During the lockdown I have made a point of going for regular walks. When the full restrictions were in place I could only walk on the well-trodden paths near home. This meant going past the familiar places again and again. It’s a lovely walk through fields and along country pathways but it’s always the same route.
It’s only when you repeat your walking route that you realize how many gradual changes there are in nature. Watching the bluebells come and go, the bright yellow rape flowers fade, the cereal grow tall and the budding hedgerows blossom and die all take on a new meaning. They slow you down to nature’s pace. There is so much to take in. Nature is so varied and so big. It allows you to put yourself in the context of your environment.
I have found this slow pace amid small daily changes very soothing. Instead of simply walking in it you start to interact more: look out for the landmarks and notice what is growing. Listen to the birdsong, smell the flowers, feel the temperature changing each day. It’s a peaceful and calming activity, partly because it just happens. Nature doesn’t care what else is going on in the world, it just is. And the realization of being in the present moment with nature is grounding.
In our busy task-filled lives nature has a lot to teach us in terms of being instead of doing. We are so used to getting things done, ticking boxes, noting achievements. Just walking in nature allows you to stop and think without needing a goal.
We don’t ask for weather. It just happens. It contributes to shaping the environment and adds a bit of variation to our regular walk but the uncertainty of weather also shows us we can accommodate. We just need the right clothes!
And so it is with life. We can build resilience and nurture ourselves by spending time with nature.