Taking time to unplug

A photo of Hatfield Forest
Hatfield Forest

We headed down to Hatfield Forest today. There’s something magical about being surrounded by trees. Cambridgeshire is the least wooded county in the country and while I’ve learned to love the flat, vast spaces of the Fens, I do like ambling through woodland.

I love the quiet of course. The stillness. The opportunity to switch off from the outside world. There’s something about trees which makes being around them feel good for your soul. Perhaps its the knowledge that they preceded?us and will still be there long after we are gone.

I grew up on stories based in woodlands, from The House At Pooh Corner to the Wind In The Willows. There were tales of witches, magical creatures, stories of outlaws and lots of adventures. Narnia, The Box Of Delights and The Hobbit all bring the magic of the woods to life.

My Dad gave my?4-year-old a copy of Robert?MacFarlane’s The Lost Words for Christmas. It’s beautifully illustrated by Jackie Morris. It conjures memories of school days picking dandelions, walking by hedgerows and seeing birds I have not spotted for a long time now. The introduction is startling: “Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – until one day, they were gone.”

Many of the words in the book, I’m pleased to say my children do know. They are particularly fond of otters at the moment, have collected conkers, know about ferns because they were eaten by diplodocus, and are interested in birds. Today they came across catkins for the first time.

Words matter. They shape the world around us. When Mark Zuckerberg announced the changes to Facebook’s news feed algorithm on Friday, he said they were responding to research that “passively reading articles or watching videos” may not be good for our health and wellbeing. We’re consuming content at a phenomenal rate but it’s not benefiting us. It’s becoming increasingly important to find time to unplug and get outside and remember who we are and what really matters.

Picture of Rachel Extance

Rachel Extance

Award-winning journalist and blogger. I help service-based business owners communicate who they are, what they do, and why. If you struggle to talk about yourself on your website or your content marketing, get in touch with me.

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