My Biosphere – Sarah Mercer
I vividly remember walking from Gansey Point around Port St Mary prom, across the catwalk and along the pier. It was the middle of the night in a wild and wonderful winter storm. I had just received some bad news that would shift the direction of my life forever and, not knowing what else to do, I waterproofed up and tramped out into the wind and rain. As my emotions stormed within me, Manannan stormed around me, showering me with 20 foot waves and whipping my voice from my mouth as I shouted my woes into the world and cried with the rain.
As I walked and wailed by the wild waters I began to feel the strength of the ocean seep into me. Each drenching wave washed away some of the unmanageable emotions, and each breath of stinging salty air brought with it the unyielding life of a storm in full power.
By the time I had reached the end of the pier, a walk of just over a mile, I felt as powerful and free as the storm around me.
This isn’t the only time that nature has acted as a mirror for how I am feeling, nor is it the only time that being in nature has helped me to process feelings, thoughts and ideas. I am at my most relaxed when listening to birdsong in the glens, most joyous when I am running along the rocky coast at Niarbyl, most awed when sitting atop Cronk ny Arrey Laa, most excitable when on a never ending sandy beach, and never more grateful than when I walk out of work to the sight of Castle Rushen and the glittering harbour. My enjoyment of the world is deeply tied to how often I am in nature in my day to day life, and there is no better place to be consistently surrounded by it than the Isle of Man.
The Isle of Man is unique; spending time in nature isn’t a choice you have to make. You don’t have to get in a car and travel to a national park or drive for an hour on the motorway just to get to the beach. Here, nature is everywhere.
Though nature is everywhere on the Isle of Man, it is good to remind ourselves that this nature is not natural. We cut down most of our wild forests hundreds of years ago. The landscape we walk through now is cultivated, designed to be useful to humans. The Isle of Man has a history of using its natural resources until they are gone – a boom and bust of nature.
We have many things to be proud of in our Biosphere – not least, hundreds of miles of ancient hedgerows, incredible marine reserves, and of course our enviable glens. But we also have the opportunity to learn from our past, and adopt a better relationship with the rest of nature – one of mutual benefit, deep gratitude, kindness and love, and one that provides a blueprint (or greenprint!) for the rest of the world to transform from a transactional relationship with nature (which mirrors the approach most of the world takes) to a sharing one.
This constant immersion in the wild, weird and wonderful world has nurtured me and in return, shouldn’t I try to nurture it? What I choose to do with my time, in work and life is to give back to the rest of nature a small portion of what it has generously given me.
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