January 23, 2017

Back to Nature

Cow and Calf Rocks Ilkley West Yorkshire
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put together.”  
– John Burroughs

As somebody who was born in the urban jungle of South Leeds (actually in the terraced house I would come to grow up in), nature wasn't something to be found in abundance. I had a difficult upbringing at times, plus my parents worked a lot when I was little, so we spent a lot of time at my dad's parents' house - Irish immigrants who showered me and my little brother with love, stories, treats (Tayto crisps, am I right?) and library trips which further instilled my love of reading. Our two older sisters had different dads to us and my mum had my oldest sister when she was 16, so they were a bit older and had other places to go. My mum's sister would often have us all for a couple of weekends a month and would take us and our cousins on long rambling walks into the woods, bus rides to Otley and Ilkley where we would swim in the river, catch tadpoles and stickleback fish and slide down the weir on our bums - one time I ended up with a huge hole in the seat of my very 90s white pedal pushers. We would go to Appletreewick and paddle, camp at biker festivals and eat doughnuts at the seaside. A memory that sticks out is when we were chased by a giant pet pig at Hemsworth Water Park... We were very lucky to spend so much time out of the city.

At the same time, I've never felt 'outdoorsy'. I do my best to push myself and get out of my comfort zone and have been to some incredible places, but I've come to accept that I'm a fair-weather nature dweller. I need toilets and showers and I hate sleeping in tents. I'm okay with this. It doesn't mean I don't or can't enjoy nature and being outside. I would say that I NEED nature.

Nature settles me. It brings me back to myself and calms my racing mind. For me, walking outside can be so helpful for the anxiety and depression I experience. It's also something I can do together with my husband, Josh, who is perpetually busy running his own businesses, as well as working a day job. It's a way for us both to switch off and get some exercise. I'm aiming to go on more walks and hikes this year (walking boot recommendations that are cute and not £££ please - my Dr. Martens are not ideal!).

I wanted to share a few iPhone 6 shots from our walk in Ilkley yesterday. They're not perfect, but I think they represent a cold and gloomy January day pretty well. We took a long route to the Cow and Calf Rocks and I played with my 35mm camera. It was freezing up on the moor and was snowing lightly, but nothing beats that feeling of stinging red cheeks and breathing in fresh, cold air.

Cow and Calf Rocks Ilkley West Yorkshire

Cow and Calf Rocks Ilkley West Yorkshire

Cow and Calf Rocks Ilkley West Yorkshire

One last thing - I didn't want to dwell on the glaringly obvious fact that I haven't been updating here regularly. I actually didn't realise it had been quite so long until I looked at the date of my last post. 2016 was a difficult year for me for a bunch of reasons outside of my control and I haven't felt in the right headspace to write for a while. I kept busy with my zine project, Love/Hate (you can read more about that here and read a Q&A with me over at Things & Ink here) and we also bought a house which we get the keys for this week (panic mode). Anyway, hello again. Fretting about having not posted is counterproductive, so that's all I'll say about it. Happy 2017!
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3 comments

  1. I know what you mean about nature isn't it fab . I love glamping I don't do sleeping in tents either , I like to be in nature but still sleep in an actual bed and access water . If I'm having an anxious day ( which tends to flair up with my hormones around ovulation with a vengeance ) I just like hitting the trail with my partner and 6 year old . It's so calming and puts everything back into perspective :)

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  2. I too am on the hunt for good hiking boots. I think my friend got some in the Blacks sale last week for less than half price? Worth a bash!

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  3. I love nature. I used to not like the idea of camping either. Then I became an outback camping guide and slept outside under the stars every night. Amazing.

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