I don't want to peak too soon with my autumnal excitement, but there was one morning this week in particular which smelled very much of autumn. Then today I noticed that the berries on the rowan trees are already turning a brilliant red, lighting up an otherwise dreary morning. Time is definitely passing, and everything feels different. The back to school feeling is in the air, but this time for all of us, not just those who have been on their summer holidays. Out and about during morning rush hour feels very much like the old days.
Often when people think about connecting with nature, they think about the amount of time that they spend in nature and equate that to being connected with it. However the truth is slightly different as I can attest. This morning, walking through the park to the shops, trying to read something on my phone, I walked straight into an overhanging branch. This is not the sort of nature connection that we are here to promote. According to survey data, people are still visiting nature post-lockdowns, however they are not as connected with or noticing nature as much. As restrictions eased, instead of seeing people out walking on their own, there are groups out and about, and it can be much harder to notice nature when you're chatting with someone. It's not impossible though, don't forget the 3 good things in nature game, it's a great way to share your own nature connection with the people you are out with. To read more about the results of the survey and what has changed over the last 18 months check out the Finding Nature blog. For my own part, I can advise that walking through the park is much more enjoyable when you're noticing the red berries, the swelling conkers and the dandelion clocks than it is when you're trying to read a work email and walking into things.
I found some nature in an unexpected place this week. I've been quite obsessively watching the Olympics, and have had it on the ipad without sound when I've been doing other things. One day last week there was a break between races in the sailing and they were showing footage of the coastline and harbour where the races were taking place. I really appreciated the wee injection of sea into my landlocked day. You don't always have to go outside to find nature.
So, over the next few weeks as you undoubtedly find yourself with less time (or perhaps more accurately, more things to fit into the same amount of time) remember to maximise the benefits of your time spent in nature by noticing more. It will encourage greater mental wellbeing which is definitely a good thing for everyone.