Wild Patience Diaries: Exercises for a Nature Writer

Tanya Shadrick in residence at Warnham Nature Reserve (Credit Paul Shergold)e-PaulShergold

The urge to observe and write about the outdoors has come up through every setting & circumstance of my life. Even when chronic pain and the care of small children have kept me house- and town-bound, I have still made notes on birds, weeds and wildflowers. And yet my finest times are when I can – for a while – rise early, range widely. This written from that, as a keepsafe for times when my world slows & shrinks again.

I am a writer not a poet. These thoughts only have this shape now because I wanted to extend my relationship with a poem by Wendell Berry that has great importance to how I write and why: How to be a Poet (to remind myself). If this by me sends even a few readers onwards to discover that, then this apprentice piece of mine will have earned its keep.

Notes for a Nature Writer
by Tanya Shadrick

Rise like a farmer at five,
and sit in kitchen silence.
Shepherd thoughts.

Dress for the weather,
taking pen, paper, pocketknife.
Stay out all day.

Do not forget to eat
with your whole concentration
on eating.

Chew as cow do.
Let everything be well-digested.

Ask: Are my ears good?
The tendons and intentions
that move my pen?

Work loose what is stuck in you
Through service
To whatever crosses your path.

Inspect the edgelands daily.
Make holes in every fence
For life to slip through.

Notes for a Nature Writer by Tanya Shadrick

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Published by tanyashadrick

Author of The Cure For Sleep: On waking up, breaking free & making a more creative life - a Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of 22 | Publisher at The Selkie Press | FRSA

2 thoughts on “Wild Patience Diaries: Exercises for a Nature Writer

  1. Hi Tanya Just discovered your work via Twitter- fascinating. Much of your advice on developing a creative life chimed with me- especially the importance of documenting each step. I think for me its been a way of saying to myself- this is important …and then waiting to see how its part of a bigger picture.
    I tried to sign up to your blog but it didnt accept my (valid) email address


  2. Thank you, Alison. I will read your posts with interest, in return. And your subscribe email has been accepted my end after all I think. I’m not able to resume regular Wild Patience posts in this season of my children at home, but hope to add more resources from autumn onwards.


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