FOLKTRAILS: A PROJECT FOR LOCKDOWN

An outdoor storying blog for individuals, families and communities this November lockdown!

This weekend, on the first of November, my eldest daughter asked me if we should be feeling sad about the month ahead. It was a loaded question - we'd been listening to the radio and I think she was really asking whether we should be feeling anxious and upset because of the impending lockdown.


Protective parent mode engaged, I responded gently and positively with a reminder of just how much we have learned over the last year and emphasised how humans grow when they are challenged - how innovative ideas are born from adversity and how we will, as individuals, families and communities, get through this together by supporting one another and being brave.


Some of you may have seen my recent Instagram post quoting John Muir:


'The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness'


His words struck a real chord for me that evening. Life really is like a journey through the deepest, darkest wood sometimes, but just like any one of our fairy tale heroes and heroines, the journey builds a better human in the end - there's learning to be done while you're running scared because you'll improvise in order to escape; self-knowledge to be gained through reflection when you pause to you sit and rest...

I'll stop there before I get too carried away with a hideously cliched examination of the extended metaphor!


Anyway, this conversation with my seven year old tripped me into 'let's get creative' gear and, in collaboration with family and friends, I've come up with a brand new November lockdown project called 'Folktrails!


As you would expect, it combines the word with the wild and uses story as a springboard...to get everyone outside and into the (nearby) wilder spaces with story breathing new life into those all important outdoor experiences!


What is 'Folktrails'?


What is 'Folktrails'?


It's going to go like this. Each week, I'll post about a particular tree, plant, place, element of the outdoors etc that is accessible to everyone during our time outside over the coming month. I'll be talking about some of the fascinating folklore associated with each week's chosen element, will recommend and link you to a particular story that features this element, and I'll also share some of our favourite outdoor storying ideas and activities for you to try when you next slip outside for some much needed fresh air and exercise!


It's basically all about encouraging you to create a 'folktrail ' for yourselves - a kind of story-orientated walk - for you to enjoy when you are next outdoors!


For adults, this might take the form of enjoying listening to the story while sat under the relevant tree - relaxing and meditating on all you might draw from the tale and pondering which bits feel most relevant to life that day or the world at large. (I'm hoping that it will also inspire you to listen to a few more folklore podcasts, to return home and cook up some story-informed feast or even perhaps become as obsessed as I am about subjects such as tree lore, natural navigation and the healing power of plants etc!)


For kids and families, my plan is to provide you with a focus for your walks that can feed your love of story, inspire your outdoor play, fill you with curious facts and encourage some new and unique outdoor adventures for everyone!


Let's share these adventures!


One thing that this year has really done for us is to create powerfully supportive online communities and I'm keen to keep sharing all the incredible adventures that people are having - even when those adventures are a little more local! So make sure you tag @thewildofthewords on Instagram and Facebook and you might even win yourself your very own tailor-made personal podcast with a story that's selected especially for you to match the outdoor adventures that you most love having!


Where will I be getting my inspiration?

There are so many incredible resources out there to inspire wordy and wild adventures! Along this particular lockdown journey, I'll be drawing from fabulous fellow storytellers, writers, folklore podcasters, instagrammers, wild food foragers and sharing the outdoor adventure and nature books I keep stashed in the van for exciting explorations into such things as the Celtic Ogham tree script, wild food, bushcraft, foraging, natural navigation, mapping ancient burial sites, walking the wild places...


...there really is so much on the menu for this project! Join us and enjoy a more outdoor focused, story-orientated lockdown this November!



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