Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Enrapture of Nature and True Love

What does it take to be effortlessly stolen away from ‘yourself’; to not just be passively content, but to be enraptured? To feel that child-like, mischievous pleasure in reaping the utmost joy from a seemingly small moment. To the point where conventional etiquette, that we are so pressingly expected to maintain, is hastily pushed away and forgotten; to the point where we, quite literally, live and breathe for the moment. 

Bewilderment, thrill, wonder, allure, adoration, intrigue and discovery. This potion of words expresses the intoxicating emotions and desires required to throw me into my most joyful state of mind; rapture. I have realised that, more often than not, a moment must enable me to experience all of these at once for me to be enraptured by it. To be ‘delighted beyond measure’, to be cast over by an ‘irresistible spell’, to be enchanted.

So far in my 26 year old life, I have only discovered two things which enrapture me; true love and Nature. Both captivating, unpredictable, and precious; the essence of each can be found reflected in the other. Subjective moments of true love and Nature entice the creativity out from within us; poetry, stories and art offer us an insight into the enchantment experienced by others in such moments.

For me, the essence of true love can be found in a particular moment in Nature; in the entre chien et loup eclipsing a British woodland. The entre chien et loup is the fleeting moment between day and night, in the low hanging sunlight of an emerging dusk. With a literal translation of ‘between dog and wolf’, the entre chien et loup softens the clarity of your sight; where creatures of the wilds can be seen, but become difficult to identify. The promise of hope and fear is therefore fabled to reside in the entre chien et loup, a promise which true love also offers.

How privileged we are for rapture to currently be so easily attainable; to have the freedom to retreat from pressures and routine into the enchantment of Nature, into the overlapping domain of true love. To be enraptured by the eyes of an urban Fox, in hearing the first Cuckoo of spring, in the boundless wonder of the night sky. 

Enraptured by the beauty of the Isle of Carna last week. Photo credit: Cain Scrimgeour.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Wilson’s Error: When Biophilia is Tamed

This blog entry was submitted to The Wildlife Trust's My Wild Life campaign; all entries are available to read here. 

The importance of our wilds for our innate desire to be free, and my concern for the diminishing human connection with Nature, emerged through pen and paper one evening….

Wilson’s Error: When Biophilia is Tamed

Wild inside;
And sorrow.
Collective souls so
To Her,
Their kindred; the innately free.
A paradox, the cruellest;
A trademark concept, unarticulated
By the brave unbound.
“Buy your way to happiness”;
The wild inside wails.
How a deluge of biophilia,
Can melt away a week.
“A week”:
A Bible for the modern meek.
A rhythm to follow when you’ve lost your own.
Her own.
Unconscious, caged or drugged;
Eight tamed beats per day, five rises a week.
And then sleep.
The watchman of our inner wild.
That undernourished, lonely child.

My freedom, wild-camping on the west coast of Scotland. Photo credit: Cain Scrimgeour

A Nameless Woodland; An Icon of Natural Rewilding

This blog entry was submitted as part of A Focus on Nature's Advent Calender last year, however with Spring upon us, I have decided to share it once again. So, let me introduce you to my wildlife patch... 

As the wintry frost of February began to melt into the fertile soil of March this year, I was able to share some beautiful moments with the families that call this woodland near Great Ayton their home. Hours were blissfully whittled away hidden under fragrant leaves and drooping branches, whilst I watched a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers raise their three, ever-calling chicks.

First discovering this nest, tucked safely away into hollowed standing deadwood, was a beautiful moment. Wandering along the track, which enchantingly protrudes with the roots of ancient Oaks, a tell-tale ‘chip-chip-chipping’ caught my attention. Picked out between the mesmerising chorus of competitive courtship calls and the ‘meeps!’ of bustling rodents in the undergrowth, the volume and desperation of these constant chip-chip-chips were unrivalled. Precariously crossing over the sporadic hard ground of an unpredictable bog, fertilised with the mineral-filled water of an underground spring, I found myself concealed under the branches of a young Goat Willow; eyes focusing on the location of the chip-chip-chipping. Sitting motionless, Nature accepted me as part of the woodland; a Wood Mouse emerged from underneath a chunk of deadwood to investigate me, whilst the delicate legs of Garden Orb Web spiders tickled their way across my hand. Despite this habitat once being exploited as a quarry, the natural rewilding of the land had enabled me to be caught up in a precious moment of effortless contentment, enraptured by the vitality of Nature.

Eventually a dipping figure flew into my peripheral vision; first landing on neighbouring standing deadwood to collect a selection of juicy grubs and insects, the male Great Spotted Woodpecker dipped and perched onto his nest site. His chicks, still too young to raise their heads out of the entrance hole, frantically called for their share of the meal; to which he so attentively obliged.

I consider myself incredibly lucky that I was able to fill my days this year with intimate moments in Nature such as this, learning who has chosen this stunning habitat as their home; Hares, Foxes, Wood Mice, Badgers, Roe Deer, Tawny Owls, as well as the ever-growing list of Avian and Fungal species, have so far been added to my record of the Flora & Fauna of this woodland.

Enticingly secluded, and abstrusely unvisited by people, this woodland is not only my haven; it is an inspiring feat of the natural rewilding of land once exploited by man.

- Heather-Louise