A Prayer to Nature

I have had an uncharacteristic day, a very un-Julie day, something I haven’t had since my summer by the sea in France.

I have had tea in a bookshop with my son. I have gathered windfall apples and stewed them, they are waiting to be turned into cinnamon pies. I have cut back hedges and had a mid-afternoon bonfire, then picked the late and soft blackberries as I walked the dogs along the low-lit golden lanes, before doing yoga on the patio with the dogs.

A Prayer to Nature - Julie Leoni - The Hills Countryside Blog

I have enjoyed a break for tea with my partner, chatted to my kids and sat alone by the river at the bottom of the garden, catching the neon flash of the kingfisher slicing across the late afternoon sun, and hearing the splash and splosh of the near-glimpsed silver fishes catching flies in the lowered eddies. I have taken time to sit and watch the circles they leave expand to the red and pink and amber leaves floating by the bank. I am even now writing on the garden bench, watching the clear blue sky outlining the gilded leaves.

It has been heavenly. Nowhere in particular to go, nothing in particular to do, no-one in particular to see, nothing very much to say. The silence has been so welcome, so soft after the filled sounds of the week.

This is Nature’s eternal gift to me, the way She stills my mind and slows my business. She holds my energy, allowing me to cut and plant, to dig and mow. She feeds my eyes with multitudinous forms, reminding me that perfection is found in difference, not in conformity or uniformity. She bathes my ears in sounds so subtle that that the brash noises of the world fade away. The newly cut lavender hangs in my yoga hut, fragrancing the mats and reminding me of summer. The blackberries still so sweet remind me of childhood sticky fingers, sticky still after all these years. The damp grass, the downy moss, the tart stings of nettles fighting to stay out of the fire, all of nature's reminder that life is here and now, not then and there.

May I always find my way back to Her, when life gets too busy, too full of musts, and have-tos. It is not She leaves me, it is I who leaves her. Nature, please keep tugging on me, drawing me outside, tangling my hair, watering my eyes, stroking my skin until I find my way home to you, the place where I feel most at home, free of judgement, free of time, free to just be me.


Julie Leoni

Julie Leoni is an academic, teacher, writer, coach, yoga teacher and mum, and she wonderfully juggles all of these so that her work fits around her family life. She moved from Kent to the hills nearly 20 years ago and can still remember the first two years when she thought she would never feel warm again. Now, however, when she goes back down south to visit friends, she heaves a sigh of relief as she sees the Shropshire hills on her return after the chaos of the M25.