Living the quiet life

Living the quiet life

Catkins by David Corns

Lucy takes life in the quiet lane...

I have recently read James Rebanks’ wonderful book, English Pastoral. Living on a farm, much of it really resonated with me and I also found it interesting to read about how changes in farming over the years have affected the land and our wildlife.

What particularly struck me was a passage where he writes about getting to know a piece of land, over decades:

‘I have worked here my whole life, but I am only beginning to truly know this piece of land. I stumble across a field at a different time of day, or in different light, and feel as if I have never seen it before – not the way it is now. The more I learn about it, the more beautiful our farm and valley becomes.’

Catkins dangling from a tree (yellowish with pink) by David Corns

Alder catkins by David Corns

This seemed so relevant to me a year on from when I started my walks across our local patch of fields. We moved with the land from winter to spring, saw the barley grow and be harvested and watched the Canada geese have families who we then saw grow up.

It may have been hard to be forced to stay home for what is almost a year but I feel so privileged to have seen the land in ‘constant motion’. Rebanks describes how he feels like he is part of the land and that the boundaries begin to blur between them and they are able to live quietly with each other.

Snowdrop with white flower fully open and dangling bell-like by David Corns

Snowdrop by David Corns

The last year has been quiet but that is not a criticism. Sometimes it is beneficial to be quiet and to observe; then you are rewarded with the small changes that you may have missed otherwise. At the weekend I saw how the alder catkins have formed and the snowdrops are popping up. The land is moving on quietly and we are too.


Lucy is a Worcestershire-based freelance writer who loves getting out into nature and is interested in the how the wild world can benefit our wellbeing.