In a world of uncertainty – I find that nature and birdwatching are a constant source of comfort and solitude. Over the four years that I’ve been developing an interest in birdwatching, I’ve become attuned to my environment, so much so, that I feel a part of it. For me, this is the most profound aspect of any outdoor based activity – we become an element of our surroundings; you could say that we become rooted ourselves. The changing seasons, receding flora and departing birds bring an innate rhythm to life. We are but a small part of nature’s calendar.
There’s nothing more relaxing than visiting my birdwatching patch – on the heathland side. Wandering out across the spartan landscape, over sand and between broom. The senses are overcome; the coconut scent of yellow gorse flowers, the exalting song of the Skylarks above and the feelings – well they are full of positivity and light. This multi-sensory blanket is one of the things I love so much about birdwatching and the outdoors. I can wrap myself up in being away and protect myself from my worries.
As well as being good for us an active sense, outdoor environments enthral us and fascinate us. They are a powerful piece of our own resilience toolkit, for removing ourselves from the chaotic trappings of everyday life. Adding birds to this gives another facet to experience. A further distraction and one we can observe, focus on and become absorbed in. Such solace can be found in just watching your garden birds come and go, learning their nuances and finding out just who they are. Conversely, spending time on my own – reflecting, thinking and being, has helped me to find who I really am again.
Joe Harkness. Birdwatcher.
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