Nearly two months into the season, it’s undeniably Autumn. I’ve taken my cue from the tiles being too cold to walk on without socks and I think I may have had my last ocean swim for a while.
The turn of the season still feels fresh. It’s cosy to make soup, wind a scarf around my neck and snuggle between flannelette sheets at night. The tell-tale signs of the season in nature are also gorgeous to witness and a good reset for me personally.
I’ve been distracted lately which leads to a chaotic scatter-gun approach to whatever I’m working on. I’m hurried and impatient with a lot of picking-up and putting-down and not much getting-finished.
But these crisp Autumn days offer some friendly reminders. Nature is good like that. Cyclical. Eternal. Unhurried. Beautiful and so much bigger than us and our immediate quotidian concerns.
Of course, being in nature helps. Everything. Always. It makes me slow down and be subject to wonder again. But if you can’t get a hit of the real natural world then reading about it is a good enough second.
Here are some of my go-to writers for a nature intervention.
Jonathon Driori – his book, Around the World in 80 Trees, would be my desert island pick, the one and only book I would have in the world if I could have no other. He shares his vast arboreal knowledge with intellect and wit and the illustrations by Lucille Clerc are stunning! This book is my antidote to planet woe because nature doing her incredible thing is never going to be a downer. I can’t recommend this book highly enough and am so excited that it now has a companion in the recently released Around the world in 80 plants.
Mary Oliver – feels like she spent most of her life wandering in wonder and capturing nature with eloquence and reverence. Reading her poetry always slows time for me, as I mentioned in a previous Mary Oliver blog, and puts our place in the world back into perspective.
Helen Macdonald – as a poet, historian and falconer she created something completely unique in her book H is for Hawk. It’s another read that restores my faith in everything. It’s about grief and goshawks, about nature and being human and where any and all of those overlap. She has a new book Vesper Flights, which I’m told is just as good but haven’t got to yet.
Reading these writers, I soar to great heights, sink beneath the surface and see what’s around me anew. Clifftops, coastlines and deep roots make me feel the restorative power of nature that people have been writing about for centuries.
I’m sorry to say that I don’ have any local Australian titles or writers to offer, not because they don’t exist but because I just haven’t read much Australian nature writing yet….and I’m looking forward to some suggestions so I can right this wrong.
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