I have always been drawn to exploring the natural environment. As a young girl, I was forever roaming the hills and tracing rivers back to their source. I had no real idea of the real names of the flora and fauna but it didn’t stop me from getting pleasure from them. My earliest playground was a place called the “red river” that was a tributary of the Whitewell Brook and was named after the colour of the water that was supposedly tainted by copper-I suspect it was actually clay. In areas where the river had eroded steep channels, there was evidence of both clay and shale, and I invariably went home wet through and muddy as it was difficult to climb the steep sides and I invariably ended up waist deep in mud and water.
Thankfully Heysham has the healing beauty of the sea and I don’t have to wade through rivers. At my age that would probably be detrimental to my health especially if I slipped and fell. So why does that brief encounter with nature fill our cup up, what is it that heals us from our encounters with the natural world?
- The sense of awe and wonder…we are part of something greater and far more sophisticated than our trivial daily worries and concerns. Nature is great and big, we are small and insignificant in comparison.
- The concept of the embracing the moment is reinforced on our journey with nature. Every footstep reveals a new view and vantage point, and every second and every angle and every nuance of weather can change the landscape and the nature that we are witness to.
- Bio-feedback, we re-energise, we relax, we exercise, the chemicals released in our brains are chemicals associated with pleasure and lifting mood.
- Fresh air, oxygen to the brain and those negative ions-perhaps it is no accident I have always had a love of rivers lakes and the sea. The negative ions associated with these features ar supposed to create positive vibes.
- Vitamin D and natural light. Whilst we are out and about enjoying our relationship with nature we are experiencing natural light and also absorbing Vitamin D from the rays of the sun. Both of these are good for our general and our emotional well-being.
There are probably lots of others too, but for me, these are enough to stir me into getting up out of my chair and out into the natural world, even when I am under the weather.
Some of my nature-inspired poems- if you like poetry:
Alison Jean Hankinson