On day 29 of 30 Days Wild, I was feeling even sadder about the imminent end of 30 Days Wild. However, I was also feeling incredibly uplifted and inspired by all the time I’d spent in nature.
I’ve grown to love spending my days interacting with other nature lovers online, and having an extra incentive to get outdoors, because I know there are people who enjoy the same sort of things that I do who I can share my adventures with.
While it’s been tiring editing photos and posting about my adventures daily – I prefer a slightly more leisurely pace of writing as it allows more time to mull (and edit) – it’s also given me a huge boost, in terms of health, creativity and productivity.
I’m not surprised. It’s what the research says (even short bursts of connection with nature are beneficial). However, I didn’t expect it to be quite such a boost: nature is a powerful medicine.
This was apt, as I had a doctor’s appointment on day 29. It was just a routine blood test, (a standard part of having a chronic condition) so I wasn’t remotely concerned.
I was amused at the reading material on offer at the surgery: it seemed perfect for 30 Days Wild.
I had a lovely chat with the nurse who drew my blood, and told her about 30 Days Wild. I’ve made a point of telling all the health professionals I deal with about 30 Days Wild, as I think it’s hugely beneficial, and something that can really help our overstretched NHS, particularly as stress is such a common complaint.
If you have reason to visit medical practitioners on a regular basis and feel similarly convinced that nature can be healing, why not ask them to support next year’s campaign by putting up a poster or sharing a video about the initiative on their TV screens next year? (My physio told me that displaying things on TV screens was preferable for them – and it avoids using paper too).
I shared my elderflower champagne recipe with the nurse (at her request) – and my tip for getting free bottles by litter picking. If anyone deserves a free drink on nature, it’s nurses!
I litter picked on my way out, noticing people had dumped their plastic glasses (probably from the surgery) just outside. I took them home to turn into gardens.
I also noticed a Red Bull can. In all my litter picking adventures for 30 Days Wild, I’ve noticed energy drink cans are the most commonly dropped items (followed by beer cans, plastic squeezy fruit drink bottles that I suspect are dropped by children in pushchairs, and giant bottles that once held cheap wine – £2.99 if the sticker is to be believed).
Of course, this isn’t scientific and may differ elsewhere but I wish brands would educate consumers not to litter. Flagging energy levels are no excuse (and it doesn’t speak well for the product’s restorative properties if people are too tired to get to a bin after drinking it, so it negatively affects brand image too. Who wants to be the ‘litter bug’s choice’?).
Conversely, a recycling campaign encouraging people to recycle – or turn their cans into something creative – could win new customers (and has a degree of precedent…). Having worked in marketing for over two decades, I know which option I think offers the best opportunity to build brand image and connect with customers…
After my appointment, I walked home via the canal. I spotted a brilliantly resilient and opportunistic plant.
I also spotted a plant clinging on to a wall despite having no support. I love the way that nature always finds a way to thrive regardless of the obstacles: and find it genuinely motivational.
I’m pretty sure I was recognised by one of the ducklings I’ve been feeding as I was alerted to a duck on the canal bank by an obvious rustling that I interpreted as ‘feed me’. I did, and was rewarded with duckling cheeps of joy (I now want to find out how old ducks are when they get their ‘quack’. Squeaking ducks are an adorable new discovery I’ve made thanks to 30 Days Wild)
I am hoping it was the duck I met as a duckling in similar – but more perilous – circumstances. I’m sure I can see a resemblance (with the confidence that comes with age).
Regardless, the duck was happy, which made me happy.
As I walked, I took photos of the flowers I passed. I find it a great way to practice balance exercises and stretches. I find it much easier to crouch for several minutes at the end of 30 Days Wild than it did at the start because I’ve been taking so many photos – and often find myself standing on one leg trying to capture a beautiful flower that’s just out of reach.
Stretching and balancing are particularly useful for me as it have a collagen disorder (EDS) which puts my muscles under strain. Paced exercise, teamed with rest days, helps me manage my condition and live as full a life as possible.
However, everyone can benefit from honing their balance, particularly as they age. Gentle stretches can also ease back pain (I have a scoliosis – curved spine – so am well-versed in managing back pain.) Nature photography has more health benefits than you might imagine, particularly when you add in its potential for aiding mindfulness too.
When I got home, I had a lovely time making eggshell boats – something I’ve wanted to do since first hearing (on #FolkloreThursday) that you should crush eggshells so that a witch doesn’t turn it into a boat and create storms.
I feel this is unfair to all the nice witches who just fancy a day out on the sea – and maybe even use their magic to help mermaids and sailors in distress. So, with the help of nail varnish and nail art gems that I bought a while back for ‘future crafting’, plus some cut back swan’s feathers, I made some boats for good witches. (I saved the remnants for making egg shell mosaics – I’m going to colour them with different natural dyes and enjoy playing).
Eggshell decorating was a quick and easy craft. It does take a little delicacy so may be best for slightly older children and adults, particularly given that nail varnish is potent stuff. However, young ones could decorate hard boiled eggs with child-safe paint – try making egg animals. I suspect egg boat making may become a new passion, at least for a while. I’ll be breaking eggs sideways from now on.
By the end of day 29 of 30 Days Wild, I was tired, a little achy but full of positive energy for the day ahead. I wanted to make it my wildest day yet, so that I could end 30 Days Wild with a bang…