On the Wellbeing in Nature walk this Wednesday (4.3.15), at the beginning of the session, we were doing our usual mindfulness circle in the woods. A cold breeze was blowing through the bare trees from the north west. I was standing with my eyes open to lead the mindfulness activity and resting my eyes on a new nettle shoot. In the bright light I noticed a movement from the corner of my eye. I quickly moved my eyes to see a weasel coming out of a rabbit hole about 5-6 metres away. It stood up like a meerkat and looked around before disappearing down the hole again. In the time it was gone I was able to whisper to the group to look at the same spot. The weasel then reappeared from another hole and did the same thing – look around for about 10 seconds and disappear. I’m sure it didn’t see or smell us before disappearing for the last time, it looked so relaxed. The reason we saw it was because we were standing absolutely still in silence (plus the wind was in the right direction). It is near impossible to set out with a group of people to see a weasel! Weasels are illusive intelligent small creatures that avoid humans. You could say it was luck and luck did play a part. We were also in the right place and alert.
Once you go out into a wild area, with no expectations, and become still, nature comes to you. The real beauty of the experience is that we didn’t go looking; the weasel event unfolded in front of us and then went.
The group had a similar, even more spectacular, experience last year by the river Rom. And the reason we saw what we saw was because, just like today, we were all stilled in mindfulness meditation. The group of about eight of us stood in a circle on a gravel beach by the river (the photo shows a similar day). At one point someone in the group quietly called my name and looked to the other bank of the Rom. Once I saw what he had seen I instructed the group to slowly turn round and face the river. We saw a fox cub exploring the waterside only 10 metres away. I encouraged the group to continue with the mindfulness as they watched. I don’t know how long we stood and watched, it seemed like ages. Maybe 7 minutes. The fox cub was totally unaware of us and was living its life before us. The members who are still in the group continue to refer to ‘the day we saw the fox cub’. It was magical and everyday at once.
Who knows what we will see next time? It doesn’t matter because the intention is to be mindful in nature whatever the situation.