Soothing our spirits in a pandemic is a huge challenge as the Covid-19 rollercoaster lurches onward.

We are in the final quarter of 2020 and autumn heralds acute anxiety for many. Less light and lower temperatures are winter’s frozen way.

Yet there is comfort in the steady turn of nature’s wheel.

Autumn’s rusting flag show is the great celebration of growth through the year. Leaves and seeds emerged from buds and pods to flourish and ripen in sunshine. Now they fall away, dropping to the forest floor where they will nourish the deep dark earth through the dreaming time of winter, so that the growth cycle may begin again.

In hibernation we retreat also, and for many this is a time of self care and connection to our deepest selves. Spring will surely come and invite us to resurface, into the light. This is how our ancestors understood the world.

Treading the path from autumn and winter, in the company of Covid-19, will cause many to feel the dark hibernation experience more acutely this year. We are social creatures experiencing trauma, this global pandemic presses heavy upon other challenges in our lives.

Finding meaning in the everyday offers hope, builds and strengthens our resilience. Nobel prize winner Seamus Heaney turned to nature and places of ritual.

The Irish writer felt deeply his connection with the land, the seasons and community. His words were quoted widely at the time of the 1988 Good Friday Agreement, a milestone in the peace process between the UK Government, the Irish Government and Northern Ireland political parties.

“Believe that a farther shore

Is reachable from here.

Believe in miracles

And cures and healing wells.”

These images are of a healing well I visited in May, when the surge of spring growth created a great emerald canopy in a hideaway almost forgotten.

Yet through centuries, the freshwater source provided an opportunity for people to wash themselves, their clothing, linen and blankets. Here they celebrated the spring clean that followed deep winter.

These wild places offer beautiful energy.

Seamus Heaney reminds us that to reach any farther shore, there is magic in nature to support us too.

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