During the initial lockdown in March, I began to see some changes in the way people related to nature. As soon as the “One hour a day” exercise allowance was announced, I saw many people in my area take to the streets in their exercise clothes. People who might not normally make the effort to take an hour’s walk outside were strolling through parks and woods, taking comfort in the outdoors when they couldn’t go to their favoured cafes or even visit family in the earliest weeks of that time.
We all watched amazed as different aspects of nature seemed more alive than ever- the increased birdsong, the bluest skies we’ve ever seen, rivers cleaner than ever. I do not know the figures on how this reconnection with the natural world boosted people’s resillience to a potentially fearful time, I can only speak for myself and say how much I was lifted by spending more time than ever outside. Creating life in my own little garden, growing plants from bulbs, scattering wildflower seeds and watching them emerge- absolutely joyful!
I would say my connection with nature was very strong before lockdown so for those who didn’t have much interest prior, this must have been a beautiful awakening. To be able to explore local nature, hear birds more than ever before and see the astonishing stories from around the world of nature rebuilding herself. (I know, of course, that not everyone had this privilege and that’s a whole other topic around access to green space/ growing space)
Slowly, the cars returned, some people stopped making an effort to go on that walk. Restaurants opened again so garden picnics and homemade afternoon spreads outside took a back seat. That’s ok. People got to experience the power of nature as a way to boost our wellbeing and so now know how much she has to offer. This means they can turn to her again as we approach further challenges.
Ways we can turn to Nature again…
- Autumn walks
Just because the weather is cooler now doesn’t mean walks can’t be enjoyed just as much. Wrapping up and walking through the crispy leaves is a gorgeous experience. Yes we might not want to linger in parks all day as we did in Summer but a hot drink and scark makes all the difference for an extended walk when it’s chillier.
2. Litter Picks
Things are a bit different this time as retail and food venues are still open. This unfortunately means more litter than was seen back in March when the streets were clear of the usual fastfood litter culprits! Combined it with a daily walk too as a bonus!
3. Keeping local
Even though travelling might not be as restricted this time, it’s still an opportunity to use cars less and stay local. Explore nearby nature, hidden parks, small ponds you might not know of. If you did this back in Spring- do it again as Autumn will bring changes and different wildlife to spot. A whole new learning experience!
4. Star gazing
The nights drawing in may seem like a negative, when comparing this time to the earlier Spring when we could sit outside for hours. We need to remember we can still be outside in the dark! Cosy blankets, candles and some fairylights can all make being outside in Autumn and Winter a lovely experience. The joy of staring at the stars too is seldom taken up, especially in cities so take advantage of reduced light pollution and see if you can see the night sky in it’s full beauty.
So if we are struggling to contemplate a second lockdown or even still dealing with the effects from the first, let’s turn to Nature again to renew our energy and find our wellbeing again. She will welcome us with every branch and every note of birdsong she has to give, so let’s take her invitation and find ourselves in the process.