Campus Nature Walk

Follow our guidance for finding spots around campus where you can reflect and take time to focus on your wellbeing.

Stones and pebbles in Laurie Green.

Notice the small pile of stones in the middle of the grass.

Choose a stone and hold it for a while.

Notice its shape and any unusual edges. Notice the texture, the rough and the smooth, both its beauty and imperfections.

Aware of the weight of the stone, what worries/anxieties are you carrying and/or feel burdened by? Is there anything which you would like to let go of.

Place the stone with the others and be at peace.

Poem for reflection

Let go of your worries
and be completely clear-hearted,
like the face of a mirror
that contains no images.

If you want a clear mirror,
behold yourself
and see the shameless truth,
which the mirror reflects.

If metal can be polished
to a mirror-like finish,
what polishing might the mirror
of the heart require?

Between the mirror and the heart
is this single difference:
the heart conceals secrets,
while the mirror does not.

Poem by: Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

Move along to the Anthropology garden, to the left of the Richard Hoggart Building.

Stumbling into something lovely (Anthropology Garden).

Find somewhere to sit comfortably and notice the surroundings.

You may like to explore the garden through the different seasons of the year,

If the sun shines today, notice the warmth on your skin, filling your heart and soul (or gentle rain if that is the case).

What do you notice about the garden flowers and leaves? As Autumn approaches, colours and textures change in nature. Nature isn’t static but exists through a cycle of change. This may be a time of change for you too. What do you notice about your own hopes and fears, at the beginning of a new academic year?

In Winter, you might not feel like sitting still outside. But perhaps you have wrapped up warm and brought along a hot drink. When the days are shorter, take time to make the most of daylight, or if it is already evening, where do you notice the light in the dark?

At this time of year Spring is flourishing, signs of new life surround us. What do you have in abundance and what would you like to express gratitude for?

The following poem by William Henry Davies may help you to enjoy all you notice in the garden.

Poem for reflection

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

Walk now to the front of the Richard Hoggart Building.

Rooted under a tree.

Outside the main entrance of the Richard Hoggart Building - take a seat on one of the curved benches near the trees.

Rest under the tree; a place of shelter and protection. What do you notice about the trunk and branches, each unique leaf? There are both old trees which have stood the test of time with roots running deep into the soil and new saplings full of life and hope. Are leaves being tossed about in the wind, dancing together in unison? What wisdom roots you on this earth? What new hopes are growing within you?

Two reflections from Richard Carter from his recent book; ‘The City is my Monastery:’ Canterbury Press 2019

"I look at the trees, their shape, their grandeur

The way they slowly follow the rhythm of the year

Their rooted trunks unmoving

They will be here long after I am gone."

 

"Me sitting here, lying here, standing here, walking here

Me, small, ordinary, one among millions

Frail, mortal, uncertain..." 

Move to the back of RHB to find the College Green.

Sitting on the Green.

Find a space to sit and look up at the sky

Take some time to sit on the Green. It is a vast space to look up at the sky and ponder new horizons. Change can be difficult or exciting. Are you in a time of transition? Notice the endings and new beginnings. What/who is a constant/faithful presence for you?

Poems for reflection

When the clouds open - Richard Carter

There are moments when the clouds open

And the inner and outer become one

And I am here and now and breathing deep

And still

Then the God (or higher being) beyond me is within me

And within me is beyond me

As close as my breath of life

And yet greater than the wind

This going up, this coming down

This breathing in

This breathing out

This God (higher being)

 

Notice the clouds of fear and anxiety which still come and go

Sometimes they fill you with the darkness of the storms they carry

But do not hold on to them

Rather let them flow through you

In this place of mercy, you are not the cloud

You are the sky

The cloud comes, the cloud goes

But you stay

Your heart, unconfined – as broad, as deep, as high, as eternal love for you

Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,

their senses
eroded beyond fear.


When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.