Last night was a late one for me, as it was for many people. And so it was that I got to see the sun rise.
The air was still and the birds were absent. I tried to attract them by shaking the seed bag but it was clearly their day to lie in. Nature was softly silent as I photographed the glow of the sun through opaque clouds.
A Painful Start
The day was damp and grey: a sure-fire sign that my joints would be unhappy. After the last week’s activities, I needed a rest from adventuring.
In between working (which I do from home), I followed the #30DaysWild hashtag across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. I want to help spread the word about 30 Days Wild to as many people as possible because I’ve found it so beneficial and want others to experience the same joy that I have.
When looking though the social media feeds, I noticed a lot of people visited graveyards for 30 Days Wild yesterday. Many reported a bounty of wildflowers, which reinforced my sense of solace from the ‘circle of life’: flowers blooming where people wither.
In a blog post called This Life and Us, my (sadly departed) friend, Mungo Leir wrote:
“We face a journey: through stubbornness and restless autumnal change; the disguised fears and dark days of winter; guilt and impatience for the dawn of spring; and onward, to the hopeful first flight of our hearts in summer.”
30 Days Wild certainly feels like summer’s dawn. There is something magical about thousands of people sharing nature experiences with a common bond of loving the world that sustains us all.
Connecting With Nature
Discovering that someone has photographed the same butterfly or wildflower, or eyed up elderflower on the same day as me makes me feel connected to something bigger than ‘everyday life’ – and see the unrolling seasons more clearly.
I can observe the way the natural world is changing around me, even without being there to witness it directly. I now have thousands of eyes, and can see sunrise in Somerset, dawn over Cornish waves, mist over the Scottish Highlands, and videos of the creatures who came out at night, while I slept.
There’s something particularly uplifting about seeing other people’s nature photographs and videos when you’re stuck inside. When I’m housebound, I’ll often ask my partner to, ‘bring me some outside’ – which he does, in the form of photographs of flowers, sunsets and ducklings; or sometimes, a natural find (give me a lichen covered twig over a bunch of cut flowers any day of the week). 30 Days Wild brings me ‘outside’ all day (and night) long.
It feels unnatural to be stuck inside all the time – but today, my random acts of wildness were necessarily close to home. I watered my houseplants.
I checked on my salad garden, which is starting to take shape.
I checked on my seedlings, which have recovered from their flooding two days ago.
I was grateful to see that the lavender I planted as seeds last year is finally starting to produce flowers. I planted it to keep the bees happy, though at the moment, it would only satisfy one very small bee.
I noticed that my herbs are starting to come to life again, with mint starting to creep over the containers and take them over (as it always does); thyme just starting to blossom and rosemary, parsley and sage becoming abundant enough for stuffing.
In another week or two, they should all be big enough for me to start taking cuttings, to root in water then plant in new pots. This will create a smaller herb garden for my kitchen (a bonus if you want fresh herbs when it’s dark and you’ve already got your pyjamas on).
I saw cuckoo spit on the rosemary. I always leave it alone so the froghopper inside it can enjoy its life in peace – my plants are for the wildlife as much as my own pleasure – and I don’t mind sharing my rosemary.
Then, I decided to look for bugs under my plant pots. I was rewarded with a worm, a woodlouse and a tiny red millipede which sadly scuttled away before I could photograph it.
When I checked on my other containers, I noticed that a mushroom had sprung up in one of them, alongside my flowers. This made me happy.
I tend to treat my containers as mini-gardens, mixing all manner of things together, only separating plants if there’s an edible next to something toxic, or the plants are competing with each other too much. I find that, as long as I top them up with fresh (peat free) compost every so often, they are perfectly happy – and look more like a ‘real’ garden than a formal container, which is much more to my taste. I generally leave the weeds in them, unless they’re overly invasive.
After tending the garden, I considered walking to the canal but when I looked up at the clouds, they seemed to be frowning at me.
This seemed adequate enough warning to drive me inside for a cup of tea. I browsed the Internet for a while, using Ecosia.org, which plants trees with the ad revenue; and lit up my desk garden with a glittery lava lamp.
And then, it was time to sleep.
Random Acts of Wildness So Far…
- Spread the word.
- Start a weather/pain diary.
- Look at the clouds.
- Photograph wildflowers.
- Look for urban nature.
- ID a butterfly.
- Find a fledgling.
- Feed a swan.
- Collect feathers.
- Stake out a foraging site.
- ID birdsong.
- Tweet using the #30DaysWild hashtag.
- Plant a virtual seed.
- See new life growing.
- Feed the ducks.
- Protect an animal from a predator.
- Reflect on nature.
- Look closely at your lawn.
- Make someone a nature hamper from recycled materials.
- Share nature photos using #30DaysWild on Instagram (and help the hashtag trend).
- Show your houseplants some love.
- Tell friends about #30DaysWild.
- Talk to a junior naturalist and encourage their creativity.
- Photograph a favourite cuddly toy in nature.
- Add a nature event to your diary.
- Look closely at a friend’s garden.
- Take photos for #Rainbowblooms.
- Find a plant that looks like a bug.
- Watch a bee.
- Read a nature-based research paper.
- Get overawed by nature
- Watch the dawn.
- Walk barefoot in dewy grass.
- Try a nature meditation.
- Raid and repurpose the recycling.
- Go on a wild date.
- Go litter picking.
- Protect the soil.
- Make nature art.
- Watch the sunset
- Turn your desk wild.
- Water your plants.
- Celebrate World Environment Day.
- Take part in the plastic challenge.
- Watch nature videos.
- Tell people who run your favourite hashtag hour on Twitter about 30 Days Wild.
- Tell a colleague about 30 Days Wild.
- Take a closer look at foxgloves.
- Share nature-themed recycled crafting ideas.
- Have a natural aromatherapy bath.
- Dress for the weather.
- Connect with a local nature lover.
- Look at a puddle closely.
- Rescue a plant.
- Make a mini meadow in a recycled container.
- Photograph wet leaves.
- Welcome new wildlife to the area.
- Make a bottle garden.
- Make a wild bouquet.
- Collect flower petals for your nature crafting box.
- Tend a garden.
- Feel the wind in your hair.
- Collect leaves for crafting.
- Grow a tomato.
- Create a 30 second wildlife habitat.
- Admire an insect.
- Photograph something blue.
- Make a nature video.
- Go on a flower pot hunt.
- Wear nature-inspired fashion.
- Vote for nature.
- Plan a windowbox walk.
- Celebrate World Oceans Day.
- Go wild in a graveyard.
- Love lichen.
- Be amazed by moss.
- Find fungi.
- Stock up on wild supplies.
- Bag a bargain to bring back to life.
- Find something new in nature.
- Grow your own food.
- Reflect on nature and what it means to you.
- Look closely at cuckoo spit.
- Plant something pollinator friendly.
- Plant a herb garden and share cuttings.
- Look for bugs.
- Let your garden go wild.
- Read the weather.
- Brighten a corner of your home with plants.
- Use an eco friendly search engine.