It's been 365 days since I moved to the rolling hills of Northumberland.
800 metres from the seashore, 24 miles from the National Park. Arriving at the beginning of winter, cut off from all I'd known before, this was the beginning of something new. Something for me to learn and grow from, to be inspired and most importantly, to be closer to nature.
365 days later, what has four seasons in the wild taught me?
It was always going to be hard
I've spent most of my adult life chasing the sun, moving from country to country for longer than a year at a time and I’ve loved it; but the past 20 months have forced me to slow down, to notice, to simplify and enjoy being still and present.
Moving from a busy town to a non-existent one was always going to be challenging. With the external distractions removed and close friends more than 200 miles away, anyone would wonder why I moved to the middle of nowhere, but I needed this. I had been too comfortable for too long and needed a trajectory to push me into a state of prosperity.
I needed space from everything to reconnect to myself with the guidance and support of the natural world. The sea to remind me to use my five senses, to take a deep breath to remember that life ebbs and flows; steep terrain to tell me the hardest path has the most reward; and the deep pool at the bottom of the waterfall to clear my head and know that what is for me requires a leap of faith.
This decision has not been easy, it has been hard and will continue to be so, but what I gather and grow out of this experience outweighs a comfortable one of the past.
Each season has something to teach us
It can be hard to remember that we are cyclical beings, that we are not meant to be on fast-forward 365 days of the year. This year has given me the opportunity to learn from each season and really live them.
To be kind and gentle with myself in the winter. To welcome the stillness and uncomfortableness that can come with it.
To notice what appears in spring, the sounds, smells, colours, textures. A reawakening and eagerness for new beginnings.
To get outside as much as possible in the summer and seek adventure from sunrise to sunset. To not take for granted the sun on my skin, for it may be the last for another year.
To enjoy the crisp morning air in autumn as much as I detest the cold.
This just touches the surface of what I have learnt, and I'm sure this will develop and transition in the years ahead. The seasons may teach you something completely different and that is why it's so special. Our own relationship and connection with it. When you speak to spring, summer, autumn and winter and ask what you seek, it will guide you in ways that were so obviously they were impossible to see beforehand.
Life is beautiful, if we take a moment to see it.
I have always noticed the little things in life; sunlight touching the furthest corner of the room at midsummer, blossom falling like confetti in slow motion, the feeling of bare feet on the ground below and the calmness it brings. Despite this, it is only in the past few years that I have actively connected with the seasons.
Being forced to slow down, to not work and to just live, showed me the world from a new lens. I had the time to take it all in, to really notice the world around me. To see how quickly lambs grew in just a few week, to see the subtle time shifts in sunrise and sunsets as we transition from season to season, to realise blackberries grew a lot earlier than I thought. This space made me appreciate life so much and not to take it for granted.
As life begins to pick up once more, I wanted to create a physical reminder of the beauty of the world around us. The Little Things, is a deck of prompting cards that share the little things we tend to miss in our ever-growing busy lives. The cards are there for you to take a mindful pause in your day to remember that life is beautiful. In our fast paced society, it can be hard for us to take a moment to see the beauty around us. When picking up a card, you are transported to a memory, feeling and sensation that remind you the little things matter.
The Little Things deck is now available to pre-order for those of you looking for support in connecting back to nature, or for those looking for thoughtful Christmas gifts for nature lovers.
Wishing you joy and happiness in finding your own bond with the outdoors.