What times we are all living in…

Written on 06.08.2020

My last trip outdoors with my camera was to Bourne Woods

We all know what has been happening since March 2020. An unprecedented change to our livelihoods and scenes no one has witnessed in our lifetime. And as this global pandemic still continues its grip on everyone and everything, it is hard to keep out head above water and adjust to our new way of living. One of the good outcomes out of this, that almost all of us can appreciate, is how nature has a profound impact on our physical and mental wellbeing.

I am a worrier at heart, expecting the worst in situations similar to this and never looking past it. As I was driving home from work during the middle of March, just before the UK announced the lockdown, thoughts were running through my mind as to what will happen to myself and those dear to me. As I drove into the entrance to my village, a roe deer ran out and banged the driver side of the car. I stopped and became overwhelmed with emotions, other thoughts vanishing from my head. Luckily there were other cars around me where about three of them stopped to slow down oncoming traffic, with one couple offering me some comfort as the deer rolled its head and tried to get up. It was an upsetting time and I was only thinking about the deer in the road, not even considering whether my car suffered any damage (which in this case, nothing severe). After calming myself down, I wanted to see the deer myself to see if anything could be done to help the animal. But as I began to walk back towards the incident, another driver came over to tell me that the deer got back on its feet, with no signs of limping or blood on its body, and bounded to the other side of the road into the next field. I was relieved that the deer didn’t suffer any injury, and looking back on it now I see it as a sign from nature; to change my ways of thinking as we entered this world of uncertain times.

Since that evening, the way I reacted to the pandemic was quite surprising. I continued to go to work with reduced hours, so I still had a routine of sorts continuing throughout lockdown. I enjoyed not taking on too many commitments to events I would dread going to or only doing things to please other people. I began to paint and draw more again (which is where my artistic side had always derived from) and despite not going out as often with my camera during the first few months, I relived some of my moments from last year through reposting through my social media. I then had the idea of a project that I could spend my free time on, and provide focus for me since I couldn’t travel anywhere outside of my village. That was when Lens from the Fens was born! I got in contact with multiple podcasting groups to ask what I should be researching and whether my show would be original, and I then had a delightful Skype chat with podcaster Suzy Buttress of The Casual Birder Podcast. As we both shared a strong love for nature, we spoke fondly of what nature had done for us both since lockdown, and how having a podcast allowed Suzy us to share her thoughts and stories with listeners who shared the same passion and love for nature close to home. I took her advice and she provided insights into what the beginning might be like, what to consider when hosting my own podcast, and how it can grow over time. I was, and still am, excited about taking a new route to sharing my passion for wildlife photography, along with the history of the Fenlands where I was born and raised. The number of listeners is growing steadily, but I pleased to have found a new way of presenting myself and my work through audio listening, and the amount of topics and discussions have been continuing to grow!

Of course, not all of us have seen positive outcomes during this time; those who have lost loved ones, losing their jobs and survivors of Covid-19 who continue to suffer from the effects of the virus. Not forgetting the amazing work of our essential workers up and down the country. But one thing that has benefitted all of us, is that nature has and will continue its circle of life. We have seen amazing scenes from tourist-populated locations where wildlife has returned. Fish and birds have returned to the canals of Venice and urban spaces have seen an influx of animals grazing and walking through their towns and cities, where humans would have been travelling through on a daily basis before lockdown. Our lives have changed in one way or another, but the birds will still migrate, the butterflies and bees with still feed off the flowers, and people will be ever more certain that we need nature to stay, now more than ever.

My favourite image of a jay so far, taken at the same location just before lockdown!

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