OUR #30DaysWild Challenge is off to a good start this year – and just by letting nature takes its course!
After weeks of thinking about what we would do as part of the Wildlife Trusts’ annual campaign to encourage people to set aside part of each day to ‘go wild’, our very first day turned out to be a mad blitz of school, work, activities and mundane tasks etc.
Our eldest daughter, Ava (10), needed to be at school for 7.50am to make the bus for her school tour and our 8-year-old Becca, bleary-eyed with hay fever, had to catch the actual school bus at 8.30am. After school Becca would have a swimming lesson and Ava would need to get to her Cub Scout Challenge training.
My proper work day wasn’t scheduled to kick off until after I had arrived back from my parents’ house 35 minutes away. By the time I was returning it was lunchtime, and I was feeling like the day had run away on me when I discovered a cattle truck blocking the road just a couple of minutes from home.
Now, pre-2016 Val would have gone into furrowed-brow panic-mode, worrying in case I was going to miss a work call (patchy service in our area), and thinking about how much later I’d have to stay at my baking hot desk to catch up (working at a spot that is a sun trap is often lovely, but can have a few sweaty disadvantages when it’s actually sunny!).
However, 2016 Val stopped the car, put on the hazard lights and looked at the world around me before deciding to take the scenic route home.
On the trip back to the house (both my husband and I work from home) it occurred to me that I would be passing the bridge I usually walk to most mornings after the girls catch their bus and I start work (I’d had to skip it earlier because I’d had too much on).
Take time to stop and exhale
When I reached the spot, I stopped the car, got out, leaned my elbows on the bridge, listened to the water, looked at the way the trees shaded the river and, possibly most importantly, I exhaled, ready to get on with the rest of my day.
Nature really is the gift that keeps on giving, and later that day, as I drove Becca home from school we stopped the car a few yards from the house to watch a hen and cock pheasant in our neighbour’s silage field.
“They’re romancing!” she said. I still get a huge kick from knowing the girls are growing up learning to look at the natural world around them and appreciate what it has to offer.
To sum up, even though I’d started June 1 wondering if I’d get a chance to do anything for the challenge, it turned out that, with almost no effort, just a willingness to stop and look around me, I’d had a really ‘wild time’!
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