Life goes on without social media. It’s true. Yes, you might think that you’re interacting with people less, on face value, but the interactions you do have, suddenly become real again. They become human and genuine. They become more natural.

None more so than this Sunday. Nature brought four of us together. It had always been the root of our connection, but feeding that connection with the nutrients it needed, would help it to grow and flourish.

This Sunday gone, Chris from Team4Nature, Paul from Meadow in my Garden and Paul’s son, Byron, came all the way to Norfolk, so we could meet, chat and spend some time outdoors together. Chris has been an incredible supporter of Bird Therapy right from the beginning. He’s also been a sounding board, when paranoia, contempt and self-criticism have taken over rationality. I couldn’t wait to meet him. We share an ethos. We share a love for nature.

So does Paul. He set up Meadow in my Garden out of a deep love and concern for the state of nature – to preserve nature for future generations and inspire people to take an interest in wildflowers and pollinators. Some time ago, we had spoken on the phone, albeit briefly, about the possibility of me helping Byron to engage with the immersive and reflective aspects of birdwatching, but our conversation had been cut short by meetings and timeframes.

We met.

We talked.

We laughed.

We joked.

We ate breakfast and then we visited my local patch. I gave Byron some binoculars to use, as I was aware that he hadn’t observed birds with optics before. It opens a new window. Then we walked in the well-trodden paths of my patch. The paths written about on this blog and in the book, the paths that I rarely share with others – the paths that free my mind.

Again, we laughed.

We joked.

We talked and we connected.

A deep and affirming connection, strongly unified by our mutual interest. I caught a glint of curiosity in Byron’s eyes as he asked about the grey ducks. The glossy treasures in question were Gadwall, over 70 of them. Some in flight, wheeling and reeling over the lake. Some sat static on the water, glistening like polished steel.

We stopped.

We listened.

There were Siskin on the move above us, their down-slurred tiu calls drawing our eyes up to their bounding flight, high over the conifer belt. We counted ducks and talked of habitats, we spoke of conservation and of our combined passions. More birds flew, as did an unseasonal Dragonfly on the fern-lined access track. Time flew too and we had to ourselves, migrate.

We sat and we ate again. Together.

Replenishing ourselves after an invigorating patch walk. They’d seen my world, my microcosm.

We just knew.

We had shared.

We were still sharing.

Stories and truths. Rending deeper still. Defences down and emotions worn. All because of nature and it’s innate power to inspire, engage and connect people. It showed its hand that morning, it’s true colours.

Woodland colours.

The coppered bronzing of autumn, falling around us and carpeting the woodland rides. Golden leaf-lights, leading us on. We’ll do it again. The buzz was too special. New friends like old friends, new experiences like those comforting, old ones. We hugged, with open arms and warmth, just as nature had welcomed us that morning. We departed. Until next time.

One thought on “Natural connections

  1. Another excellent, powerful, thought-provoking post Joe.

    I’ve recently changed roles at work from a computer facing data analyst to a front line administrator. Some might see it as a demotion but I’ve got back the people connection in my job. As one of the first point of contact our clients have with the addiction support & mental wellbeing charity, I’m talking to people face to face, on the phone, at the door. ….. and I’m loving it! So much better than being stuck behind a computer screen churning out data for managers.

    So glad to hear you are happy & enjoying life.



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