Sunday 19 May 2024

Nature and health-care

Polly Atkin, in 'Some of Us Just Fall - On Nature and Not Getting Better', says:

'Wordsworth wrote 'let nature be your teacher', not let nature be your only recognised health-care system.'

Her book tells of chronic illness, disability, lack of good care, understanding, diagnosis and treatment in the health-care system. She finds solace and self-care in nature, but, as the quote above suggests, she wanted, but didn't get (or at least not for a very long time), the support she needed in the place it should have been.

Nature can also only provide some comfort when it is accessible and unspoiled. Swimming in fresh or sea water can only be beneficial if the water isn't contaminated with sewage. Wandering through woods or fields can only be beneficial if you are mobile, and if you can get to, and into. the woods or fields. And if they're not ruined by fly-tipping, littering or building works, etc. And so it goes on...

But even if you can access unspoiled nature - and you can hear and see the birds, the flowers, the trees, the water... this can bring some respite, moments of joy and you can be uplifted or calmed for that period of time, but it isn't a cure - physical or mental. It won't fix what's wrong with you. It may not be possible to fix it. But if you can get the health care you need - sooner rather than much, much, later, then you may be able to live a life with less pain or less fear, with more mobility, more peace and joy. 

This book was gifted to me by someone who understands my health problems - physical and mental, the joy that nature has brought me and my frustration with current health-care and the destruction/inaccessibility of nature. I pray for a time when nature and health-care can both provide the support we all need.

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