Birmingham is a large, sprawling urban city but it boasts more trees than Paris. It has a huge industrial history but if you know where to look then there are pockets of nature everywhere.
I think having an understanding and respect for the natural world, getting messy playing in the dirt, smelling flowers, picking sticks, collecting seasonal treasures and spotting wildlife, helps to ground us and rebalance the buzz of every day city life and technology. It reminds us of where we feel our best.
That is why we escape to the surrounding countryside or visit our local parks in Brum as often as we can. The girls, Zora (4) and Dalia (2), are natural explorers and need no prompting to play in the natural environment. They just love that freedom to explore and play.
These pictures are from a day at a National Trust property called Packwood House. It’s only a short car journey away and has a realm of opportunity to connect with nature and learn new things.
The girls were fascinated when they spotted some beautiful flowers floating in a well in the middle of the kitchen gardens; Dalia was keen on throwing little sticks she found on the floor into the water and watching them drop and float. Zora drew arrows in the dirt to a “secret door” and raced to show me. They both then found some fallen petals from wilting flowers. Bright, autumnal shades of crimson and burnt orange. They searched between the flower beds throwing the petals into the greenish hued water with glee.
Until they happened across an area of the kitchen garden with a huge display of ginormous pumpkins of every shape and size and colour. Nervously they stepped in and climbed and sat on the biggest pumpkins they could find.
We then explored the beautiful, old yew trees that are housed at Packwood. We love to play hide and seek in this area. Through a magical archway and behind a hedge is a secret little pond too! The girls watched as their Dada bravely leaped over the pond in a dare. And giggled at the bottoms of the stone cherubs that stood by it.
Spending time in nature is essential, whether you’re young or old, rich or poor. It’s essential for our souls to breathe easier and minds to feel calm. I notice how both Zora and Dalia feel confident and carefree whenever we spend time in nature’s playground. And of course, as parents we revel in their joy.
Rida is a 33 year old mother, creative and aspiring photographer who lives in Birmingham, England, with her husband Chris and their two daughters, Zora and Dalia.
November 14, 2018