Seek some comfort in nature during social distancing.

With the world in turmoil over Coronavirus, we are finding ourselves in a strange atmosphere of panic and confusion. I, myself have undertaken the appropriate measures of social distancing and only going out to public places if essential. In stressful times, I always turn to the solace of nature and I am very lucky that I am surrounded by nature in my home in Northern Ireland.

I am happy enough to be in self-isolation when I can look out my windows and see green grass, tall trees, lovely lambs and birds flying high. Spring has well and truly sprung here so it is very difficult to stay indoors at the minute. I am happier when I am outdoors, breathing fresh air and feeling the sun on my face. So I say, if you are careful and mindful enough of the dangers, then head outside to clear the head of all this worry and stress. I got some bad news that my Summer field work had been cancelled because of Coronavirus, this was extremely disappointing for me as I was excited for not only the job, but to get back to visit more of Canada. My brain has been a bit muddled with everything, so I decided to head to the beach today for a walk to clear my thoughts. Expecting an empty beach I was very surprised to see lots of families out playing on the shoreline. I walked along the beach, soaking up the view of the perfectly still lough and listening to the birds, slowly letting my worries slip away. It definitely worked and it made me realize how much I take for granted. My favorite place in the world is the promenade in Warrenpoint which looks out onto Carlingford Lough. It’s where I catch up with my friends, go for late night runs, watched fireworks as a child, photograph constantly and it was sometimes my cheeky underage drinking spot. It is my ultimate calm place where I listen to the water, wildlife and people, three different worlds existing together. I would hate to not be allowed to visit this place to find some calm during this storm.

I have seen reports of how the environment is benefiting from the lock-down in both China and Italy and this makes me smile. Talk about a silver lining. With various industries and transport systems halted there is dramatically less pollution. With less disruption from shipping in and around Italy, many marine species are travelling closer to the coastlines and even into the canals of Venice. This is amazing that such a short period of time could make such a drastic change to the marine ecosystems. I hope my local area achieves some of these benefits but mostly I hope that my locals learn to really appreciate what we have, to enjoy the little things. We have been blessed to live in a beautiful and fortunate little portion of the world and it is nice to press pause on our lives to take the time to take it all in.

In a funny way, the world has never seemed smaller, with this virus reaching every corner of the earth it highlights how we can just be a handshake or sneeze away from each other.

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