The Wildness Tonic

We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

There are two places in the UK that I visit the most, because mine and Gav's families live there; North Devon and Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Both places have a wildness about them, especially when you travel as we do and go during the Winter months when everything is quiet and cold. In Devon, it's the moors that are wild. Vast, bleak places, and always with unpredictable changes in the weather. In Berwick, it's the Northumberland coast line. Wild waves, a razor sharp wind from the sea, hail, snow and freezing rain. You admire the beauty of nature in each, but you are all too aware of its power. It takes you back to what is primal, and makes your thoughts feel small.

When the city gets too much, we head to the moors or to the sea. I've never yet found any ailment of my soul that nature can't cure. The wilder the weather, the stronger the tonic. It's no coincidence that an escape to the outdoors comes hand in hand with a burst of inspiration and creativity.  Just as my feet and lungs run free, so does my mind. 

Looking out to the North Sea on Cocklawburn beach, there's nothing but water between me and Denmark. And boy, does it feel like it. The sand is covered in pieces of human-sized driftwood, and I know if those waves got me that I wouldn't stand a chance. I can't do much but marvel at it, and breathe with the ebb and flow. I am at peace, when the sea is wild.

The cold and the wind and the creeping tide all command me to stay present. Grounded to the rocks and the wet sand, I feel connected to the earth in a way that calms me more than anything else. I'm standing on the edge of the earth, my tiredness and worries start to fall away from me.

Since having Rory, it's been hard to shake this persistant tiredness. Sleepness nights, demanding days and little respite from either of those things keeps me at a base level of exhaustion. Sometimes when we go away, and it's cold and our baby isn't sleeping, it's so tempting to stay inside. Spend a week on the sofa with hot tea and a book, and give in to the urge to nap everytime your in-laws want to babysit. But I make myself go outside, even when I don't really want to. Because I know half an hour in the wind and the rain makes me feel more well rested than a day spent on the sofa. It's an energising sort of rest, because the weather just gets in between your bones and clears out all the dust. 

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I take only a small suitcase of my things with me for a week away; a pair of trousers, a few t-shirts, a jumper, a jacket, a favourite hat and some underwear. Because I know now, at this phase in my life, that it's less of things and not more that I need. It's space that I yearn for, in everything from my environment to my luggage, because it's in those spaces that restoration dwells.

It used to be that I'd take everything I could with me; books, knitting, yoga mat, clothes for all weather conditions. I'd wonder why the inspiration and the rest didn't come. But I've learnt that when you travel, you have to go with nothing and create space for your thoughts. Not take a bag of tricks should you find yourself with nothing to do, because having nothing to do is exactly what you're aiming for. 

If you follow me on instagram, you might have seen that I created a new hashtag #thewildnesstonic for sharing images of finding energy and inspiration in nature. I'd love for you to join me in sharing yours too. Browsing the tag has become a tonic of its own, and I have already discovered some beautiful new accounts and made notes of new places to visit. 

I've had a few comments on instagram about my hat, it's the Place Knit Beanie from Weekday but this colour has since sold out in the sale. They're a new-to-me brand I found while researching ethical clothing companies, Scandinavian inspired and well worth checking out.