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Mental Health Awareness Week 2021: Reconnecting with nature during the pandemic

Copyright © John Royle

We are surrounded by things. Things that occupy our mind. Things we need to do, things we need to say, things we talk about, things that happen with our family and friends, things we need to plan, so many things.

I have not in the past had much time for nature, I would go for a walk and look at the trees and then think about things. I couldn't see the pink blossom, or green leaves, I just had things going on in my mind. Some of them I resolved after an hour or so looking at daffodils in the spring; some would keep me awake at night.

Until the pandemic.

I stopped thinking about all these things. I couldn't think about them really - they had disappeared. I couldn't think about things for a holiday, or things for a day out or things to do with my family and friends.

And so I saw nature in the pandemic. I went to Kew Gardens, and found myself surrounded by beauty: by pink and white blossom, and fresh air, and I came home and felt good. I thought I don't need all these things cluttering up my mind, I just need to be grounded, by what's real out there, and so my walks continued and my love of the fresh air and breeze and greenery that anchored my feet on the ground.

Now the things that unravelled in my mind before lockdown are just threads of cotton. In the spaces in between now might be a sunset or a blade of grass, or a flower of yellow petals. It's not there all the time but it's enough for me to let go of the things that weren't that important anyway.



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