A time for renewal


 We have, at last, done what a lot of you will have already done. We have been away to a holiday destination. Not abroad but a long way (seven hours) across country. This was a place I booked on the internet and the details were quite vague. It was a self-catering chalet called a shed. Directions to it were unclear and signs were non-existent, but we drove on into scrub land. Then at last there was our ‘shed’.

We burst in tired and concerned, but inside was very comfortable. There was everything we needed and a terrace facing south. But now I was wondering, do you run all the crockery and cutlery through the dishwasher before using it? Do you disinfect handles and switches? COVID is still a worry, but we had to take some things on trust, and we settled in.

Family and friends, that we had not seen for three years, came. We were all strangers even though we had talked on video. They looked older, thinner, (or fatter) and shorter (not taller at our age) than I remembered, and I expect that they said the same of us. We sat outside carefully removing masks when we were comfortable and did not hug.

We were staying in the middle of a rewilding centre, and I remembered that this is what had attracted me to the ‘shed’ in the first place.

Rewilding is where nature is allowed to take care of itself and where we restore the balance between people and the diversity of wildlife. I could see that this place was where people could live alongside the animals and plants in the area. We heard the green woodpecker yaffle and saw the kestrel perched on high Scots pine. Rewilding is supposed to restore our health and wellbeing and we certainly felt the benefit of such a calm and tranquil place.

We went to the restaurant on site (our first in two years) and sat outside in the herb garden to eat fish sandwiches (caught in the nearby lake?).

On the edge of woodland there was a plantation of saplings all with very tall tree guards that almost swallowed them up. I soon found out why they had to be so tall as one morning a deer wandered past our window. There were rabbits too which would have joined the deer in gnawing the bark of any little tree so it could not survive. As we left clutching our rubbish for recycling, I saw that some of the saplings were being watered with a hose.

It is not easy getting back to normal after a disaster before life can be renewed.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

Rewilding and renewing


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