Becoming Nature for Span Arts
October 2023 - March 2024
Funded by Span Arts environmental arts commission Love Stories To Nature 'Becoming Nature' explores the power and meaning of nature connection. Using photography, poetry and prose it profiles ten local Pembrokeshire nature lovers in a cherished place in nature.
From surfers, swimmers and freedivers to naturalists, artists and gardeners, the aim was to capture how being in these places opens our hearts and provides a deep sense of well being that is vital to our health.
The result was a deeply moving collection of Love Stories to Nature made up of evocative images, accompanying haiku poems and heart-centred quotes from participants. These were curated into a thoughtful, visually stunning talk shared at two launch events in Pembrokeshire, at the Twr Y Felin hotel on 23rd February and The Queens Hall, Narberth on 5th March 2024.
In addition, a carousel reel of images and poems was crafted into a video that can be streamed at galleries, public spaces and event venues.
Excerpt from Becoming Nature
Bryan is a local surfer and surf instructor who works with Tonic Surf Therapy a surf school based in north Pembrokeshire that uses surfing as a recovery tool for students with mental health challenges and learning disabilities, veterans dealing with P.T.S.D, carers and people dealing with alcohol and substance misuse.
Bryan regularly dips in cold water in nature which has been vital for his own mental health challenges over the last few years.
“Being immersed in an activity such as cold water dipping or surfing reminds me of the present moment, where there is no time to dwell on the past or worry about the future. You can’t think about anything else but the breath in cold water.
For me, cold water is the best reset button I have for my mental health and without it I am not sure I would be nearing my 4th year of being sober.”
Breath as Universe
My mind can be nowhere else
The cold makes it so
Bryan introduced me to Ffynone Falls, a magical corner of Pembrokeshire I’d not heard of before. A small waterfall with a deep, cold pool for swimming in which in Welsh folklore is said to be the gateway to the underworld. It is situated in a secluded river valley with the remnants of ancient oak woodlands. On the day we met there was a stiff frost and the oak leaves underfoot were crunchy with ice. Bright sunlight and our breath clouding the early morning air, created a slow motion dreaminess made magical by a gentle rain of falling leaves as we walked through the trees to the river. One particularly majestic oak tree stopped us in our tracks as we walked and talked; adorned with ferns it looked tropical in its lush growth.