My mum was an eco-therapist, but she would have laughed at the title. For her, getting out in nature was a fundamental, non-negotiable of our daily life; walks in bluebell woods, strawberry picking, chestnut gathering, gardening, she did it all and we had no choice, but to go along with her. I am so grateful.
In my darkest hours of bereavement and divorce, I walked. I walked and walked when I didn’t know what else to do with the pain or the fear of what would come next. I have leaned against huge oaks to feel their solid presence at my back when all else felt flimsy. I have lain on grass and sobbed, letting the earth absorb my tears. No matter how bad it got, the birds still flew, the sky still lightened and the ground was always present at my feet. When all else is falling apart, these constancies mattered.
Some of my most treasured moments have been outside, sitting in the sun chatting with friends, down by the river cutting dead wood away, climbing the high hill in snow which reached out waists, swimming in the icy current after a long day at work, lighting bonfires on short autumn afternoons. And walking. Walking with my sons, with friends, partners, dogs. Walking in silence, walking and talking, holding hands, stopping and staring.
My dad taught me how to take photos, to use the light and become aware of fore and back ground and still now I find that my camera helps me really look, really pay attention to the detail of angle and texture, allows me to drop into the moment and find a point of stillness over this flower, that sunset.