Hello there and welcome back to Foxglove and Bee. In my last post I talked about all the different ways you can connect to nature during lockdown in your garden.
However, I realise that not everyone has a garden and finds getting out and about on their daily exercise quite challenging for various reasons.
Not having a garden does not mean that you still cannot connect to nature. It might not be completely ‘hands on’ but there are still ways that you can escape into nature from your own 4 walls.
Please get in touch with me through Instagram (@miss_charlotte_d) or leave a comment down below and let me know of any other ways you are connecting to nature without a garden.
Within the past year, I have discovered podcasts. When I moved away from home for a time over the summer, I found having an interesting conversation in the background to either actively or passively listen to was so rewarding. There are many podcasts out there which discuss many aspects of the natural world, but here are my two favourite podcasts to listen to, where you feel as if you can escape into the natural world, without leaving your armchair.
Trees a Crowd:
This is the first natural history themed podcast I discovered, having finally figured out how to access podcasts – I got there in the end! The podcast host is actor and nature enthusiast David Oakes, who travels around the country and abroad, speaking to a brilliant array of people who are all personally inspired by nature, work in nature or study nature; the list goes on.
The title song by Bella Hardy is stunning and really captures the spirit of the podcast and look out for the rhyming introduction, that will likely make you laugh. Guests vary from artists and farmers, to writers and conservationists and many topics in between. There is something interesting for everyone, and really emphasises how nature affects us all in many different ways. Nature really is a part of us as much as we are a part of nature.
I will leave the link here.
For what it’s Earth:
This podcast is hosted by Emma Brisdion and Lloyd Hopkins, who fabulously make big environmental hot topics bite-sized and easy to understand. They cover a wide variety of issues in the world today, from water scarcity to renewable energy to modern day environmental activism.
As science communicators, the sometimes-difficult science, political or economic aspects are neatly explained to understand, even if you are not from a scientific background.
On their Instagram, they described the podcast as giving us the tools to ‘make a little bit of a big difference.’ And I really love this. It covers aspects of environmentalism which are sometimes over looked, such as cosmetics and sustainable clothing. It really opens your eyes to different ways of thinking and ways that you can make a difference, and in the current climate, plan ways you can help during the lockdown.
I will leave the link here.
2. Social Media Live Streams.
There is a plethora of different ways you can connect to nature whilst stuck indoors through social media.
On Instagram, Nick Baker, every day at 11.30 am goes live, alone or with another person who is passionate about the natural world. It is a very easy conversation, send in your questions and he does his best to answer them (his natural history knowledge is amazing!). If you do not have a garden, this is a really good way to connect with like minded people, in a supportive, amusing and informative way.
Many of the Wildlife Trust reserves have launched their reserves or nest cameras on line, so you can watch nature getting on with daily life, oblivious to the human races’ situation. So it is well worth logging on to discover spring getting under way and escape to your local reserves, or discover somewhere new.
3. Music and Radio.
Sometimes just closing your eyes and listening to the sounds of nature transports you to a magical place, free from anxiety and dark thoughts. That’s my experience anyway.
One simple and easy way to feel connected to nature without leaving your house is to just open a window. This is a great opportunity to practise mindfulness or meditation as you focus on the different sounds you can hear or what you can smell, the breeze on your face etc.
This is a great time of year to listen to birdsong as we enter the height of the Dawn Chorus, you can take this opportunity to practise your bird song id, and with the din of traffic significantly lower during this lockdown, your chances of hearing resident and migratory species is hugely improved.
If it is a cold day, and you don’t want to open the window, just look out of it. Notice the iridescent colours on the neck of a pigeon, the way a jackdaw bounces along the pavement or the way gulls soar on high thermal streams.
Another way of feeling to connected to nature indoors is to listen to the RSPB Radio. This is a track of various birdsong that is fab to just have on in the background to listen to passively as you wash the dishes or whatever. It really is a great resource and you can feel your shoulders relax and your thoughts settle.
If you would rather listen to music, why not be open minded and listen to artists and genres you wouldn’t normally? There are many artists inspired by nature from Vivaldi’s four seasons (not a pizza), to folk music. I personally would recommend The Shee’s Starlings and Johnny Flynn, particularly the BBC’s Detectorists theme tune and Queen Bee. You can just sit back and take yourself on an imaginary walk through the countryside.
4. Get Creative.
There are many ways you could do this; I will be mentioning the following, but don’t be limited, there are many other ways you can do this.
It hasn’t been that long since I caved in and admitted to myself that I really enjoy creative writing about the nature around me. I don’t start to write where I am at that moment in time, sometimes I do, but not always. Most of the time I imagine a place I have been, whether that be hidden in the valleys of the Lake District, by the coast during a storm or walking the mountains in Scotland.
I used to think it was ponsy; using far longer words than you needed to, although perhaps that is the scientist in me. Although even then, I knew I had to work on being concise. But nevertheless, I love it. It’s very cathartic and you can be wherever you want to be when you are writing.
I’m not an artist by any means, and guess what? You don’t have to be. If you fancy grab a biro and the back of an old envelope and draw a landscape, an animal, a plant, or try and draw wind moving through wheat or whatever. It can be a doodle, a sketch, a Van Gough or a smudge but, once again, it takes you to a different place and you are forced to think of details other than the COVID-19 lockdown.
This is a cheap and easy way to connect with nature when you don’t have a garden. If you have any flowers from the supermarket or you find some nice blooms when you are out on your allocated daily exercise (don’t pick them all, leave some for others to appreciate or pollinators to use).
All you need are flowers, tissue paper/kitchen roll and some heavy books. Simply place the flower between two pieces of tissue/kitchen roll place in the middle of a book, and pile lots of other books on top and leave for a while. You can then use these to craft with or even frame for a nice botanical touch. Whatever you like. I’ll leave a guide with more detailed instructions here.
I really hope you find these ideas useful, if you don’t have a garden during these difficult times. Nature really is a great healer.
Love Charlotte x