We are at home, when in nature.  For we are part of nature.  And we turn to ‘wider’ nature, the natural world as intuitively as a child turns to its mother. For the same reasons. Of comfort, nourishment, safety, reassurance and connection. To name but a few. To not be able to be in the mountains, or in the forest, at the sea or in the park, is unnatural and unnerving, to say the least.

Lockdown announcement

So I got it. I understood why so many Madridleños wanted to escape to their Sierra mountains after the #quedateencasa (#stayathome) announcement. And I can appreciate why they were herded back. And how that could have felt.

Likewise in my village.  In my three years of being here, I had never seen so many on our mountain trail that weekend. Amongst them a young family tense with the anticipation of how they will cope with it all.  Then there was the mountain runner, already feeling constrained by his four walls.  Someone was deep in contemplation. And dog walkers, wondering practically how things will work. There were four teenage girls letting off steam and yelling into the forest. And a pregnant woman taking in some fresh air and good vibe with her partner and friends.

We all had our reasons to be there.  To relax, exercise, feel free, be connected or to gain perspective.  And whatever reason, we all knew we would feel better as a result of being immersed in nature. We didn’t need the studies showing the therapeutic effects of it.  The ‘no-shit Sherlock’ studies, as my friend Roy likes to call them. Because they are blindingly obvious. You just have to experience it for yourself.

And in extraordinary measures to control the Covid19 pandemic, we weren’t able to roam freely. In a nature connection way, the stay at home directive was particularly challenging for those who do not have outdoor access.

And as a coachee talked about on our last call, it depends on our perspective. She shared how her mother was visiting them in Amsterdam, from Togo.  And how every morning her mother would hold her granddaughter to the window of the apartment, saying “good morning sun”, “good morning clouds”’.   My coachee admitted that at first, her and her husband, thought she was crazy for doing that.  ‘’There is no nature where we live in the city”.   And as she reflected, my coachee said, “and now I realise there is. My mother was right all along”.

Whatever type of place we live, wherever we live, at whatever time, we can get some Vitamin N, as Richard Louv coined it.  Vitamin Nature.

May you get your dose.

Getting Vitamin N

In his book, Louv offers 500 ways to get Vitamin N and ‘enrich the health and happiness of your family and community’. Amongst them are the ‘indoor expeditions’.  His suggestions for children and adults, include:

  • Set up a world-watching machine:  enjoy moon watching, stargazing, cloud-spotting, birdwatching and more.  Keep a notebook, field guides, binoculars and smartphone for photos and sound recording.
  • Keep an indoor/outdoor illustrated journal:  set up a table next to a window with art supplies, and paint or draw the life and natural elements beyond the glass. 
  • Go on an insect safari in your home: “your children may be surprised (and pleasantly grossed out) to discover how many species of bug are living in the nooks and crannies of your house or apartment.”
  • Make a worm terrarium:  wash out a 2l glass jar and fill it with layers of sand, dirt and leaves.  Introduce worms and watch as they blend the layers together.

Adult doses of Vitamin N

I would expand on these to add ways in which adults, in particular, can reconnect and be at home, with nature.

  • Pay more attention to your own body, particularly its sensuality
  • Contemplate on your own true nature
  • Marvel at your food. Prepare and eat it more mindfully than you ever have
  • Quieten your own mind and listen for the bird song
  • Bask in any sun that streams in
  • Sleep with the window open. Or out on your balcony
  • Have a cold water shower (or at the end)
  • Dance on your terrace in the rain barefoot
  • Look up at the night sky and feel grateful
  • Stick your face out of the window to feel the breeze
  • Tend to those pot plants and the soil
  • Light candles and admire the fire
  • Strike up a new conversation with your cat/dog/pet
  • Surround yourself with images of nature
  • Create art from nature treasures you have collected
  • Contemplate on the source, the raw material of things around you
  • Escape into nature books, movies and poetry
  • [And more. Add your suggestions]..
  • And perhaps most importantly of all, bring attention to the miracle of air, as you notice each breath.

As the old adage goes, we don’t know what we have lost until we lose it.  For sure, this moment in history can serve a new consciousness in us.  What we know about our own true nature. And what we mean about home. Our community. Our Earth.  And what we care about. And how we can renew our connection with ourselves, others and the world.

We have been talking about it for a long time. If something as drastic as this won’t reset the human world to see and act differently, what will?.


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Liz Fletcher
Liz Fletcher
4 years ago

Spend time imagining the earth healed.

Liz Fletcher
Liz Fletcher
4 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Mavor

Offer to give parents a rest by entertaining their kids remotely