As the days grow shorter and the winter solstice waits just around the corner, we find ourselves locked down once again amidst grey skies, strong winds and rain and even for us hardy outdoor therapists it takes a little more motivation to layer up and venture forth. But the rewards are just as great and nothing stills me more than a huge sea like the one here today in windblown Dorset. Standing at the end of Portland Bill, the sea heaved and breakers rolled in to crash against the rocks, spray flying high into the air while ahead and straight out to sea, the ‘race’, rolled and boiled, The tidal race is caused by the very strong south-going streams from both sides of the Bill meeting the east- and west-going streams off the bill and at its height poses a real problem for sailors who have not checked the tide as trying to navigate it in anything small is a serious challenge. And yet, despite a wind strong enough to blow me backwards, a little way further along the coast to the east and towards Weymouth the sea flattened a little and we watched half a dozen local surfers hanging in water waiting to catch the next wave and looking for all the world like seals bobbing in the water.
These contrasts that we continually find in nature as the elements find their own paths over the landscape are an important aspect of taking our therapeutic work outside. They provide us with concrete examples of change, particularly important for young children, and show us the possibilities for personal change and growth.
Although during lock down, we are able to take exercise freely, meeting up with friends and colleagues has some limitations. Having had to postpone our Campover Conference at the end of October, we were delighted to have been joined by seventeen people for our Zoom Network Meeting on the same day. It was really good to meet up with some old friends and very exciting to be joined by many new Coopters! Julie West, Kate McCairt, Loz Foskett and myself were joined by Leona Johnson from Live Wild and Helen Rook from Go into the Woods to facilitate a morning of conversation, short videos of where we work , creative activities, meditation and helpful suggestions for future on-line sessions and several people who could not attend, paid for the video of the session which we managed to get to them in an openable format!
Following this very successful event, I spent and hour in conversation with Leona for her Connection Matters podcast which you can hear below
Julie, Loz, Kate, Leona, Helen and myself will be planning a programme of events which we will be circulating in the coming weeks so until we really are able to sit around the campfire together, stay safe, keep well and enjoy your time outside.