Perhaps it’s the shorter hours of daylight making me appreciate the moments of sunshine that light up the garden and landscape in blasts of crisp autumn light. Or maybe it’s the fiery tones of the autumn leaves as they flutter ground wards in every breath of wind. But whatever it is, time spent outside in the garden, the greenhouse and surrounded by nature makes me feel alive. The rare blue sky days are a bonus, with the sun streaming through the trees and shrubs. It’s just magic. Serenaded by the sounds of nature; bird song, whispering grasses and rustling leaves and the occasional squeal or squawk of a creature afar and out of sight, I just love to be outside. There is a spiritual energy in nature that defies words. Anyone that appreciates its beauty can’t fail to be uplifted by moments spent outside.
The great garden escape
The garden is clothed in a rich layer of leaves, no surprise when there are dozens of trees on my patch. I love to kick through the piles, jump in puddles and just be out in the woods or fields when it’s cold and crisp and dry. Our ancestors understood the weather, the cycles of nature and the secrets of the earth and this wisdom has been almost lost in the modern quest for high tech gadgets and interconnectivity via invisible information highways that zip through the atmosphere at ridiculous speeds. Our only escape is to don the winter coats, pull on the winter boots and venture out into the cold winter sun.
It’s a great escape from the computer screen and the perfect excuse to check on the chickens, size up the winter salads growing under cloches in the garden and sneak into the greenhouse to check on the cuttings and glasshouse stalwarts that will need some TLC now the temperature has dropped.
Five ways to connect with nature
Look at the bigger picture. There are so many free to visit wonders that you can appreciate on your doorstep. Here are five ways to connect with nature.
1 Go a little further and look at the sentinel trees in your landscape. Have you ever appreciated the real shape and beauty of a mature tree? Winter is the perfect time to do so. Study the colour changes going on in the woodlands, choose a tree and really look at the leaves and the fiery shades of autumn. Collect a few and bring them home and make a ‘nature table’ in the garden. Why not?
2 Look up at the cloud formations and the sky and observe the changes in their patterns and hues. Watch the clouds move across the sky blocking the sunlight and then moving on. Feel the temperature change on your skin as the sun bursts from behind the silhouette clouds and beams down again.
3 Breathe in the sunlight and let it fill your body with its warm, penetrating energy. Feel it reach your fingertips and your toes and appreciate the warm feeling that that generates. It’s a great thing to do when you are feeling low or walking the black dog that can appear from time to time.
4 Visit ancient sites revered by our ancestors and spend a while appreciating their energy and beauty. Imagine roots growing out of your feet and reaching down into the earth beneath you. Enjoy the feeling of connectivity and stability that this brings.
5 Seek out the spiritual places in your locality. The graveyard at the church. A ring of standing stones, or even a modern made labyrinth in the grass. Spend a few moments within these spaces. Listen to the sounds of nature and watch what appears within your range of vision. And if something is troubling you then ask for understanding and direction. Whatever your religious beliefs, you might be surprised at what ‘messages’ you receive.