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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Finding Nature in a Concrete Jungle


Living in a large city like London means streets lined with an abundance of high-rise buildings, apartment complexes, shopping centres, restaurants, cafes, schools, warehouses, residential homes, supermarkets, mini-markets, galleries and museums. On the surface it looks as though there's not a whole lot of room for nature to roam. But in every concrete jungle there are hidden havens; parks, heaths, ponds, rivers and hills that are homes to the remaining wildlife.

These are the places I seek, the moments of calm I go to ground myself, bring myself back to my origin. This is where I feel a little closer to home.

We're wild animals and inside each of us is a call for home.

Last year I moved across the city to find myself in unknown territory. My entire London-living life I have gravitated to local sanctuaries of solitude. Having now lived on the other side, I have connected with new habitats.

Having grown up on a mountain top in the middle of the wilderness, I've never felt completely at ease in the concrete jungle. Linear streets, hard ground, stale air. I long for a deeper, more meaningful connection to nature. As I step outside I find my feet taking me through dusty paths and grass fields and under oak canopies and pine umbrellas. 

It's within me.

My first love was Hampstead Heath. She charmed me with her rural cloak and embraced me within her hollow tree. Picnics were shared with loved ones and adventures were had through her ponds, swimming lakes, hilltops and wooded walks.

Hyde Park was always a welcoming sanctuary away from the surrounding buzz of shoppers. A restful lake – home to swans, duck, geese, pigeons, starling, blackbirds, moorhen, magpie and more – resides at the top end of the park. A wide expanse of land lends to picnics, walks, cycling and , quite commonly, rollerblading. Many of my childhood memories began nearer the rowing lake by the serpentine. This is a home away from home for when I'm in need of a recoup but still want to feel connected to the city.

St. Jame's Park has been a more recent adventure, showing me there's still life in the midst of modern civilisation. In the heart of this great city I find myself walking through greenery, passing over a lake and resting under an oak tree.

The place I find myself in most, partially because it's so local and partly because it's a beautifully unique paradise of nature, is Greenwich Park. I travel it's grounds as often as possible, each time discovering something new both within the park and within myself. I find myself here when in need of stillness, movement, energy, calm, grounding or a fresh perspective.

Nature is my home. I will always seek it.



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