As our social and emotional lives were turned upside down and the pandemic was advancing, many people was turning into open spaces for solace. Richmond Park a National Nature Reserve, a sanctuary for hundreds of species and since COVID-19 exploded and lockdown life with it, a breathing oasis for many of us.
I took the lockdown outside to find out how the outdoors of Richmond
was impacting and bringing a refuge and sanity to those lucky to enjoy it.
But the curiosity shifted quickly towards me and opened the door to a blessed respite from the struggle to the repetitive sequence of days. The strangers willing to open up about their experience, were giving me solace and a cushion to my mental health.
An actor, a midwife, retired, care worker, a public relations, even a fellow photographer… for Vanessa and Millie it was a time for bonding, where Millie gets to trot around its vast landscapes and ponds and for Vanessa was a recovering from the horrors seeing at the hospital, as a health worker as she is; for John was his perfect excuse to keep his head clear while walking from Hammersmith to Richmond every day, quite a journey; for Nigel it was his gym, and he made every single square foot of the park, a few times. Bill has a bench reserved everyday with the same spectacular view, comes rain, sun, hale, snow.., he’ll be there watching over the hill, for Wayne, is his “office” to walk his client’s dogs; many more share their stories… and for me… I discovered a love and interest for nature that wasn’t that intense before. I enjoyed the day in the rain as much as the one in the sun. Colours, smells, sounds, all playing like a dance with different notes as the hours goes into a different day and the days into different weeks, like an orchestra playing different pieces balancing each other.
It was a silent therapy that highlighted the importance of nature and human relations for a healthier and thriving state of mind and ultimately it was my silver lining to this pandemic.