Last year, I decided to spend more time engaging with nature. In part, it was an attempt to get fitter with regular walks; in part a way to relax; and in part a way to lose myself in the daydreams of childhood (with the ‘adult’ excuse of being more ‘mindful’.)
Unlike many resolutions, it was a love that grew over the year, and only became frustrating when my health kept me indoors and I was unable to enjoy the glorious and free experiences nature offers every day. However, even indoors, connecting with nature brought me joy, through cooking, crafting and tending to my plants.
If you’re looking to make 2017 more enjoyable than 2016, here are some ways to connect with nature.
Obviously, I’m a big fan of gardening as the name of this site suggests. There’s plenty you can plant indoors if you don’t have outside space. A windowbox can provide food, colour or both. And if you want to get designer, a string garden can be elegant.
I have containers, rather than a garden (though it’s on my wishlist). In 2016 these provided rosemary, mint, chives, tomatoes and a couple of strawberries (last year wasn’t a good one for my strawberry plants).
They also added colour to my life from the first bulbs of early spring to the last fuscia of December.
No matter how little space you have, you can always grow something – if only an egg shell with cress ‘hair’. The Crop Club has some great kits if this is the year you’ve decided you want to get gardening.
I had never really appreciated birdwatching until this year. For me, the joy is seeing the way the birds behave and interact rather than noting their names (though it’s interesting spotting a bird I haven’t seen before).
As I Iive near a canal, I mostly enjoy watching the ducks, along with the swans, moorhen and occasional coot. With the changing seasons come more gulls – though ducks always seem to get ‘first dibs’ for food (unless the swans are around.)
Feeding the ducks is an easy way to connect with nature and look after wildlife (just remember to use oats not bread).
Admire the Weeds
A weed is just a flower in the wrong place, and taking close up pictures showed me how beautiful even the smallest and most common weeds are.
I have also been impressed with their resilience: so far, I’ve yet to go out without spotting a wildflower, even in the depths of December.
Even when the flowers are in short supply, the skies are full of beauty. From sunrise to sunset and clouds to rainbows, look up and there is beauty to be found.
Watch the Water
I find gazing into water relaxing. Whether it’s the calm of the canal or the waves of the sea, for me, water is soothing and cathartic to watch.
When it comes to enjoying time outdoors, it’s all about exploring, ‘going with the flow’ and finding your own ways to connect. Let nature guide you and see what adventures await.