This quote from Julian Hoffman's book The Wild Nearby sums up the beginning of a journey into discovering nature connectedness and how it can help with mental health and wellbeing at times of crisis as we found in the pandemic or just day to day topping up of self-care. It builds up a picture of how important nature is.
I don't recall ever seeing anything unusual or rare in either of those places; what made them important to me was the sense that they could heal over you, like sap hardening across the wound in a tree. Both were refuges in which I could let the working week fall away, but, more crucially, find some essential space and the kind of compressed animate quiet that is common to the natural world but far less so to predominantly human landscapes, an auditory phenomenon that was commented on repeatedly in the early months of the pandemic as the clamour of aircraft, cars, trucks and machinery was, to a significant degree, silenced in so many of the world’s cities, enabling another soundscape to rise to the surface of our sensory world. These green clearings in the urban fabric were where I came to ease my tiredness and anxiety, and to try to work through the depression that I lived with for a period at the time. While the wild wasn’t enough on its own to finally reach a settled equilibrium, it made it possible for me to see beyond it; to lean into a world where other forms of life – ancient, resilient and irreplaceable – made me acutely aware of something other than myself. And if either of those places had been destroyed, I would have felt the kind of loss that comes closest in our experience to grief.