reuring the last confinement one of the things that calmed me the most was taking a daily walk with my camera, looking for the beauty in nature, the little things. I live in Edinburgh, and I was walking down to the local beach and back along some of the old railway lines that run through the city and are now cycled lanes, dotted by wooded areas and dominated by huge trees. I was distracted by the cherry blossoms, watching the tight buds blossom into fresh lime green leaves, the constant chirping of birds that brought hope and color to an otherwise terrifying and frustrating time.
This new blockade has arrived in possibly the most depressing time of the year, the excitement of Christmas disappeared, the bare trees, the short, dark and cold days. That is why I am trying to focus once again on the little things, on losing myself in the beauty of nature, even for a short time every day. The first day of this new confinement I decided that I would go out every day armed with my camera. It was a gray morning with a chilly east wind, choppy waves on Weirdie Bay beach, not very inspiring, but the sand was covered in frost, the algae and pebbles had a beautiful bright outline and for a moment the sun peeked out behind. Clouds and a strip of pink sky emerged along the horizon. He started sleeping hard at the end of my hike and the rest of the day was decidedly Reich as they say around here, but that moment was worth it.
Winter is so wonderful and by slowing down, taking the time to savor what I see, I find much to be thankful for. The intricate patterns of the bark, the low sun that gives us a golden hour most of the day, the gleaming icy pavements. Taking the time to stop and absorb our surroundings is a luxury we normally don’t have, but if there ever was a moment, it is now. Life is so busy that taking this time to walk sometimes feels like a luxury, but for me it is a lifesaver. I often walk alone, trying to vary the hours of the day that I go out. What I like the most is the early morning, witnessing the sun breaking the horizon, the seabirds flying in the pink sky, the frost on the sand, with no other footprints in sight.
Sometimes I take my children with me, armed with an old camera of mine. This has become a precious time together: I love seeing what they find beautiful, literally seeing the world through their eyes as they sit for years looking at the waves to find the perfect one that catches the light, and the joy when they get a photo that love. It is a wonderful way to document this time, to treasure the connection we have with nature and with each other.
So I encourage you to go out, bring a phone, a camera, or just use your eyes. But look up, look down, stop, go slowly, watch the light play on the water, watch the sun make a halo around a tree. Take your time and savor this – think of it as a way to calm and calm your soul. Neophilia is the term for the innate human tendency to interact and connect with nature. It is known to induce calm and good feelings, and we all need more of those right now.
• Anna Deacon is co-author of For the love of the trees and Diving (Black and white posts£20 20 each)
• Share photos of the things you’ve noticed on your confinement walks by posting them on Instagram with the hashtags #guardiantravelsnaps and #thejoyofsmallthings
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism