Sanctuary in Nature

Marie-Claire Robson shares a note on the importance of nature during lockdown.

Healing and nourishing, enveloping and enlivening nature has been to me this year. Learning of aspen and silver-leaved whitebeam, salt and pepper poplar pair, flickering in the breeze and softening the ground beneath my feet. Leaves and petals unfurling their resplendent wings from unassuming cases. The overwhelming beauty in private avenues of voluptuous blossom and exotic orchids dancing in the tall grass.

Insects creeping into consciousness, from buff tails to carders and ghost moth, startling with its moonglow wings. A frog nestling under pots, posing for his picture. So new, this chance to look and really see.

First day encounter of treecreeper and nuthatch, one up, one down, opposed on the same trunk. A discovery of birdsong calling in the stillness – chiffchaff and goldcrest, and the comical woodpecker on unexpected home visits. The exuberance of duckling upon duckling huddling about a fussing mother; seven cygnets swimming silently, soothing. Then the cacophony of starlings – full families of fledglings fearlessly feasting. A flash of blue above the twinkling babble, sparrowhawk with prey on a grey day. A gentle great tit, waiting quietly as the baby blues feed, and a lone yellow wagtail seen, but not believed. A redshank on the muddy banks, and chaffinch love at close quarters.

Then came the hedgehogs: bristly bustlings endlessly captivating. Following to begin, but with a buffet here, a nudge there, gradually braving separation. A magical dusky garden gathering – a friend sees a prickly visitor about its business around us. Youngsters on daytime wanderings, keen to grow. Learning and feeding, marking and weighing and homes cosy with leaves. They have not gone.

Nothing entering my heart will go – all the wild array of flitting, swooping, scuttling life to stay now. Like the poplar in my garden, deep rooted and offering much sanctuary.

7-Spot Ladybird © Marie-Claire Robson
Marie-Claire Robson
Local naturalist

Growing up in an abundance of opportunity for investigation, I have never stopped. My qualifications speak of a historian, my current work as a people person, but loving art and writing, and inheriting my mum’s gardening delight, I spreadout to the right and to the left.