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Lessons from Nature: Taking A Walk

29th April 2021

Having been born and raised in Yorkshire, I’ve grown up within these beautiful landscapes but it is only now within my adult years I realise what a privilege this has been.

Walking is how I most enjoy experiencing nature, however, sometimes we take this simple activity for granted. Many more people have turned to it as a way of coping through the last 12 months and it has been wonderful to see so many people benefitting from it.

Walking has formed an important part of my life from a very early age; starting as an inquisitive toddler, packed into a back carrier and taken to marvel at vast forests, green spaces, and never-ending skies; a childhood spent foraging beneath trees with family and friends, building dens, picnics in fields, wading waist deep in streams found on hot summer days, playing make believe with siblings whilst adults kept a steady tempo on weekend and holiday adventures.

Lots was learnt on these familiar walks, and although as a child we are unaware as to the magnitude of what we are taking in, it would be impossible to spend so much time within nature for it not to nurture a feeling of life-long custodianship towards the land, plants and animals.  Fast forward a few years and I find myself with a family of my own, taking them on the same walks and adventures. The drive to do so as instinctive as the need to nurture them.

Do you walk? What are your favourite parts about it? I love to amble along routes I’ve walked that many times I could do so blindfolded. There is comfort in knowing your favourite tree is round the next corner, how long the walk will take so you can time arriving at the perfect picnic spot for lunch with ease. Watching natures’ predictable, cyclical movements is incredibly calming and grounding. No matter what events are on the horizon, the same bluebells pop up every year, the trees reach ever upwards to the clouds, birds perch in the trees singing for those fortunate to hear them.

To counter this, however, I am still amazed each time I see the clouds clear after a storm. Spring lambs bring a sense of wonder. Pink and gold sunsets call us to sit and gaze. We spend so much time wading through daily life, walking in nature gives us the comfort of all that is familiar whilst reminding us how miraculous our world is. To feel humble is no bad thing!

 

Some like the challenge walking brings, some the competition, others are yet to fully appreciate its simple benefits. For me, there is nothing better that brings us closer to nature on our doorstep and to share this with my children is an ongoing gift. Take some time this weekend on a familiar path or try somewhere new – just make sure you have a flask and a good picnic to accompany you!

by Lauren Emsley