It’s not just about being in nature but BEING nature

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Last weekend we made an effort to not just be in nature but to BE nature.

We spent hours imagining ourselves as a deer as we picked our way slowly, with no purpose but existing, through the bracken-laden woods of the high valley in which we 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. I opened my arms, feeling the breeze on them and my face as I pirouetted a small dance imagining myself wheeling like a buzzard above a crumpled map.

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. I wondered what would be hunted and gathered then and now.

In the dark shelter of the conifer woods I got down low, turning myself into a wood mouse nibbling on a fir cone in the safety of my larder. I scampered around the bowl of a great tree uncertain of what was watching from above.

I changed into that great fir tree, gripping deep into the peaty earth, my roots touching each of my sentinel neighbours. Then I became a squirrel, clambering up, with its sappy branches in my dextrous paws.

Then, high up in the canopy, I became 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 rosie 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 as the world and wildlife awoke. And marvelled at how it roared.

I now feel, once again, very connected with the natural world around me. I carry it in my heart, rekindled.

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