by Lydia Cerguera, BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing
There is something quite serene about stepping outside into the dark and breathing in the cool air as you leave campus after a long day.
How can we pause the thoughts that run through our minds of tasks to complete, of lessons we’ve learned, of when to fit in work before the next lecture?
Stand still for a moment. Breathe in the night’s sky. Look up for the moon.
Listen out for the birds who have yet to make it home to their nests. Feel the wind pass you before it rustles through the hedgerows. Take stock of your surroundings.
Winter can be a stressful time for students and staff at university. Deadlines need to be met and content has to be delivered. Take the moments in between to enjoy the nature around you and remember that it, too, is letting go of itself; trees are shedding their leaves, flowers are drooping down to their underground bulbs, and the regular rain aids minerals to spread across the land, nurturing the soil in preparation for spring.
If you’re looking for a place of quiet, the pond areas at Frenchay campus provide tranquility, where the fish rest on the pond beds to calm their hearts in the cold.
As well as enjoying our Frenchay campus’ natural comfort, a bus ride to Bower Ashton will take you to the doorstep of Ashton Court Estate, where deer wander freely and a trip through the woodlands to the top of the hill allows for incredible views across the Bristol landscape. Being wheelchair friendly, Ashton Court is a great place to appreciate Bristol’s terrain for everyone.
Have you got a festive feast coming up in the holidays? Now is the time to take advantage of our Frenchay herb gardens! There are spots in the Walled Garden, and outside K Block and R2 Block, with labelled herbs available for all staff and students to pick and take home to cook with. Some rosemary and parsley with your roast potatoes, perhaps?
If you are finding the last week of lectures hard, then why not bring some nature back indoors with you to craft with in the evenings? You could collect fir cones, dry them on the radiator, paint their tips and dangle them on your bedroom wall with string. Or gather some fallen twigs, dry them out, and glue them into star/tree shapes as decorations.
An effective addition for your room at university would be to paint small stones you’ve found outside – either by creating the patterns yourself or by picking up leaves on your walk, drying them, painting them and printing them onto each stone. Not only is it free (you can ask for some paint at the Resource Centre), but crafting will help to soothe your worries during this busy time. Placing the stones in a dish or along a bookshelf in your room will make for a lovely feature.
There are plenty of ideas to find on Pinterest and other crafty sites, but make sure you only pick up natural items that have fallen – nothing still attached to trees as they are still vital to the network of our wildlife!
Wherever you are during the next few weeks, I would like to wish you a happy and well-rested holiday.
And don’t forget, there is always time to breathe in the night’s sky and stand still for a moment.