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What’s the Rush?
1st May 2023
Last Updated: 2nd June 2023
Fast food, fast fashion, and fast cars. Long hours, short lunches, and little sleep. Places to be, appointments to keep and decisions to be made. It’s a fast paced, fretful, frantic world we live in today!
With so many demands on our time, never mind all the social media channels clamouring for our attention and (dare I mention), political upheaval, it’s no wonder so many people feel, stressed, anxious and suffer increasing levels of depression.
Whether working or retired, keeping home, or caring for loved ones, we’re all under increasing pressure to keep up with the modern world. With all this constant rushing, I consider myself lucky, because I have an ace up my sleeve to keep my nerves from fraying. I love wildlife and because of this, I spend a great deal of time outdoors in nature. I am blessed because when outdoors, I can slow down and take notice of everything around me. I breathe deeply, I listen intently, and look avidly. It’s a tremendous gift.
The other day my attention was drawn to the radio news (all doom and gloom, of course) not because of the stories, but rather because I became aware of a blackbird’s deep melodious song rising up and flowing over the presenter’s words. I find this happens to me all the time. A traffic jam is not a time of frustration, it’s an opportunity to watch the kestrel hovering above the hard shoulder hunting voles. Stationary traffic allows time for the embankment game: How many wildflowers can I identify? When I have a meeting in a big town or city, it’s a cue for me to arrive early and scan the skyline for peregrine falcons or seek tree-lined streets for signs of wagtail and starling roosts.
When I’m out shopping, I park well away from the buildings and loiter close to the shrub beds, lingering to detect the musky whiff of an urban fox, or catch a glimpse of a winter waxwing. I now take most business calls on my mobile phone, so I have the option to walk and talk outdoors away from my desk. I’ve heard and witnessed returning migrant birds much earlier this way. Chiff chaffs, cuckoos, swallows and screaming swifts have all been identified while working.
For some time now I’ve made a point of stopping to notice nature at least once a day. It’s addictive and has formed a habit I’m happy to share. It brings peace and tranquillity in a loud, hectic world. I simply make a point of pausing when the instinct is to rush and notice nature, here, there, and everywhere, wherever I can.
My attention can be taken by a substantial tree, or just as likely, a tiny seed. Different senses may be drawn on, like the warmth of the sun on my head or back, the smell of cut grass, or the sound of bird song. In nature I find my senses all come to life and I become immersed in everything going on around me, and while this sounds ‘busy’ I find tranquillity in the natural state of being part of the environment.
What have I learnt from all this meandering? Plenty. Nature’s pace is far healthier than humankinds.
Nature costs nothing but offers plenty. Health, happiness, and hope. I’ve learnt walking keeps me healthy, bird song makes me happy and the canny fox raising its family in a car park gives me hope. Oh yes, and I learnt sound recordists and presenters on outdoor broadcasts, don’t like birds upstaging them!