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Days 22-28 - Nature immersion and artistic expression

Another week passed already with lots more wild activity happening. I’ve had many cycling moments throughout and turned them into opportunities to connect with the nature surrounding me when travelling from A to B. I’ve raced against rainclouds, mentally listed the birds singing around me (lots of wrens, dunnocks and chaffinches, sprinklings of blackbirds and song thrushes and the odd greenfinch and chiffchaff, to name a few) and high-fived leaves and flowers as I’ve passed. On many occasions I have assisted slugs and snails crossing the busy cycle routes, and relocated the odd sleepy bee. There has been a lot of rain and instead of begrudging the situation I have embraced it – enjoying the feeling of raindrops on my skin, the refreshing atmosphere, and the experience of getting caked in mud as it flies up from bike wheels.

I have made sure to venture outside even when the weather has been less desirable. A lunch break on Tuesday was spent walking along the river Leith and observing the wildlife’s behaviour as the rain fell around us. Aside from the patter of raindrops, all was quiet and subdued. The water birds were less outgoing although generally unaffected, gulls stood in unified silence along rooftops, while pigeons huddled up, in similar posture to the few people I passed. I realised how much must be missed by us on days like this. Having the opportunity to stay indoors with the luxury of warmth and store-bought food, we don’t have to battle the elements to survive. It’s an easy choice to remain in comfort, separate from the challenging conditions outside. It was interesting to become acquainted with it for a short while (before retreating back to comfort and feeling thankful that I could!).

One of my favourite moments was discovering that lime trees provided some of the best shelter due to the shape and grouping of their leaves. I shared cover of a particularly beautiful lime, with a magpie who appeared to have reached a similar conclusion. I looked up at some foliage directly above me to discover a whole host of insects sheltering beneath individual leaves, just as I was sheltering under the collective.

It has also been quite an arty week. On a rainy Wednesday, I finished off a painting of an orange tip butterfly I've been working on. Thursday I attended a herb study group where we were discussing elder. We looked at the plant up close, sketched it, read about it and tasted the leaves, flowers and products made using them (the stain on my drawing below is the result of a tincture spillage!). And yesterday I created another butterfly - this time using pieces of natural material around me - during a quiet moment of a camping trip in Dumfries.

There have been so many wild moments, it’s difficult to avoid getting carried away writing about them. Only two days left and I’m looking forward to what else nature has in store for me before the close of the month.

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