Adventures in Nature
Rivers have always felt like a bit of a getaway for me. The way they can wash out the noise of busy roads or warehouses makes it feel like you’re closer to rural areas than you are. I have always been close to rivers, whether it’s the River Aire where I live now, in Thackley or the River Humber and River Hull in Hull. I always found places for contemplation by rivers and walking along the River Aire is where I had the idea to write about them!
During my degree I tried to steer as much as my studies towards rivers as possible, which showed me the range of things we could learn about them. One thing I enjoyed looking at is the movement of material, this could be anything: boulders, pebbles, rubbish or pooh sticks. It’s easy to assign our binary day and night cycle to the processes in the world, as we go to sleep everything else does with us, but the processes are constant and are always changing and carving the landscape around us. I’ve noted small changes in the land around the River Aire, changing meanders, steeper banks, how the flow changes. (more…)
When the days were short, the trees were grey and the soil was bare, we moved into a new house. It had a slightly bigger garden than our old one, and that made us very excited. Big gardens are not really a thing in our West Yorkshire hometown, but it’s perfectly possible to make any outside space a haven for wildlife. 22 million people have access to a garden, according to Rewilding Britain (an organisation focused on rewilding and the benefits it can bring to people, wildlife and the climate) and, as they say, that’s a lot of land for wildlife and nature. But we Brits have a tendency to be neat freaks and that’s not great for nature, which really thrives in unkempt loveliness at the fringes of our gardens, towns and cities. (more…)
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.
During the past year, I have been forced to slow down and nature, in particular trees, have been where I have found solace. I found that If I started the day outside in nature, I felt much calmer and happier. Whenever I could, I went for a walk in the nearby woods. I noticed how still the trees were on some days when there was little breeze to move them and how much their branches moved in the wind on other days, but their trunks stayed still, anchored into the earth by their roots. Just sitting in the woods for 10 minutes and noticing the beauty around me, my mind became still and the busy thoughts that were circling in my head began to subside. Being still has helped me to think more clearly, make better decisions and feel less stressed and overwhelmed by small things as my brain isn’t busy all of the time. So my first lesson from trees is to be still and slow down rather than rushing around all the time. (more…)
If you stop to think about clouds, they are phenomenal; huge, ever changing and floating above us, regulating temperature and light down here on earth. Yet most of the time, we take clouds for granted, barely pausing to notice them. Watching clouds is a wonderful way to learn about weather, or just let your mind wander, contemplating Big Ideas. And no matter where you live, you can’t miss them. The brilliant Cloud Appreciation Society sums it up in its own manifesto;
We think that clouds are Nature’s poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them. (more…)