On the healing power of nature / Du pouvoir apaisant de la nature

girl-footpath-Tibetan-prayer-flags

Reconnecting with nature is like resetting your brain.

The acorns and I experienced first-hand the healing power of nature, on our latest visit to Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens, Co Wicklow. 

Read this / A lire  Kilmacurragh in bloom / Kilmacurragh en fleurs

This week has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for the acorns. Well, for three of them at least. And me.

On Wednesday, Pebbles had to say goodbye to his best friend O.

As O came out of the Nature Kindergarten for the last time (due to a family holiday), we found out that, come September, he won’t be going to the same school as Pebbles after all. Worse still, he may not be going to school in Ireland at all, as his family may be moving abroad.

Forest friends

They found each other in their early days together “in their forest”, as they call it, when both still struggled with their English (O is bilingual too) – how that’s changed!

Over the course of 20 months, they have become inseparable, spending countless hours experimenting with water, building elaborate structures and playing, simply playing in nature together. They may be only 5, but make no mistake, their friendship is the real deal.

For the first couple of days without his playmate, Pebbles was a little bit lost in the forest. This might not be a permanent separation, but there is little doubt that my little man is in mourning. His big blue eyes well up with tears every time he remembers that he may not see his best friend ever again.

It is heartbreaking to watch him try to grasp and anticipate the situation. Worse still, there is nothing I can do to help him.  

Read this / A lire  Joint birthday party at the Forest Club / Double anniversaire au Forest Club

Talent show

Meanwhile, Squirrel was looking forward to entering the school’s talent contest with an explosive science experiment – a Coke and Mentos eruption, if you ask!

Because of a lack of preparation and confusing directions from his teacher, he was unable to take part. Today he came out of school bitterly disappointed, only drying his tears when I suggested we carry out the experiment later in our own back garden.

An hour later, and it was Mermaid who burst into tears when I asked how she got on in the talent show. With good reason, she hoped her Irish dancing act would take her to the school finals, in a week’s time. But an unfair voting system meant she didn’t get anywhere near the top scores within her class.

How her heart must have sunk on hearing the tally of votes! Yet she kept a brave face until she could let it all out in the safety of our home.

In my arms she found validation. In nature a while later, she found solace. We all did. Enchanting Kilmacurragh often has that effect.

The healing power of nature

The serenity of Kilmacurragh washed over us like a soft breeze.
Maybe the Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the wind carried away some of our worries.

The acorns didn’t bemoan the fact that it was just me and them.
Maybe they needed that intimacy to find their inner peace again.

They happily walked and played their way around the gardens.
Maybe they have learnt something about the healing power of nature.

Se reconnecter à la nature permet de réinitialiser le cerveau.

C’est exactement ce qui nous est arrivé lors de notre dernière visite  au jardin botanique de Kilmacurragh, Co Wicklow. 

La semaine a été bouleversante pour les graines de chêne. Pour trois d’entre elles. Et moi.

Mercredi, Caillou a dit au revoir à son meilleur ami O.

Comme O sortait du Nature Kindergarten pour la dernière fois (pour cause de vacances en famille), nous avons appris qu’en fin de compte, il n’ira pas à la même école que Caillou en septembre. Plus grave encore, il risque de ne pas du tout aller à l’école en Irlande, car sa famille va peut-être quitter le pays.

Ils se sont trouvés dès les premiers jours “dans leur forêt”, comme ils appellent le Nature Kindergarten, quand leur anglais était encore difficile (tous deux sont bilingues). Comme les choses ont changé depuis ! 

Inséparables

Ces vingt derniers mois, ils ont passé un nombre incalculable d’heures à expérimenter avec l’eau et à construire des structures élaborées et à jouer, tout simplement jouer, en pleine nature. Certes, ils n’ont que 5 ans, mais leur amitié n’a rien de superficiel.

Depuis le départ de son meilleur ami, Caillou est comme perdu dans la forêt pourtant si familière. Cette séparation ne sera peut-être pas définitive, mais le chagrin de mon petit homme ne fait aucun doute. Ses grands yeux bleus se remplissent de larmes à la seule pensée de ne plus jamais revoir son meilleur ami.

Et j’ai mal pour lui de le voir essayer de comprendre ce qui se passe, et de ne rien pouvoir faire pour l’aider. 

Concours de talent

Cependant, Ecureuil était tout excité à l’idée de présenter une expérience scientique pour le concours de talent de l’école : une éruption de cola et Mentos, si vous voulez tout savoir.

Seulement, par manque de préparation et de clarté de la part de son enseignant, il n’a pas pu faire son numéro. Aujourd’hui, il est sorti de l’école profondément déçu et ne sécha ses larmes qu’à l’idée de tenter cette expérience ce weekend dans notre jardin.

Une heure plus tard, c’est Sirène qui a fondu en larmes à la sortie de l’école, quand j’ai innocemment demandé comment s’était passé le concours de talent. Elle avait bon espoir que son numéro de danse irlandaise lui permette de disputer la finale dans une semaine. Mais à cause d’un système de vote injuste, elle n’a pas obtenu assez de voix dans sa classe.

Comme elle a dû être déçue à voir si peu de mains se lever en sa faveur ! Pourtant, elle a courageusement ravalé ses larmes jusqu’à ce qu’elle puisse tout me raconter une fois arrivée à la maison.

Dans les bras, elle a trouvé réconfort et validation. Dans la nature un moment plus tard, elle a trouvé consolation.

Le jardin enchanteur de Kilmacurragh fait souvent cet effet.

Le pouvoir apaisant de la nature

La sérénité de Kilmacurragh nous en enveloppés comme une douce brise.
Peut-être les drapeaux de prière tibétains ont-ils emporté quelques-uns de nos soucis.

Les graines de chêne n’ont pas  l’absence de leurs amis.
Peut-être avaient-ils besoin de cette intimité pour retrouver le calme.

A marcher et à jouer, ils parcoururent les jardins à pas lents.
Peut-être ont-ils découvert ainsi le pouvoir apaisant de la nature.

yew-trees-child-running-monks-walk pond-bridge-two-children-lush-summer tibetan-prayer-flags-multicoloured-tree two-boys-ditch-oak-tree When all you need is a stick and your favourite play buddies for a whole new world to come to life /Quand un bâton et tes compagnons de jeu préférés suffisent à créer de toutes pièces un monde nouveau... oak-leaves-in-her-hair tibetan-prayer-flags-bunting-footpath herbaceous-borders-lupine-flowers

Visitor information

Kilmacurragh logoNational Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh
Kilbride
Co. Wicklow
Tel. +353 404 48844
Email botanicgardens@opw.ie
Open all year round 9am-6pm (mid-February-27th October), 9am-4.30pm (late October-mid-February); closed on Christmas Day.
Admission free. Suitable for pushchairs. Dogs allowed on a lead only.
Free guided tours at 12pm and 3pm every Sunday in March and twice daily from April until mid-October. Booking recommended.
Remarkable trees and rhododendrons at Kilmacurragh – free guided walk every day at 3pm throughout April. Booking recommended.

Acton Café
Open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm

Getting there

Travelling southbound on the M11 (Wexford), take Exit 18 for Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens. Following the brown signs with a white flower, go through two roundabouts to reach the L1113. Follow this road for 5km to the entrance of the gardens, on the left-hand side.
Travelling northbound on the M11 (Dublin), take Exit 18 for Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens. At the roundabout, take the first exit to the L1113. Follow this road for 5km to the entrance of the gardens, on the left-hand side.


Infos pratiques

Kilmacurragh logoNational Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh
Kilbride
Co. Wicklow
Tel. +353 404 48844
Email botanicgardens@opw.ie
Ouvert toute l’année 9h-18h (mi-février au 27 octobre), 9h-16h30 (fin octobre à mi-février) ; fermé le jour de Noël.
Entrée libre. Accessible aux poussettes. Chiens en laisse autorisés.
Visites guidées gratuites à midi et 15h tous les dimanches de mars puis tous les jours d’avril à octobre. Réservation recommandée.
Remarkable trees and rhododendrons at Kilmacurragh – promenade guidée gratuite tous les jours à 15h en avril. Réservation recommandée.

Acton Café
Ouvert lundi-vendredi 9h-17h ; samedi-dimanche 10h-17h.

S’y rendre

Circulant en direction du sud sur la M11 (Wexford), prenez la sortie 18 pour Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens. Suivant les panneaux marrons marqués d’une fleur blanche, traversez deux ronds-points pour emprunter la route L1113. Continuez pendant 5 km jusqu’à l’entrée de l’arboretum sur la gauche.

Circulant en direction du nord (Dublin) sur la M11, prenez la sortie 18 pour Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens. Au rond-point, prenez la première sortie pour la route L1113. Continuez pendant 5 km jusqu’à l’entrée de l’arboretum sur la gauche.

Spectrum Mum

 

Country Kids   

 

16 Responses to “On the healing power of nature / Du pouvoir apaisant de la nature

  • Stunning photos as always I particularly like the one where they are all looking up under the canopy. I am sorry to hear it has been an emotional week. Working in an international school I know how hard it can be for kids to say goodbye. I hope they continue to find solace in nature. Thank you for linking up to #pointshoot

    • Thank you for your kind words, Catie. Thankfully this week has been better so far… although Pebbles has his “graduation” tomorrow from his nature kindergarten, so more tears on the way I’m sure.
      Thank you for hosting #PointShoot

  • I have to admit I am almost in tears reading this Annette. I totally understand that feeling of physically feeling your child’s emotional pain but feeling so helpless. However, being near them, bringing them to such a beautiful location, you aided their healing, nourishment and restoration – a wonderful gift from a Mum. Looks like a gorgeous place to wander and play and just be.

    • Feeling so helpless is probably the worst part. As a mum you just want to protect them, don’t you?
      Kilmacurragh is indeed a gorgeous place, not so much a hidden gem anymore, but still so beautiful and calming. We’ll take you there next week if you want 😉

      • It’s the lioness instinct! We would love to visit Kilmacurragh if you’re happy to go again? My boys are very excited to meet up again with ‘them really cool ones with the knives’ LOL.

        • I’m always happy to go to Kilmacurragh, and I want to go back and buy honey from the honesty stand 😉
          Knives may well have to stay at home, or in the car at least – but we’ll take them to go and play in the woods!

  • Ah, in the arms of Mummy and Mother Nature; perfect healing for young hearts. Giant Gunnera and oak leaves in the hair sum up all that your post is about. I feel for little Pebbles, we move every couple of years and the wrench for little ones with their intense relationships and emotions is surprising at such a young age. And school disappointments are tough too. Well done, Mummy Oak, you got them out to heal their bruises with nature. Hugs across the sea to you all xx

    • Thank you so so much Lucy for your lovely words. It means so much. In a way, the disappointments in school were a valuable lesson in resilience for Mermaid, and an opportunity for connection. But the pain of separation for Pebbles is in a different league, and there is little I can do about it. We’ll get through this though, I’m sure. And I like being called Mummy Oak – it’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? 😉 xx

  • Mary Macken
    5 months ago

    Enthralling, as ever. Lovely, threading well-crafted words with the most wonderful, evocative photographs. You capture the great beauty of our country, in its nature, so well. I first discovered your writing in a lovely piece you wrote on a visit to St John’s Point Lighthouse, Dunkineely, in gorgeous Donegal. I later stayed at this same glorious Lighthouse. A magical experience. Keep up the good work. Veuillez agree mes meilleurs sentiments

    • Dear Mary,
      Than you so much for this lovely comment, I am deeply touched. I am so happy that you enjoy so much my writing and photography, it means so much when my posts resonate with readers like you.
      St. John’s Point Lighthouse is truly magical, isn’t it?
      Au plaisir de vous rencontrer un jour…

  • Gorgeous photos! Especially love all of the kinder under the leaves! Wow! #pointshoot xoxo

  • oh I love your blog – beautiful photos.
    Sorry to hear your little boys friend may be moving away – but with the wonderful internet no doubt you can somehow stay in touch.

  • Just having a re-read via #CountryKids as well!! Hope Friday wasn’t too emotional.. xx

  • Oh the the poor acorns they all seemed to have been unlucky with something this week. Now the title to your post makes so much sense. Nature is indeed a great healer, especially when combined with a loving family. This really is like magic juice! Beautiful photos form a nature filled family day.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  • Sounds like a hard week for them all. Pebble losing his friend is hard enough but for Squirrel to work so hard and give it her all to not get through is very hard, often feel these things at school can be demoralising for them.
    The photos of them show how much fun they had and looks like a great time was had by all. I love them under the tall leaves, gosh they must be very tall.

  • Oh I totally understand this. My son and his best friend met when he was 2 and half and they’ve been together ever since. when they went into year one the teachers decided to put them into different classes and it was heartbreaking for all of us involved. Thankfully since year two they’ve been back together. I can only imagine what it must be like to lose that friend totally xx #CountryKids

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