I love to go hiking. I like to take cycle rides on the open road. I enjoy SCUBA diving. Like many people, I enjoy the social aspect of these activities, chatting about common experiences and talking to like- minded people. The meet- ups in the pub to organise events, the camaraderie and team spirit of setting an objective, supporting and encouraging each other during the event and achieving the goal are all great fun. There is a sense of achievement at the end, that tired feeling after all that work when you feel you really deserve that hearty meal, the cold beer or cool drink, the mug of tea or coffee with a slice of cake or just a well- earned rest.
There has always been another side to these activities that keeps me going back for more throughout my life. That is the connection to nature. It is so fantastic, thrilling in fact to be surrounded by the power of nature. I was once preparing for a trekking trip in Nepal with my father and a group of us were striding out in the Chiltons (an expansive, hilly area between London and Oxford in England). We were following a path up a hill in dense woodland that opened out into fields. The group walked on, but I had to stop and take in the glorious view. The contrast was so dramatic. The dark wood gave way to a field of wheat that was bathed in bright sunlight. It looked like shimmering liquid gold! This event happened twenty years ago, and it stays with me in vivid detail. That is how profound an effect it had on me. Not a single member of the group recognised this moment, given freely by nature, to be enjoyed by anyone open to seeing her gifts.
Dead Mans Fingers
I have had many such moments, and they always rekindle my spirit, that inner flame. Another wonderful example was wreck diving on the south coast of England. I was doing some survey work near Southampton where a lot of Mullbery Harbours were sunk during World War II. They have steep concrete sides. As I sat at the foot of one of these sheer surfaces, I looked up and saw a vertical field of ghostly white “Dead Man’s Fingers” illuminated in dappled sunlight. It was such an incredible sight shared with my diving buddy that connected us beyond words.
In this age of digital technology and high definition, these beautiful sights can be brought to you on your TV, tablet, mobile or computer screen in stunning detail. But I think that part of the wonder is the effort you have to go to in order to see these things. You may not set out to have those experiences, but nature provides the spectacles, you just have to be there to see and experience it.
Little Moments that Nourish
As we continue to promote our first book “Nourish the Flame Within” and write our second, “Feel the Power”, I realise more and more that the energy in nature that nurtures the spirit is on tap during every day experiences. As I write this I can see a tree swaying so gracefully in the summer breeze outside my window and I can hear the birds chirping away. It warms me from within, makes me feel alive. I feel connected, I feel content. There can be so much more to a walk, or a bike ride or simply a glimpse out of the window if we strive to see the little moments that nourish the flame within and feel the power all around us.