A lot of pagans seem to think that the only way of connecting with nature is to go out into the country.

This isn’t true : you don’t need the country to connect with nature. You can connect with the trees in the city centre, watch the starlings as they flock in the dusk over the buildings or go to a local park to see the flowers.

Nature is all around us, it’s not just found in the country.

Learning from Nature, not Books

Recently someone has posted on Facebook, “you can learn more from nature than you ever can in a book”.

This claim is made by people who don’t want to bother with learning books, studying or putting the hard work in. They just want to wander outside for an hour or so a week and say “they’re learning from nature”.

There are some books that I have only learnt one or two things from and I would say that you can learn more from nature than reading them, but those are bad books. A good book, like J.A. MacCulloch’s Celtic Religion (available free on Sacred Texts website) has, in a few hours, taught me just as much as I’ve learnt from being outside with nature for many hours.

Go out and learn from nature, but don’t let this stop you from learning from books. Both of them have value and you can learn things from one that you can’t from the other.

Fungi Trail

This was a fungi walk we had paid for which was held at Westonbirt Arboretum. The day didn’t start out well, as I was sick the night before and our hotel had no cold water when we woke up.

The cold water was sorted out in the end, but we both took it as a hint from Siannon, who had asked me to go and see our tribal tree that weekend or else. She didn’t actually say the “or else”, but that’s what I thought she meant. We went to see the tree the next day as we didn’t want water leaking all over the house, which has happened when I didn’t know I was ignoring her.

The walk was led by three experts, who showed us a few mushrooms and then said “right, we’re not going to give a talk, we’re just going to go out and find mushrooms”

I was lost when they started talking to us, as they dropped us in at the deep end and the only thing I knew about mushrooms was how to cook them. I had hoped that this talk would expand my knowledge. Instead it was all tramping about the woods, finding the odd mushroom and hearing some near-incomprehensible babble from the experts about names and such.

I did pick up a few things about mushrooms, but it was a waste of three hours.