Nature can have a huge effect on our mental health; being outside, ‘forest-bathing’, bird-watching can all help soothe troubled minds and Emma Mitchell knows first hand how this can help. By taking the reader on a year of exploration and discovery, Mitchell shows how she has used nature as a way to battle her long-term depression and how something as small as a feather or spotting cow parsley can bring solace to a brain that can feel stormy and unpredictable.
Through beautiful photography and illustrations, I felt a new appreciation for the changing of the seasons and the small things that can lift darker days. It is something I have learnt in the last year through developing a passion for my garden and through the sometimes seemingly slog-like trips to check on the sheep in the autumn. It was wonderful to see this in prose, to see that someone else understood this and that it wasn’t something I had dreamt up. I understood the sense of calm and awe watching a murmuration of starlings can brings; I get the contentment that comes from watching a bumblebee make her way methodically round a borage patch. These things all have the ability to flick a switch- even momentarily- in a brain crowded with dark, depressing thoughts.
I suffer from anxiety; it is particularly bad at this time of year. I had pre-ordered this book from Big Green Bookshop knowing this and I am so pleased that I did. I can also recommend Mitchell’s previous book, Making Winter, as another book worth checking out if you find this time of year hard, as well as following her on social media (honestly, it’s one of the most soothing social media presences on the entire internet.) This is a book that I will return to, especially in those dark days of January, and also one that I will no doubt buy by the armful for friends who feel the same.
FORMAT: Signed, hardback book, bought online from Big Green Bookshop