News from the Land – Autumn ‘23

‘Be still, and listen…’  (Eileen Caddy)

While the rest of the world is warming up at an alarming rate, here in the North of Scotland we’ve had a cool summer and an unusually wet and windy autumn. And now the autumn colours paint the landscapes in various shades of glorious yellow, golden and red – for a short time, before the bare months of winter will be upon us soon enough.

These autumnal changes are nature’s invitation to go inwards… To take stock of the seasons past, and build the potential for next year’s growth.

It is a time of the year which especially invites us to ‘be still and listen’…

I was delighted when I learned about permaculture years ago. So many of the guiding permaculture principles seem to echo the principles of human spiritual growth. And permaculture teaches us to pause and listen, to ‘observe, observe, observe’ – before changing anything in our natural environment.

So – I consider the moments when i pause on the land, sit still and do my best to listen, look, feel… invite Nature to teach me about the needs of any given location, I consider these moments an essential part of my work as land manager / care-taker of the land here at Findhorn.  And of course the ‘observations’ can take many forms:  To learn how to be truly still and to be willing to listen as individuals is a great start.

But we as the FHT have invested in other forms of ‘listening/observing’ as well: For example : We have spent around  £1k a year on surveys over the last 8 years.  The first one was the lichen survey in 2008 which was organised by the Findhorn Dunes Trust, but since then FHT has done mushroom, moss, moth, spider & bug surveys and more…  And each time we are amazed at what can be found when looking through the eyes of those who know how to look.  Of course the sheer numbers of what we have on the land are often staggering. But thanks to our Alan Watson’s photographic skills (and determination) we also get to appreciate the multifaceted beauty of the many things we don’t get to see with our untrained (and unequipped) eyes.

Talking about biodiversity becomes meaningful when we begin to understand just how many different species are sharing this little piece of land with us.  And understanding those species better helps us to find ways to safeguard and improve their existing habitats.  And as ‘inner nature’ and ‘outer nature’ are but reflections of each other –

Here is the invitation: Let’s take the changing colour scheme of the autumn as an invitation to ‘go out and tune in’. To try and be still and listen.

(I am well aware that learning to truly become still, and to really listen requires a fair bit of training/practice. But we all have to start somewhere – so;

Let’s remind ourselves today to look, listen, smell, feel… open all our senses to the gifts and  lessons Nature around us is offering us all the time.

I have made it a habit to carry a little hand-lens and a wee pair of binoculars with me during work and on my walks – to help me see better.

And sometimes I just close my eyes and try to look with my heart…

Be still… and listen…

Be still… and know…

Kajedo Wanderer,

FHT Land Manager 

Autumn 2023


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Findhorn Hinterland Trust, Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) SC045806
228 Pineridge, Findhorn, Forres, Moray IV36 3TB