Where do we find our 'silent space' during this strange time. As lockdown lifts, how do we hold on to the calm and solace that peaceful time in green places brings?

  • PRESERVING THE SILENCE AS LOCKDOWN LIFTS

    As lockdown eases in Cambridge, the winding medieval streets fill up again, narrow enough to warrant a new one-way system – enforced by slapdash signs spray-painted hastily onto the cobbles. The quiet fens, until recently the haunt of herons and the occasional egret, are filled with picnickers and punters, in numbers unheard of even in the height of summers past. It is a joy to see so many newly enjoying…

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  • TIME IN NATURE – ESSENTIAL THERAPY

    The Covid-19 crisis piggy-backed onto the climate and ecological crisis, demanding changes to my daily life as a GP, activist, mother, and daughter of an ailing nonagenarian. There have been times when connection with nature and exercising in green space has been not just a nice addition to life, but an essential therapy to keep me mentally and physically strong. I know that many other healthcare workers have felt the…

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  • THE QUIET OF SOLITUDE

    When lockdown started, all my work as a keynote speaker vanished almost overnight. For a few days I felt lost, and not a little panicked. But then I realised that I had some valuable insights to share. I’ve spent up to five months alone at sea, so I’ve had to acquire strategies for dealing with solitude and fear. Within a month I wrote and published a book called The Gifts…

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  • COVID DOWNUNDER

    Life changed dramatically and immediately in Australia on March 21st when the government imposed reasonably strict lockdown and social distancing restrictions. As a result of these restrictions, Australia seems to have been spared the brunt of the impacts of COVID-19.As it stands, the first two weeks of Winter in New South Wales have seen no known community transfers of the virus and restrictions have been gradually easing over the last…

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  • NEW ZEALAND LOCKDOWN – DUNEDIN BOTANIC GARDEN

    During New Zealand lockdown, we were allowed to go out for exercise, as long as we stayed local. Without the cars, everywhere became a silent space. Everyone was sharing their relishing of this silence when they stopped to chat with random strangers. Wistful sigh! It was a golden time of community. It was also a golden time at Botanic Garden as it was autumn. Although part of the garden can…

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  • COVID-19 IN CUMBRIA

    Throughout the crisis I have felt incredibly privileged to live in a part of the country where you can go about your day to day business for hours without seeing another soul. My horizons are fells and big skies, dotted with small villages of tight communities. It has felt like the perfect place to weather the storm. I’m also fortunate to have outdoor space at home where my family and…

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  • OBSERVATIONS OF LOCKDOWN IN A COMMUNITY GARDEN

    Unlocking the padlock on the gate, a bit of apprehension. What will I find? Birds, unused to being disturbed, fly back into the hedges and trees. Each week it seems like nature is reasserting itself and growing uninhibited, basking in the glorious sunshine and taking over the spaces we usually try to control. Weeds growing through gaps in the paving, running riot in the borders and native flowers taking over…

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  • MY OWN SHIELDED, CITY SILENT SPACE

    Having managed a busy community garden for over 20 years, the pandemic came as a personal shock. For the first time in my life, I’ve been categorised by others as ‘extremely vulnerable’ – in a way as disempowered as many of the beneficiaries of our garden’s therapeutic services. A number of things became acutely clear. Not so much the sudden change in reduction of services – as 90% of our…

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  • TWO FACES OF COVID-19 SILENCE

    Silence comes in so many varieties. Living in rural South Oxfordshire, I was fortunate to be able to embrace the silence of lockdown with my family at home. From this privileged position, it was easy to enjoy the quiet sounds that had previously been masked by traffic, construction and the thunderous omnipresence of aircraft circling for Heathrow. I continue to enjoy venturing out to the village green every morning to…

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  • BLISSFUL DUSK

    I’ve been working from home and looking after kids but have spent time in and on the garden doing some projects while we can. As far as being silent in nature and time for reflection is concerned, I’m missing the grounds at UEA. Love strolling in them. At home there’s very little peace, even the birds are noisy. The time when I get those precious, blissful moments is at dusk,…

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  • LOCKDOWN LONDON

    Is it possible to find any spiritual peace in lockdown London when one lives in a block of flats five floors up? The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is yes. As a writer, I am used to being on my own at home most of the day. But it is now two months since I have ventured out even on to the roads surrounding us. The streets and nearby parks are too…

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  • GRATITUDE FOR GARDENS

    I’ve felt so lucky to have a garden during the restrictions. My heart goes out to families in inner cities who don’t have parks nearby. During lockdown my family and I reconnected with our garden, basically only going inside to work and sleep, even on colder days. We made bug hotels from odds and ends, and watched our shrubs and wild areas bloom, attracting so many different insects. We watched…

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  • MY LITTLE CORNER

    I work from home, which means a lot of reading, researching and writing. So when the lockdown came I have to confess that very little changed in my day to day life. My husband frequently works from home so no disruptions there. We have a large, well established town garden so I have found extra comfort in gardening. My sanctuary has been the small seating area just outside the study.…

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  • SPANISH LOCKDOWN

    Here in Southern Spain, we were not permitted to walk during the restrictions. As soon as lockdown eased, we headed for the river in the Genal Valley. As a family we have spent a lot of time wandering the river banks and swimming in the river pools. In October 2018, there was a terrible flash flood which changed the landscape and left the river banks in a state of shock.…

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  • THE CORNISH COAST

    During the lockdown I’ve been doing some lovely walks along the Cornish coast path. I take my paints and a watercolour postcard pad to record scenes along the way and then post the cards to friends who love Cornwall but can’t visit just now because of restrictions on travel. I’ve really enjoyed spending this quiet time on our beautiful coast and it’s made me appreciate how blessed I am to…

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  • FAMILY TIME IN NATURE

    Most evenings after work, I walk with my two boys, both under ten years old. On a recent walk we stepped across a wooden bridge that moved us from the boundary of our village onto a farmland footpath. Just a short walk along the stream edge brought us to a clearing. This was where my boys wanted to stay and explore. A perfectly branched sycamore has now become their climbing…

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  • THE RIVERBANK

    Already isolating with a strange and noisy cough, I missed out on the sudden silence at the start of the lockdown. Whenever I did venture into my small garden, the peace felt glorious. Free of the sounds of traffic, both on the roads and overhead, it was as if nature was breathing a sigh of relief and the birds were singing in celebration. By the time I emerged from isolation…

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