Besides gardening one thing that I did regularly after Rhiannon died was bush walking. I had been doing it before she died too, as the forests around Pemberton were perfect for getting out of the house and pushing a pram around to get a fractious baby to sleep! We also had 2 energetic German Shepherds to exercise.
After Rhiannon’s funeral I would walk daily through the bush to the cemetery. After Connor was born I’d have him in the pram, and the dogs too.
It’s hard to put into words the effect of walking through the beautiful forest had on me, but I’ll try…
It engaged my senses:
- The sounds of birds, the wind, branches falling (actually that was kind of scary, most branches made a sudden crack, then a boom as they hit the ground); the crunch of leaves and twigs under foot;
- The smells of the earth and eucalypt leaves, especially after rain, the flowers and other aromatic leaves;
- The touch of the breeze, occasionally the stinging slap of a branch on a narrow path, the feel of the rain;
- The taste of that cool crisp clean air. Impossible not to want to breathe deep.
- And most of all, the visual feast – the towering trees, wild, tangled undergrowth, the birds all around, kangaroos and lizards, just so much to see and take in.
It freed my thoughts and emotions:
- I could let my thoughts wander. I could cry if I wanted, there was no one about to see. I even talked to myself, to Rhiannon, to God. Mostly though I just soaked up the beauty around and let it lighten my heart and put life back into perspective for me. It gave me something to be grateful for at a time I didn’t believe I had very much to be grateful for.
It connected me with myself :
- I became more aware of my body, how I moved, the soreness in muscles walking up and down all those hills! I was aware of all the thoughts and emotions moving through me, without all the distractions of everyday happenings. I wasn’t always kind to myself, but during these walks the negativity generally dropped away after a while. It was a time to think about what I wanted, where I was going, who I was.
Since moving back to Perth over 10 years again, the bush walking has dwindled. I’ve enjoyed walking around some of the urban parks and wetlands, and I appreciate their existence greatly (I’d go insane without some kind of green space around me) but I miss the wildness and getting away from suburbia. I miss the connection with nature that I used to have.
I’ve discovered a list of walking trails in and around Perth and I intend to walk one of them at least once a month.
The first one I will do is the Butterflies, Birds, and Bridges Trail in Canning Park. It’s a short drive from home and a good place to start as it’s an easy walking trail (and I’m not very fit at the moment!)
The name is appropriate – there’s nothing like wildlife to make a walk feel like you really are immersed in nature. I also intend to rebuild a metaphorical bridge to connect me with nature again and to connect with myself again too.
Life gets too much of the ‘doing’ these days. I want to experience more of the ‘being’.
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