There’s something quite special about the first of the month. Whether psychologically or literally it offers an opportunity to draw a line under what’s come before, take breath and, if necessary, change tack. And that’s exactly where I find myself right now. The past few weeks, and indeed months if I’m being honest with myself, have seen a relentless push to try and get “everything done”. Now any sensible person would recognise this as wholly unachievable but by god that hasn’t stopped me trying. From painting skirting boards in the early hours to twelve hour days building a new set of garage doors, I’ve barely had chance to come up for breath and right now I’m shattered. Even so it feels as if it’s been worth it and for the first time in years I think I’m finally on top of things. However, one area that has suffered throughout this period of intense productivity has been our wild time, the walks and trips which make this existence so rewarding. My sense of disconnect from nature’s ebb and flow is palpable but the arrival of June offers a perfect opportunity to change all that and readdress the balance. How I hear you ask? Like this.
Today marks the start of the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild challenge. It’s premise is a simple one. Can each of us take just a little time out of every day in June to reconnect with nature through one random act of wildness. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose and could be as simple as admiring a view or taking the time to appreciate the beauty of a flower. Of course that’s not to say that you can’t go big if you want to as our exploits during last year’s challenge show. We managed to squeeze in everything from an evening picnic to conducting cetacean surveys from the bridge of an Irish ferry not to mention travelling right across the length and breadth of the country. We found the whole experience so rewarding that we just had to take part again.
So what have we got planned? Not a lot as of yet if I’m being totally honest but rest assured that is not a situation which is likely to last very long. Already I’ve started to think about all the things we’ve neglected of late such as kayaking, walking and indeed birding. Then there’s the chance for a first proper break in our camper van, mountains which are just begging to be climbed not to mention a host of things we’d like to do to our garden to improve its wildlife credentials. In fact I’m not sure a month is going to be anywhere near long enough.
For day one though I decided to keep things simple by going for a walk at lunchtime around a local nature reserve. As this was a work day that meant actually forcing myself to get up and leave the office which should be something I’m doing anyway but inevitably have been finding it all too easy to conjure excuses for why I shouldn’t. Daft really as I know from personal experience just how beneficial even a brief spell outside can be both mentally and physically, as today has proved. I came back refreshed and launched into the afternoon with a vigour and sense of purpose which has been sorely lacking of late.
And what a glorious explore it was. Despite the sun having deserted us for what seems like the first time in weeks I found myself enveloped in a comforting blanket of Whitethroat song and heavily scented air. Since I last visited this city refuge has sprung into life to such an extent that what were once wide paths have become almost like secret passageways, their narrow winding a perfect excuse to slow down and take a closer look. Yellow Iris and Ragged Robin are immediately obvious but peering a little deeper I was rewarded with my first Orchids of the year.
Elsewhere the family of Canada Geese which I’ve been keeping an eye on these last few weeks continues to go from strength to strength with all five gosling’s doing well. They have however now reached that stage where early fluffy cuteness has been replaced with a sense of mismatched proportions, but I’m sure we’ve all had similar phases in our own lives. The lone Mallard duckling too is soldiering on, no mean feat with so many predators about.
And with that this year’s 30 Days Wild challenge is well underway. I’m planning to blog our activities (almost) every day and can’t wait to see what this month brings.
If you want to get involved yourself then head over to the Wildlife Trust website, download the introduction pack and start making time for a little more wild in your own everyday life. Trust me, it’s worth it.