“Go for a walk.” How often have we heard it said that communicating with nature is good for your health and wellbeing?
I have always gone for walks in woods, beside lochs, along beaches, up hills, and occasionally around golf courses. But don’t get excited I have never taken a club and ball with me.
However, being in touch with nature does not always have the desired effect you may be after. Take this morning’s early dander around the loch for example.
I savoured the scent of wet leaves, earth, and pine needles as they assaulted my nostrils. Moist air hit and mixed with the lingering smell of recently fallen rain. Sunlight filtered through the trees. It was magical.
I meandered up the path with man’s best friend trotting along beside me. No a care in the world as I breathed deeply and felt any tension seeping away like the puddles on the ground.
Then all of a sudden I realised the ground was moving under my feet. Perhaps it was just a stray raindrop fallen from above. We carried on forwards me berating my imagination that has a habit of wandering off on its own.
No, my brain interrupted, the ground was indeed moving. Was it flies soaked by the rain, now struggling along? I peered down, and the leaves jumped. I looked more closely. I was now halfway around the lock. It is warm, wet, and fuggy.
The baby frogs were out. Covering the wee path that surrounds the loch. Maybe coming out early wasn’t such a clever thing to do. I couldn’t go back, Oh God how many baby frogs had I already trodden on before I realised they were there, yuck.
Like the wee amphibians than encircled us, I had resorted to hopping and jumping. Only in my case from tree root to stone in an attempt to avoid grounding any of the babies into the earth.
Bosie the Dandie, unfortunately, had no such qualms she trotted over the babies as if they weren’t there. Only stopping occasionally to sniff any of them who hopped up in front of her.
What were they doing? I was hoping if I could keep to one side of the path most of the frogs would be on the other. Surely they would be either coming or going to the loch. All I had to work out was which way they were heading.
It wasn’t that simple of course it wouldn’t be, I was dealing with nature which let us be truthful, tends to take you unawares. Half the frogs appeared to be going towards the loch but others were jumping away from it.
After an exhausting hop, jump, stare, hop, jump, stare balancing act around the rest of the way, we finally made it back to the main path. It wasn’t much better but at least it was wider and further from the water. I have no idea how many poor wee souls I may have unwittingly crushed underfoot. I’m hoping none at all. I certainly didn’t feel anything beneath my feet.
Was my well-being improved from my brush with nature? Well, I suppose that depends on how I look at it. I could be a mass murderer of baby frogs or I could consider it a wondrous thing to see so many tiny creatures heading off on their journey through life and feel privileged to have been there to see them all.
I’m not vouching for Bosie though. I never saw any attempt on her part to avoid them.