Lotti Brown Designs

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Moving to the Country

nature, personal musingsCharlotte BrownComment

It took me a long time to properly connect with nature and not just take it for granted - surprising, really, when I'm a country girl born and bred...

 Green fields and trees - nature is part of us and we are part of nature

Green fields and trees - nature is part of us and we are part of nature

First, a small Lincolnshire village, surrounded by fields, heathland and woods - then an even smaller village in Wales - hills and vales, and the sounds of cattle and sheep...

The overwhelming smell of grass at hay-making time as the huge hay lorries thundered past my bedroom window in the light of summer evenings - and I lay still, with cucumbers over my eyes to soothe the itch of hayfever, and my dad's giant hanky clutched to my red-raw nose. (Hayfever absolutely sucks!)

I left the countryside for the 'big city' at 18 when I went away to University and then found a job in the historic city of York. For several years, being in a city was exciting and stimulating - but then I got to missing the countryside - badly!

When my husband got cancer, we decided to run away to the countryside (he was brought up on a farm in the North York Moors, and later in a small Yorkshire village).

We wanted for him to be able to finish his cancer treatments and recuperate in the tranquillity of the countryside. We were finding living in the suburbs of York completely stifling at the time...

But even when we moved to our cute country cottage in our tiny East Yorkshire village, we still didn't quite take full advantage of the nature all around us.

 Lovely walks to enjoy and drink-in nature

Lovely walks to enjoy and drink-in nature

Still stressed from the traumas of Ian's illness, we still lived the commuter life. Though we appreciated the scenery we passed through in the car and the quieter location, we rarely walked out in the fields all around the village.

All that changed when I was, quite literally, forced to make changes in the pace of my life and to look again at how I lived it...

A couple of years after moving to our country village, I got sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME). I had to leave my work and become self-employed - a great opportunity to do something different... although it didn't necessarily feel that way at the time.

Working from home meant that - joy of joys - we could get a dog! As I slowly recovered, I started walking in the fields every day (to practice and make sure I would be up to looking after our new dog properly) - and soon we welcomed our first dog, Ginger, into our home - a wonderful, retired racing greyhound.

 Ginger in barley

Ginger in barley

Ginger loved walking through summer barley - the bristly fonds rubbing against his sides seemed to feel amazing for him - so we had a fab time on our summer walks, stepping out happily, side by side together.

But it wasn't, actually, until I got my second dog, rough collie Noah, that I really started to appreciate the precious time spent in nature - and how essential being able to be out in the green is to our well-being.

 The green of nature - with my dog

The green of nature - with my dog

We're supposed to be in nature and nature is a place where we can stop and see the beauty in this world - look at what's around us, listen to the sounds, feel the wind on our faces and the earth beneath our feet...

And lose what's whirring around our heads and instead ground ourselves in this real world we're living in.

 Taking some time to watch the world around him!

Taking some time to watch the world around him!

Noah loves to stop and stare - to watch the world go by and enjoy this very moment and everything that's going on around him - right now!

It's taken me some time to really appreciate the huge difference that this taking time to connect with nature makes - but it's essential.

I love to do this through my art, but I understand, now, that part of my art is feeling mindful and grounded in real life too - in daily walks in the green...

I feel like it's where we're supposed to be!