If the Lockdown due to the pandemic has taught us anything surely it has made us aware of the high levels of noise and pollution we had got used to and hopefully, it drew the attention of many to the priceless value of the outdoors, the enjoyment of nature or any green patch indoors to remain sane amidst all the restrictions. One positive outcome was that I was repeatedly hearing comments about how many people suddenly became aware for the first time of birds chirping as the traffic and daily chaos slowed down to a halt. Now that we are wearing masks even outdoors may we come to realise the vital importance of clean air and appreciate how good it was to be able to feel the fresh air on our faces and take in all the scents around us.
We can still find our own little ways of connecting to nature during this unprecedented December – here are some ideas…
If you are restricted indoors:
Connect with any living creature by giving it your full attention for a few minutes – sit comfortably near the plant/animal and let your gaze be absorbed by its form, colours, shape, scent until you can come to feel its living presence, the way in which plants and animals are so comfortable in their own skin, are so aware of their surroundings and live always in the present moment. You can close your eyes and (unless it is spiny!) give it a gentle touch to connect with this sense which has suffered so much during this contactless period we are living in.
If you can go outdoors:
Collect some seeds and grow a few millenary trees – the perfect New Year’s resolution.
The end of the year and January are the best time for acorn gathering of our own indigenous Evergreen Oak Trees (Quercus ilex) MT: Balluta. Ideally, collect the acorns which fall on hard impermeable surfaces like tarmac and pavements as these have almost no chance of ever sprouting. Check out the local Grow 10 Trees Project on Facebook for ideas…
Evergreen Oak acorns getting ready – when they turn brown and fall on the ground they will be ready for their next step!
Borrow a good book from our extensive Green Library!
It includes several gardening and nature-related titles. Our Green Library Book of the Month quotation is from the winning suggestion our followers made for Silent Spring by Rachel Carson:
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature-the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
Flower of the month:
Now is the time to smell the unique scent of the beautiful French Daffodil (Mt: Narċis) Narcissus tazetta – this wild flower has undergone quite drastic losses due to years of picking and habitat disturbance. The scent of winter will soon be with us!
Foraging plant of the month
Borage (Mt: Fidloqqom) Borago officinalis
This most humble plant which flowers in winter till spring will be adorning many country paths and roadsides (where it is not subject to endless grasscutting…) Read more about it in our Foraging Guide.
Occasionally one comes across a pinkish variety of wild Borage – it is still the same plant but quite a nice surprise to meet along the way.
Photos and text by Annalise Falzon.