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An Outdoors Family

The music of the autumn forest

A few weeks ago, on a glorious September afternoon, my son and I went on a mini roadtrip to the Linn of Dee near Braemar for an early evening explore and to spend a short time listening to the sounds of the pine woods, as part of an event organised by artist Petra Vergunst at Mar Lodge Estate.

It sounded like something right up our street, so we set off early, never missing an opportunity for a wee explore before we were due to meet the other families there.

Petra began with a small introduction for the kids and quickly got us rambling through the woods before stopping to see what sounds they could hear; what could they hear high above us, below our feet, far away and close to us. Our son was really keen and stopped to listen hard, eyes closed tightly before hearing a rushing river, leaves rustling, stones crushing and midges buzzing! They were out in force so we quickly went on again.

Next stop was exploring ways to make new sounds in the woods, using whatever ‘instruments’ they could find; pine cones, twigs brushing against tree trunks, pebbles clunking together. The kids really got in to this and enjoyed seeing and hearing what noises they could make! Now, in the depths of the woods, there’s only one thing that our son would usually start giggling at about certain noises…. but he was enchanted with the exploring, listening raptly to Petra and discussing the depths of what he could hear.

At one point, Petra asked him how it made him feel. “Peaceful” was all he replied.

And for us both, that pretty much summed up the outing for us.

I sometimes think it’s so easy to get distracted and to feel you have to be involved in so many different things.

But this was a wonderful reminder about the importance of stopping and listening to the music of the earth. It certainly restored some tranquility, if only for a short while, for us.

So now that the weather is cooling and the colours are changing, why not treat yourself and go out for a walk in the woods to listen to what the woods have to say?

Your senses (and over-worked, over-stressed mind) might just thank you for it.


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