This place - Camuscross, on the Isle of Skye (looking towards Knoydart) - is my healing place. I feel at home here, despite having no past connection (or none that I know of). It gives me freedom. Protection. Fulfillment. Immersion in Nature. You can see the weather coming and the flow of the tide. It is a place so alive with the elements, wildlife and natural rhythms that it completely overwhelmed me when I first visited in Easter 2015.
It's not that I'm a stranger to Nature. I have lived in the countryside all my 43 years - I even chose a countryside-campus university because I knew being in a city would make me miserable (having once briefly lived in a flat in a small town and succumbed to mild depression). But Skye was different, because I needed to escape into Nature on a sensory-overload scale, and I was not disappointed.
When things have gone wrong in my life, I have always relied on Nature for healing:
Relationship/work woes = go for long walks with the dog. Sit by some water. Look at a panoramic view.
Feeling hemmed in = ditto.
But Skye fulfilled the brief - big style. At the time, I was back on the emotional rollercoaster that was the search for my missing brother, Christian (Chris). He had gone missing back in March 2003 while on a solo expedition in east Africa. Disappeared without a trace. Gone. After the initial few years of desperation, I decided, for my peace of mind, that it would be easier to think of him as dead (eaten by a hippo/crocodile) rather than live through the never-ending nightmare limbo. So, I got on with life: work, moving, children, marriage. Cut to 2015 and we'd still had no news of Chris' whereabouts, but something changed and I was forced to hope once more Chris was alive. Skye provided me with an essential, healing escape. Here I could recharge my batteries, be present in the moment and get an alternative perspective.
Since that first visit to Skye, we have returned several times and nearly moved there. But it isn't practical for us to be there full-time, so I have had to find my own Nature immersion closer to home. Alongside yoga & meditation, Nature has calmed and focused me and with the search for Chris coming to a(nother) natural break, I have turned from the closeted & solitary world of research/writing (having authored books on animal history and ghostwritten memoirs) and ventured out to reconnect with the Nature that heals me. And I'm nearly always joined by my dog, Duffy, and sometimes my family (see images below).
Wonder & awe surrounds us, but we often take Nature for granted. I have been guilty of this. But no more. I know that by connecting to, exploring and letting go, Nature provides for me.
What could Nature give to you and your family?
* Space to breathe * Room to move * A renewed sense of wonder * Being part of something greater than yourself * Feeling alive * Providing creative inspiration * Playfulness * A workout for the senses * Stillness *
Nurtured by Nature: Connect / Explore / Flourish / Disperse.