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Updated: Mar 22, 2020

It is a quiet autumn afternoon in the North-West province. To me, that is the way of autumn afternoons in general. But perhaps this afternoon is a little different. Maybe today, the quiet is of a different variety.

I sit in front of my keyboard somewhat uncertainly, thinking about how best to address this particular quiet. This very first blog post was supposed to be my introduction to you - and it still will be. Just a different kind of introduction, that’s all. Instead of sharing with you about the launch of Aardwolf Nature Connection and my very first publicly offered forest bathing walk, today’s quiet calls for a different type of sharing.

Last night, Pres. Ramaphosa addressed South Africans in order to declare Covid-19 a state of disaster and ask for our cooperation in delaying the spread of the virus. It is of course a time of great concern and I agree that social distancing is needed right now in order to delay the spread of this virus, protect our most vulnerable citizens, and give our healthcare system a fighting chance to prepare for what is to come. It is for this reason that I have chosen not to commence with any public forest bathing walks as yet.

On the other hand, I firmly believe that it is good for us to be outside right now and wish to share more information about this practice (forest bathing), especially since it is not yet well-known in South Africa. Apart from the health benefits of spending time in nature, I believe that nature connection is a strong tool for us to rely on right now, when extreme social distancing measures can increase loneliness.

I hope that you will find some helpful information on this website, and that you will be inspired to spend time outside, if it is safe and comfortable for you to do so. I have created a brief guided audio clip for you to use the next time you are in nature: It’s five minutes long and will assist you in slowing down and connecting to your senses before you begin your own nature walk. Please feel free to try it out and let me know how it goes.

Let’s take this time to remember how deeply interconnected we all truly are. Let’s show our care for each other by adhering to best practice principles at this time.

Let’s view this time as one of physical distancing, and see if, paradoxically, we might grow socially closer together through this: Check in with friends and relatives via phone, Skype or Whatsapp regularly. If you know of elderly community members who are too afraid or otherwise unable to do their grocery shopping right now: how might you be able to assist?

Feel free to get in touch and let’s share ideas about how we can support our communities right now. Stay safe. Don't hesitate to talk to trees (don't worry - they are very good at keeping secrets.)

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