Sarah Lewis www.thesleepysparrow.blogspot.co.cuk
We began by reading quotes pinned up around the room and selecting one that spoke to us.
I chose; ‘I went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out ‘til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in’ from John Muir. It’s the one I have on my blog page and it’s pinned above my desk. There’s a connection.
I recognised familiar faces, lovely people I’d met before through NEW Wildlife and on other workshops to do with nature and the environment. More connections.
We talked of Mindfulness and then we were introduced to the raisin exercise. Yes, that’s what I said, the raisin exercise! We selected a raisin from the box, held it in the palm of our hands, examined it from all angles, sniffed it, touched it with the tip of our tongues, placed it in our mouths and eventually chewed it. I noticed how I automatically went to put it straight into my mouth how I chewed instantly instead of letting it sit for a moment or two. Raisins will never be the same again.
We placed chairs in a circle outside, close to a flurry of snowdrops and did a short mindfulness meditation.
We walked through the nature reserve using our senses to experience the place in new ways. Some were even brave enough to remove their shoes and walk barefoot along a section of spongy moss path. Someone said the connection with the moss made them feel alive.
The great logs lying on the path from the fallen ash reminded me of the photos I’d seen of the recent whale strandings.
My eye darted to the hearts in the bug hotel. I noticed hazel catkins dancing in the breeze, yellow gorse, fresh spears of grass like little arrows being fired from the earth. A raven’s heavy ‘kronk’ dropped from the sky, the watery trill of a robin trickled past my ears. I heard the crunch of leaves underfoot, the distant bleat of sheep, wind rustling the dead oak leaves, making them quake, shiver and shake. I touched spiky pine-needles, pussy willows soft as kitten’s paws, old oak leaves like cornflakes. The air smelled clean and zesty like lemons and in the woods the pungent smell of wild garlic made me think of pesto sauce and lunch.
We sat still as tree stumps for 6 minutes and from my high seat I saw the top of Moel y Gaer Iron Age hill fort and felt a connection with the ancient past.
And after all that, there was still time to have a play with nature, making things from leaves, twigs, willow and moss we’d collected on our walk!
At the end of the day I noticed an excited swapping of email addresses and phone numbers. The day had been as much about making a connection with people as making a connection with nature.
Thank you to Jacinta Challinor and Kate Wilson for connecting us all, with nature and with each other. The day will stay with me for a long time.
‘Be still and listen……..The Earth is singing.’ Karen Davies.