My eldest great niece, who’s six, was delighted with the children’s microscope I gave her for Christmas; we talked about all the things she could look at.
‘Do you remember when we looked at the beautiful lichens in Granny and Granddad’s garden last summer?’ I asked.
Her answer made my heart swell, ‘Oh yes! And sometimes I put it in the water to watch it grow!’
Of course, I was pleased that she remembered our nature afternoon, but especially that what stood out for her was when I showed the girls how lichen ‘blooms’ when it gets wet! We’d made a special nature memory, together.
Why memories are important
There’s much research about what makes us happy now. Forget retail therapy and ‘stuff’, it’s all about positive experiences. Remembering those special moments boosts our happiness levels, and, if we share the memories with others, our happiness factor is increased. Think about the feelings evoked looking at old photos with the family, or reminiscing about a happy event shared with a friend.
I realise from a very early age, most of my own special memories are focused on - nature. No surprises there then! Some were unusual and exciting, but most are ordinary. What’s important is that they were encounters and finds which gave me a thrill, and still make me happy today.
Our natural world faces so many threats; it needs our help and support now, more than ever. I hope my great nieces and nephews can grow up to make many more nature memories of their own. I’ve made a list of mine, and I’m going to create some special journal posts to record and share some of them starting with….…
The Cliff Top Bunny Rescue!
My parents took me on holiday to the beautiful South Devon Coast when I was about six. I especially loved our evening walks along the cliff paths, the smell of the sea, and a salty tang on the air. We all enjoyed watching the cliff top dwellers: a large warren of rabbits. They fed busily, amongst almond scented gorse, and windblown sea pinks; cropping the turf more expertly than any green keeper.
On a cool and breezy June evening, just before dusk, we heard the cries of a herring gull. It was circling and diving around two youngsters who’d got separated from the main group, and had become an easy target. Dad shouted and waved his arms; the gull quickly disappeared, as did all the rabbits, except one of the little escapees.
It had been badly pecked by the gull and was frozen in fear. My father wrapped it up in mum’s scarf and we took it back to our holiday home. Now, I think, in reality, Dad probably thought the bunny wouldn’t make it, but, after a quiet night tucked up in a straw filled cardboard box, it was raring to go! We returned it to the scene of the crime. It seemed none the worse for the adventure, and immediately began to munch happily with its extended family!
So I’m afraid we did the gull out of a good meal, I do hope it didn’t have chicks to feed. Where my father got the box and straw from I never found out, but …. even (ahem) many years later I can still sense it all so clearly.
Your life through nature
Remembering that story made me realise how much I took nature for granted when I was little, but also reminds me of the love my parents had for the natural world, and how they encouraged me. It was also my first real life encounter with wild creatures.
Why not tell your own tale? Create a personal nature life story. You could share this with little ones (or even those who are not so little). I’m using the hashtag #ourlivesthroughnature. I’d love you to join me if you share any of your own stories!
Let’s think about our lives, though nature; remind ourselves why our natural world is so precious, and why we need to protect, and cherish it.