Nowhere in town is more important than Sackville’s Waterfowl Park. Especially with the province’s current state of lockdown, people need somewhere they can go to get away from the world, get a change of scenery, and surround themselves with nature. Walking in a city or town on a sidewalk with a landscape of buildings, streets, lights, and windows is much different than strolling under trees on a dirt path overgrown with weeds, listening to bird calls and splashes of water. Here, I have compiled a list of ways to appreciate nature in the Waterfowl Park.
The simplest way to do this is to go for a walk. Take the time to notice the things around you. Look up at the sky and the branches. Examine the hidden puddle through the trees beside you. Imagine what might live there. Watch birds flutter through bushes, or ducks splash by the boardwalk. Wonder what they’re saying to each other. Notice the little things, and marvel at the way these creatures live parallel to, but so differently from you. Clearing your mind and getting a change of scenery is invaluable when we spend most of our time in one place. Getting some distance from your troubles might inspire you.
As an artist, nature is my biggest source of inspiration. Intentionally try to think outside the box during your walk. Be creative. Let in your imagination. Break yourself out of your usual ways of thinking. You don’t need to think about things logically. The more you let yourself come up with silly ideas without judging them, the more creative you will become. (The examples that follow are about art, but anyone, no matter their interests, career, or studies, can and should be more creative!) Write a poem about the plastic bag you see stuck in a tree. Draw the sky above you, transforming the clouds into the distinct shapes you see in them. Write a short story about the life of the group of geese clustered on the tiny island in the middle of the water.
Choose a spot with a good view, and just sit and observe. Spend time with and in nature. Do not think about what you have to do later, or the grade you got on an assignment. Be there, in the moment. Watch the ducks for so long that you give them names. Follow an airplane with your eyes until you can’t see it anymore. Attempt to understand the pattern the sunlight makes through the leaves and the shadows the leaves make on the ground. Observe how the branches dance in the wind. Think: You are here. You are alive. That is enough.
Be happy that nature exists. Be thankful that there is a small slice of paradise in the middle of a town full of Zoom-fatigued students and exhausted professors. Be grateful that you get to be here, beside nature. After staring at a screen for eight hours a day, nature reminds us of the bigger picture. It reminds us of who we are and why we are here and where we started. When we get lost in the overwhelming pressure of school, nature reminds us why we started.