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Evoking Emotional Memories in Nature

Often, I find myself outside and a smell or a sound brings with it a memory from the past, normally childhood; in its simplest form, hearing a lawn mower makes me think of long summer evenings as a kid. Until I had a bit of a hunt online about why this happens, I’d not really thought about the fact that when we recall memories, we normally focus on the details not the emotions associated with it. The same part of our brain that processes senses is also, in some part in charge of storing emotional memories and this can explain why memories associated with our senses feel emotional and nostalgic rather than hard and detailed like those associated with words. I got several hits of that nostalgia today…...

Rough water, lochindorb
A windy Lochindorb

Walking around a windy Lochindorb on the Dava Moor this afternoon, not only blew the cobwebs away, but brought back curious little memories and feelings. Now that our local paths are snow and ice free, we’ve enjoyed getting out and walking with the official ‘HQL Hounds’ and today was much needed and fabulous. As we walked the edge of the loch, windy gusts to the left of us blew deep into our brains and chilled our ears and remote, unforgiving moorland stretched to the right, we were warned off by the distinct ‘chuckle’ of a Red Grouse and a quick look across the heather, its bright red eyebrows and incredibly long neck gave its location away…as did the perky ears of a couple of Greyhounds, long noses pointing in the right direction! With travel restrictions still in place and the prolonged heavy snow, we’ve not really ventured far and I can’t remember the last time I saw a Red Grouse; that bulbus, warm brown body, long stretched neck, hobbit-style feet and of course bright red eyebrows – unmistakable.

Our quiet walk also delivered a Red Kite, Red Deer (again the hounds perked up) and a few Mallards and as we headed back to the car a couple of low flying Typhoons appeared loudly alongside us, flying from RAF Lossiemouth and further south.

Cloudy sky and typhoon planes
Low flying Typhoons

Anyway, those memories… I got side-tracked! It’s the wind for me when I’m on moorland, something in me is transported in my imagination to the Jacobite era, Culloden Battlefield as a child comes back to my mind and I get a shiver down my spine. I get the same eery feeling when I walk at Culloden, the wind and the terrain appears untouched and now, as I write this, I remember that of course the Dava Moor will have seen its own Jacobites years ago and crofting communities. Whistling wind that’s a definite bringer of emotional memories for me and delivers a sense of calm and strength as I feel the wind support me.

On a recent remotely guided Forest Bathing session one of the participants remarked how the smell of the damp moss that she had explored during a ‘textures’ invitation brought back memories. I love that, you never know where you might be transported during a Forest Bathing session and it will often be to fond memories of time spent in nature.

Have a look at our 2021 schedule to book onto a session if you fancy exploring nature a little more!

Sky, moorland, Red Grouse
Red Grouse hiding in the heather
Blue skies, water and castle
Lochindorb Castle
Shore, water and skies
Lochindorb Shores


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