Befriending the Dark. Starting from Lewes we walked through the woods and fields of Cuckoo Bottom, and back to Lewes, walking in silence and without torches. It was cloudy on the way up, and very dark in the woods, but the moon came out on the way back to light the way.
A peaceful, magical and uplifting night walk.
Returning from our silent, no torches night walk to a welcoming fire and hot sage and rosemary tea. With much gratitude to Caroline Whiteman and #firekeeper Nico.
#fullmoon #southdowns #nightwalk #fire
"To know the dark, go dark, go without sight and find the dark too, blooms and sings"
#nightwalk #fullmoon #wendellberry #harvestmoon
Next night walk is this Friday - there might be a bit more light!
#nofilter #nightwalk #fullmoon
Today as I'm checking out the route for Friday's night walk, a stoat ran across the path. I've never seen one in the wild before. It darted into the undergrowth before I could take a pic!
#stoat #nightwalk #southdowns
It was so dark in the woods, the inky blackness swallowed us whole. Great to come back to a fire.
#sensory #awareness #slowwalking #night
It's almost dusk and the birds are making a sweet racket in the trees at the edge of the field.
We’re about to start our first night walk, a new addition to the School of the Wild programme. It’s the last time we can do it before Autumn, as from now the lengthening Spring and Summer days mean it gets dark too late to finish the walk at a reasonable time.
We’re doing the walk in silence to try and help people drop into a quiet inner space, from where it's possible to have a stronger sensory connection with the land: the tastes and smells in the air, the feel of the wind on skin, the touch of the ground under foot.
The darkness has long been a frightening place, getting to know it in this way opens up the possibility of befriending the night, and of falling in love with nature again.
"To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark go dark.
Go without sight and find that the dark too blooms and sings
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings."
@natureschildling leads us silently upward from Glynde towards a dark valley where the stillness and the mysteries of the night and the land draw us closer.
Fire keeper @the_barefoot_forge makes ready the tea and a welcome beacon for our arrival in Lewes.
I was sitting on Dartmoor last weekend, as part of a Medicine Walk, a solo walking ceremony that turns the land into a mirror for your inner world.
The weather on Dartmoor was gorgeous. The flowering gorse and gnarly hawthorn trees reminding me of the Downs, with similar stunning views across green fields towards the coast.
I’ve got a bit hooked on Medicine Walks after being introduced to them by Rebecca Card, and then running them with her on the Downs around Devil’s Dyke.
I have no idea how they work, but something unexpected, insightful and magical always seems to happen to me: from finding special trees and features in the landscape that resonate with themes in my life, to strange synchronicities that have made me laugh out loud.
(Read more about Medicine Walks here. We’re doing another one in June if you fancy it.)
It’d been a long journey to get to Dartmoor from Brighton. I’d used the car's satnav and when I arrived I didn’t really have a sense of where I was until I spotted navel wort - a wild edible plant that I discovered the last time I was in Devon.
Navel wort grows in the walls of Devon’s lanes - it’s crunchy and refreshing, a bit like a cross between bean sprouts and cucumber… I ate some as I started walking and it instantly made me happy, and I felt more plugged in to where I was.
Navel wort doesn’t grow in Sussex, but there are lots of other great edible wild plants that are greening the hedgerows and lanes of Sussex at the moment.
If you’re interested in learning how to find them, we’re running Forage with your Senses with Mike Cutting in Stanmer Park on April 23rd. You’ll learn to identify hogweed, celandine, plantain, cleavers... and you’ll get to taste some of them around the fire afterwards too.
Before then I’m also really looking forward to Befriending the Dark on Sat April 15th. It’s a guided night walk without torches over the South Downs, with Caroline Whiteman.
I walked the route with Caroline a few months ago. It was enchanting. Away from the busyness of the world, and in the darkness, you really tune into the stillness of the night, the tastes and smells in the air, the touch of the ground under your feet, and feel of breeze the on your skin... I can’t wait.
Maybe see you there.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.