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Once upon a time there was a play which I saw called A Man for All Seasons, the title and content stayed in my mind, and today when I was out walking the woods by my cottage it pinged back into the computer that lives between my ears.
I thought of Mental Health Awareness Week this year and its theme, Nature and the Environment. My colleague Trish and I have recorded a webinar called Reconnecting with Nature and as part of it, I talk through some ideas for taking a mindful walk.
Many of us have kept up with our daily walk which we started during the pandemic but are we mindful when we are walking? Are we focusing on the here and now? To walk mindfully means simply to take notice, without judgment of where you are, how you are and what you are experiencing. A good place to start is by focusing on the senses one at a time, and here’s what I experienced on my walk today.
What can you see?
I can see the colour green everywhere, the catkins wafting on the bare trees, celandines, wild daffodils, white and yellow, scatterings of blue periwinkle, the seeds of last year’s acorns that the family of squirrels overlooked, the mouldering leaves, twigs randomly scattered by the wind and trees still bare but in bud. I can see trampled grass where I know 2 hinds come to lie, mint springing forth profusely and my dogs racing randomly around led by their noses.
What can you smell?
I can smell spring, such a combination. There is a green fresh smell tinged with an earthy, slightly meaty scent which I know is deer, and then as I walk further in, the pungent, unpleasant odour of fox. I reach for handful of mint to chase that away and am delighted to see a tiny patch of moss, I bend down and inhale its smell of moist, grassiness and maybe of the rain. I then smell my hands, I get the faint edge of onion and celery from the soup I made this morning.
What can you hear?
I can hear the excited squeaks of the dogs who flush out two hen pheasants. I can hear the drone of a tractor and the rush of the river as it makes its way down to join the bigger tributary gushing over stones. I can hear my own breath when I stop, and also faint distant bird cheeps, I think they are nesting and this is a warning note.
What can you touch/feel?
I can feel the softness of my cotton sweatshirt and am conscious that my socks are a bit too thin for these wellies as my toes are rubbing a bit. I can also feel my hair whip across my face as it is a windy day and it needs a good post lockdown cut. I also touch my face and am surprised how warm my hands are and how cool my face is.
As for my thoughts well they are running very free like images on an old cinema screen. They are mine, not for sharing, but the one that is uppermost is I am glad that the theme for this year is nature. I hope you get chance to take a mindful walk this week.
Mary Jackson, LawCare
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