The world around us
by Ceri Brunelli Williams
It’s a strange world (rhyfedd o fyd). I was reminded of this great Welsh saying by a wise colleague a few weeks back. And never has it been so true.
This time in our lives is different for everyone, and we’ll all look back at it with mixed feelings and different opinions. But there’s no doubt that this time has inspired us. It’s given us the time to step back, to look at ourselves and to get to know ourselves better.
It’s also given us the time to get to know the world that’s all around us. To appreciate our own square mile.
I spoke to local naturalist Twm Elias a few weeks back, and he said that to really appreciate nature, you have to be able to understand it and only then will the real respect and appreciation follow. Understand (identify) – appreciate – respect. The best advice I’ve been given this year.
So, off I went. The last weekend of May. A 4-mile walk to my favourite local summit, Garn Fadryn to see the sunrise.
Banana bread in the oven the night before. My alarm set for 3.30am, head torch and Alffi the Westie by my side. Off we go.
I reach the summit just in time to welcome a new day to Eryri, Harlech, Anglesey and Llŷn in the golden sunlight. Each breath fills my lungs with beauty. Yes, this view was breathtaking. But, I didn’t rush up the mountain, the view wasn’t the goal. I took my time to identify, appreciate and to respect nature that morning.
The highlight was the sounds of the birds (I’d watched Ben Porter’s videos on Youtube the night before to see if I could identify some of the birdsongs). I studied the flowers, I saw the multi-coloured caterpillar on the path, watched a family of foxes above Llaniestyn and was in awe of the hundreds of silky spider homes I saw in the hedges. These were the highlights. This is what filled my heart with pride and appreciation that morning, sitting on the summit.
These last few months have awakened the senses. Hearing the bird choirs. Seeing the hedges change colour from March’s yellow (daffodils) to the purple of April (Bluebells) and then the amazing shades of pink during May (wild roses, foxgloves and red campion).
I’ve tasted nature. The wild garlic collected used to make flatbreads and the elderflower picked from the hedges between two local villages turned into cordial – the prefect friend to my weekend gin!
And there was no better feeling than feeling the sand between my toes at Benllech beach for the first time in three months this weekend. All nature’s treasures.
Kate Roberts, one of my favourite Welsh authors, wrote so she ‘wouldn’t suffocate’. In these times, we all need to find something so that we don’t suffocate. Even if it’s binge-watching Netflix until your eyes are seeing double, or enjoying all the fabulous content being shared on social media. Or getting up early to see the sunrise. Do whatever helps you feel better. Find your way of coping. Your comfort, your escape, your relaxation – whatever you want to call it, we all have had to take the time to find it. Taking time to get to know ourselves and to cope the best we can.
Yes, more than ever it’s a strange world. But it’s also an astonishing world. Identify these wonders, appreciate them and respect them. It’s not only nature that will feel the benefits.