Just being in nature


I spent last weekend with a friend, immersing ourselves within nature.

We spent hours imagining ourselves as a deer as we picked our way slowly, with no purpose but existing, through the bluebell woods of the high valley in which I live.

We watched a buzzard quarter the rugged bluffs above us, scouring for a distracted rabbit. Its forlorn cry a motif of the moorland beyond.

We stood, as one of our bronze-age ancestors may have done, on a granite promontory that jutted out into misty space hundreds of feet above the river that meandered far below on the valley floor.

In the dark shelter of the conifer woods I got down low, imagining myself as a woodmouse nibbling on a fir cone in the safety of my larder. I scampered around the bowl of a great tree.

I changed into that great fir tree, rooted deep in the peat soil then I became a squirrel, clambering, with its sappy branches in my paws.

Then, high up in the canopy, I imagined myself as an owl looking down from my lofty perch. I understood from this vantage why, as a mouse, I had taken twitchy care in my little journeys between stump and hollow.

We walked blindfolded through the woods touching and hearing the scenery around us.

We scraped the earth with our nails and breathed deep its herbal, resinous, mulchy smell.

We chased along trails, tracing with our fingers, the bumps and edges of prints made by badger, deer and fox.

We made tea from spruce needles and nettles at a little camp amongst the jumbled boulders in the woods.

We got up before dawn and watched the sun pale the sky a rosey-pink and light up the dew on the grass like a sea of fibre optics.

We had a front row seats for the Dawn Chorus.

I now feel, once again, very connected with the natural world around me.

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