Day 9:  Scent trailing

Our sense of smell plays such a big part in our quality of life. It influences our moods and even our choice of friends and who we  associate with. I know for me, how important smell is in painting a mental picture of the scene around me. Often I’ll comment on smells as I encounter them.  Although when it’s on the high street, I’m usually accused of just being obsessed with my stomach!

People can scent trail like dogs.  We’re just out of practice.

Day 10:  Hearing bird language

For our ancient ancestors and indigenous people, listening to the interaction between birds would provide a vital source of up to the minute information about activity in the surrounding landscape, indicating the approach of predators or potentially hostile humans.  I remember a time in Sherwood Forest being able to follow the passage of an unseen predator, by the sound of alarm calls gradually progressing across the tree canopy, from one bird to the next.

Bird language contains a live action commentary, which has much to tell us, once we learn to listen.  

A good starting place is to learn the calls of British birds.

photo by Mikail Kalinin

Day 11:  Connecting with the sensory panorama

Our innate sense of direction and ability to draw upon natural reference points, such as the smell of water in the air, the feel of the breeze from a certain direction, or detecting variations in surface texture under foot, would once have helped us find our way and kept us alive. Now we have sat-nav. By cultivating these abilities, we can reestablish a greater sense of connection with the land we belong to.  When I hear the tree full of chattering starlings on the street corner near my house, I know where I am and feel at home.

Here’s a man who has become so accomplished at non-visual orientation and navigation he’s been nicknamed the real life Batman.