Let’s be honest, I could have ventured further afield than my own back garden. The thing is though, how many of us take this space for granted if we have it? We might tip toe into the garden in our socks to pick a few herbs for dinner, to launch (lovingly, of course) our cats out the back door, or to bring the £20 BBQ in because it’s been sat there gathering rust since the Summer. When though, do we take time to simply sit, listen and reconnect with our immediate surroundings?
On Sunday 24th Feb I decided that I would do just that. No agenda. No phone. Just me and my garden spending quality time together. Getting to know one another a little better, if you will. My garden is rather diddy with planters either side of lots of pebbles. It feels rather like you’re at the beach when you sit on them. Across from me is a large pond and ahead, open fields. My first thought was how grateful I felt for having this quiet, beautiful space that, without sounding too ownership happy, was mine.
It was about 3.30 in the afternoon and the sun appeared to be fairly high in the sky for the time of year. As I lay there on an old futon mattress that has certainly seen better days, I realised how relaxing it was to just watch the comings and goings of nature. I observed the forget-me-not blue sky turn paler and paler as the sun sank lower. I watched as crimson interlaced itself with mottled grey and white clouds. I listened to the high pitched trilling of a long tailed tit as it perched on the naked branch of a Goat Willow. I paid attention as a sable moorhen made its way around the pond, bobbing its head, rootling at riverside plants before scrambling up the bank for a wander. Hundreds of crows flew overhead as dusk hit, in large groups to begin with, followed by smaller groups and finally a few stragglers; all headed for a winter night roost where they would flit and scuffle amongst the trees in their chosen spot, out of sight, but not out of earshot as they squawked in unison.
Witnessing this, taking time to be a part of this, I felt a deep sense of peace and connection. As each moment passed so too did my worries as it gave me the space to process. There is no illusion in nature. It is what it appears to be which encouraged me to be me, with no edges or hidden parts but simply the person I am at the very core. I accepted my flaws in the moments that passed and celebrated my strengths, channelling the all seeing eye of nature which allowed me to see without fear, to see what is. I felt a real urge to continue visiting my garden in this way to tap into the habitual rhythm of wildlife and spend time noticing what had altered since my last visit. Witnessing how my garden changes will, I believe, encourage me to notice the changes within myself, establishing a deeper connection between self and nature.
As a society we’re growing out of touch with the outside world and the first step towards understanding, reengaging and reinvesting in wild spaces is to start small. Start in your garden or by walking to your local green space, finding a spot you like and sitting with it for a while, regularly. If every person stopped seeing nature as something separate from themselves, and instead, saw it as something that helps us to reconnect with ourselves, the world would be a happier place with a brighter future for generations to come.