Exactly a year ago today, I started what I thought was going to be a month-long journey.
For several years, I had enjoyed taking part in the Wildlife Trust’s #30DaysWild initiative in June. And last year, I decided I would mark it by writing a nature poem every day for a month.
I enjoyed it so much, I decided to carry on, with the slightly ambitious target of writing a poem for every day of the year.
I wasn’t quite sure how I’d fare – especially during Winter. But the seasons kept shifting and nature kept inspiring and the poems kept coming, and coming, and coming…
Until yesterday, when I published the 366th one!
I made it!
It was really fun to celebrate this milestone with some nature themed treats, and to marvel at just how much small things can add up to when you keep doing them.
But this experience has been so much more than a goal worked for, or an achievement reached, usually feels like.
I’ve had to be on the lookout for seven ideas a week, so I’ve been engaged in foraging for ideas almost every time I’ve been outside for the last 365 days.
It’s been a kind of immersive writing experience, different to anything else I’ve done. I’ve had to wait – and search – for every new concept at nature’s own unpredictable and unfolding pace, rather than being able to control them on my own agenda from my desk.
This has been healing and fitting in a year of personal recovery from serious illness, and in the global context of lockdown, where so many of us have found comfort in an increased rootedness to our local spaces and wildlife.
Writing these poems has been brilliant for me, and it’s been a huge – and joyful – part of life in our household these last twelve months; a frequent and fantastically varied source of conversation, discovery, wonder and laughter; a shared journey of quest and reward. It’s not just me that’s going to miss it…
It’s taught me so much more about the wildlife around me, as I’ve followed my curiosity to ask those around me who know more lots of questions, check finickity details or research peculiar queries I’ve suddenly needed to answer…. queries like exactly how long exactly does a mayfly live for? And where do daffodils really come from?*
I’m sure I’ll write more nature poems, including a few extra as I edit this collection, and potentially replace a few that I’m less keen on… but I don’t know if I’ll ever get to have quite this same type of writing experience again.
So there’s a poignancy to finishing, however exciting it is to be reaching the editing, illustrating and querying stage, in the hope of publishing the collection as a yearbook of poetry.
Thanks for being on the journey with me, especially those of you who have encouraged me with your feedback and shared your enjoyment of the process and the poems. I’ll make sure to keep you posted as and when I have more news about Wild Word Sketches‘ next steps.
God bless, and keep enjoying all the gifts creation has to offer us – I’m off to think what on earth I should do this June to celebrate #30DaysWild!
*Despite myths about a mayfly living for a day, the truth is a bit more complicated. A female mayfly often lives for only five minutes – in which she is mostly reproducing(!) – but a male can live anything up to two days. Daffodils, much more simply, originated in Spain and Portugal.