. I had no spiritual revelation, but then I was preoccupied taking photos. Next time, I'll sit quietly and contemplate how everything in the Universe is connected...
(NOTE: The following morning, inspiration struck (where I'd been struggling to find a path forward) - perhaps God's Acre did work its magic!)
Nurtured by Nature: Connect / Explore / Flourish / Disperse.