While the weather is cold it is harder to get ourselves out and into nature, but you don’t have to scale Mount Everest to be in touch with wildscapes. A simple walk around the block will do. Even just gazing out the window can resonate.
From 15-minute escapes for calming stress to long-haul commitments to occupy you the coming weeks, here are easy ways to live in the moment and reconnect with nature.
Rather than asking nature to speak up, try listening loudly. The sounds of a cityscape can dominate, but if you take a few moments to sit quietly, natural noises will become apparent: The chirps and squawks of birds are often the first clue to life beyond the walls.
Identification doesn’t have to be the goal with listening, instead just focus on hearing. Perhaps you’ll hear a steady tapping. Was it the croaks of a frog from a nearby wetland, or a woodpecker drumming on a branch? It doesn’t matter — what’s important is that you heard it. After a few listening, sessions you’ll recognise the familiar and the new sounds that stand out.
Ponder pond life
A neighbourhood park is often home to a pond, a magnet for nature. Whether it’s a quick stroll around the water edge, or quiet time reflecting from the park bench, the pond is bursting with life. Turtles, ignoring physical distancing recommendations, pile up side-by-side on sunny basking logs.
Watch the sunset
One of the things people seek out on vacations is an amazing sunset view. It’s almost like we forget that the sun sets every day from every location. Even if you don’t have a direct view from your house, you can likely walk to a place to see the last rays of light shinning on each day. Linger until you can make a wish on the first star you see each night. Make it a point to catch more sunsets this spring. Individually, these memories will form a collective appreciation for the subtle changes as the lengthening days march toward summer.
Plant a garden
Make this the year you plant a garden. Even if your backyard isn’t a network of raised beds and compost heaps, you can still grow impressive amounts of food.
Windowsill herb gardens offer up a sprinkle of freshness to most any meal. A fresh plucked leaf of basil will brighten up your salad, while a sprig of mint will transform your kitchen into a speakeasy cocktail bar. A cardboard box of potato starts is a low-maintenance way to earn your green thumb. Container gardening can grow plenty of pizzas worth of tomatoes and bell peppers on any apartment balcony.
Build a nest box
Invite feathered friends into your neighbourhood with a nest box or platform. Project NestWatch, administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, has construction plans online. Wrens, chickadees, and bluebirds will be attracted to boxes that replicate natural tree cavities, and platforms are helpful to birds, like robins and phoebes, that build cup nests.
As birds build nests, lay eggs, and eventually raise young, you’ll be joyful and proud that you played a little role in providing them a place to call home. In difficult times, it’s helpful to have hope for the future. And nothing is more hopeful than a nest of baby birds.
Source: 6 ways to connect with nature in your neighbourhood - Ken Keffer (earthday.org)