Stepping Out into Nature with Carol

There’s no denying things are difficult for most of us right now, what with the dratted Covid-19, Brexit, and so on. The TV News is a disaster-fest every evening. Whatever your politics or views, things are not going well. Even the Cat agrees. She’s a member of Mensa, apparently, so she ought to know. 

So it’s no wonder that we need our daily walks to bring us back to the reassuring wider scope of nature, the lasting reality of plants, animals, birds, the weather, and the steady tramp of our feet to remind us that all this buzzing anxiety and disruption will pass, as everything man-made always does.  My son Jay has the right attitude, I feel.

“Did you see what the PM said about  -” 

“Nope. Let me tell you about my new oscilloscope.”

“Mm. Er – “

“It’s all right, you don’t have to understand. Just listen.”

“Um. Oscilloscopes are a bit beyond me -”

 “Never mind. I’ll explain. Ooh look, nice blackberries. Here you are.”

See? Even better, with Jay I get two viewpoints together; I get to hear the Cat’s ideas too. 

“The Cat feels we should be paying more attention to dressing fashionably. After her needs have been met, obviously. She says are we roasting that chicken today?”

“Jay, cats can’t talk English.”

“Ours is special. She knows there’s a chicken in the fridge.”

“So that enables her to talk English?”

“Well, she says it certainly helps.”

We tramp along the familiar route, everywhere damp but sunny today, Jay moving ahead on his long legs and then dropping back to my dot-and-carry-one pace to continue our fascinating and often cross-purposes conversations. A couple of magpies are in evidence, kark-karking away. There’s still quite a bit of birdsong, and I wonder what the purpose of that is in this damp autumn air; perhaps sheer pleasure. A bit like the dotty chat between the two of us. 

“Look at that huge black cloud.”

“It’s not going to rain, the forecaster said so.”

“The entire Met Office had a party and got drunk last night. Today’s is a hangover forecast.”

 “Ah. Just as well we brought our waterproofs then.”

It’s nice to think of our conversation as the human equivalent of birdsong. It doesn’t have to mean anything profound. It’s about humans connecting with each other. We can smile at passing strangers, make each other laugh, talk on the phone or on the unfathomable Internet. You can’t stop humans connecting, despite pandemics, politics, and the whole scratchy, problematic, infuriating stuff going on out there. 

So what with today’s mild, soft air, last night’s raindrops still sparkling in the long grass and clover, the ducks and coots mooching about on the lake, and the startlingly gorgeous colours of the autumn leaves, it’s hard to say that our world is a thorough-going disaster. It’s true, we do seem to be in a ‘bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover’ moment; a longing for what we used to have, a yearning for a few good hugs from our loved ones, and an ache for ordinary – wonderful, peaceful, and oh so very ordinary – life to come back. And it will. 

Just you wait and see.

Follow our blog and current Crowdfunder Campaign and lets make more of these walks available on the NHS through social prescribing.

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