Balancing the human and non-human in nature writing

Nope, no humans here...
Nope, no humans here…

I recently read a blog post called ‘Ruminations on Nature Writing‘ that got me thinking. The blog’s author is at a reading by Sherry Simpson, who is being introduced by a man called David Stevenson. In his introduction Stevenson comments that although Simpson is often described as a nature writer, what she is really writing about is people. To which the blog’s author reacts:

Whoa, I thought. Did David just dismiss nature writing, or what? It’s as if writing about PEOPLE gave Sherry’s work more gravitas, made it more substantial and relevant and worthy.

It got me thinking about the balance that nature writers have to strike between the human (the narrator included) and the non-human. It also got me wondering whether I too am guilty of prioritising the human over nature. Continue readingBalancing the human and non-human in nature writing

New paths and muddy boots, or what I bought back from the wild

2013-10-13 14.41.40It rained on Saturday. I don’t mean that there was a brief shower. I mean it was raining when I woke up and it was still raining when I went to bed. The sky was so grey and overcast that the light never seemed to get beyond pre-dawn levels. All day it felt as though the whole world was ready to go back to bed again. I tried going for a walk but quickly turned back after a car drove through a large puddle and soaked me.

On Sunday afternoon, when the rain finally stopped and the sky started to show hints of blue I quickly put on boots and a coat and headed out – grabbing my umbrella on the way, just in case. Continue readingNew paths and muddy boots, or what I bought back from the wild

National Poetry Day: water, water everywhere

Me, by the sea
Me, by the sea

I know I’m a little late, but as it was recently National Poetry Day I thought I’d dig up a few of my old poems. The theme for this year’s National Poetry Day was ‘water, water everywhere’ so I’ve picked out some poems that were inspired by the sea. Specifically, these are both poems I wrote whilst living by the sea in St Andrews. Continue readingNational Poetry Day: water, water everywhere

Art In Your Park

The University of Nottingham’s Park campus is currently playing host to the Art In Your Park exhibition, with art works dotted around the campus. This week, on a walk round the lake on campus, I came across a few of the exhibits. The exhibition is supposed to explore ‘the enduring bond between nature and culture’, but I thought it was interesting the way nature (and possible people) were interacting with the art works, with parts falling off or being blown around by the wind. It certainly added some interest to my usual lunchtime walk! Continue readingArt In Your Park

Urban nature safari in Nottingham

safari_intro-630x359The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust recently held an Urban Safari – a 7.5km guided walk around some of Nottingham’s many urban nature spots, including parks, wastelands, woods and a city farm.

It was a really enjoyable day out – it was a great opportunity to see some parts of Nottingham I probably wouldn’t have visited otherwise and to discover just how much nature there is in the city, as well as meeting some lovely people.

I wrote a piece for Wildlife in the City about the Urban Safari. If you live in or near Nottingham, read it, download the map and: Go on an Urban Safari! 

Continue readingUrban nature safari in Nottingham

Colwick Country Park

2013-09-22 14.08.05

Yesterday was the first day of autumn. For the last few weeks it’s certainly felt as though autumn is approaching. The temperatures have been dropping and the leaves have been turning. But on Sunday I woke to a clear, bright blue sky and it felt as though summer was making one last go of it. A warm sunny day is always an imperative to get out on my bike and that was exactly what I did. Continue readingColwick Country Park