Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Green Space: The Release, the Repose

22 Comments

Artist Anna Valdez

Luke Wink-Moran

 

My son, Luke, just published his first piece here at Curiosity Shots. I did not read this essay until it was published. My oldest son, Wyatt, referred to me as ‘The Mommy Lady’ when he was two-years-old and the name stuck.

I am one very proud Mommy Lady to share Luke’s essay here.

Green Space: The Release, The Repose

by Luke Wink-Moran

When lockdown began, back in March, I decided that I wanted to try something new. I would begin every day with an outdoor walk. Outside, in the early morning air, the sky opening up above me, everything else faded away — which was good — because everything else was a lot: the coronavirus, the election, a national reckoning with race, the headlines got worse every day. It was only on my walks that I could forget everything for a while.

I started seeking out nature in other ways beyond my walks. I spent hours in the garden with my mom, watching honeybees circle our sunflowers while hummingbirds jousted over the sugar water feeders.

My sister and I scoured the internet for houseplants, and that spring, our rooms bloomed with life. The books I read led back to nature, too. “World of Wonders” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil filled my head with whale sharks and fireflies as I read in the predawn light.

Even when I played video games with my sister, we were still kind of outdoors — running around our digital island in Animal Crossing, catching butterflies, and shaking peaches from trees.

Not all that surprisingly, and perhaps as expected, we were not the only ones spending more time and energy in nature. In Britain, sales of plants, bulbs, seeds, saw sales increase 35% from 2019, some individual online plant stores saw an increase of 500%, going through a few months’ worth of supplies in a few weeks. Animal Crossing became the most popular Nintendo game of 2020. “World of Wonders,” became the Barnes & Noble book of the year and was ranked as of the top five New York Times nonfiction bestsellers. Nature, it seemed, was growing on people.

I wondered why, in a time of such extraordinary stress, people were turning to nature for comfort. As doom-scrolling became a national pastime and the world migrated to the internet, why were mountain trails and gardens becoming more popular? Why, with 53% percent of Americans reporting that coronavirus had negatively impacted their mental health, were houseplants flying off the shelves as fast as toilet paper?

“In The Garden” Print // Kim Illustration A Green Space

It turns out that nature has some serious mental health benefits. It can lead to greater happiness and life satisfaction, improve mood and memory, and reduce anxiety and stress. In fact, nature is so good for us that some doctors are writing “social prescriptions” recommending that patients spend more time outdoors or gardening for their health and wellbeing. An over-the-counter fix.

Gardening in particular has been studied for its mental health benefits. In her book “The Well-Gardened Mind ” Sue Stuart Smith suggests that gardening can be a state of play that we may find nowhere else in our adult lives.

Despite my own experience and contrary to popular beliefs, you don’t need a garden to benefit from green space. Most of the scientific literature indicates that you just need to be immersed in nature. Being immersed in nature has been shown to decrease depression scores and even reduce pain perception. As someone coming up on a three-year anniversary with a chronic injury, this is one aspect of nature that I absolutely adore.

Surpassing the physical, plants may even boost productivity and creativity — something that I personally have struggled with over lockdown. While studies conflict — some show a productivity boost, and some don’t — even employees who didn’t think that greenery made them more productive reported that plants made the office feel friendlier and cleaner.

I realized that I’ve been reaching out for green space for the last nine months. In the books I read, the games I played, and the places where I spent my time, the benefits of living around — and regularly interacting with — green space are clear to me. And while 2020 may have been when I truly discovered how good for you nature can be, I, for one, can’t imagine giving up my walks anytime soon.

*    *   *

Luke created for quarantine Mother’s Day, 2020.

 

 

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

22 thoughts on “Green Space: The Release, the Repose

  1. Hi Dawn,

    How amazing this publication must be for Luke! I really enjoyed reading Luke’s “Green Space” because reading the essay made me feel re-connected to my many house-plants. I especially have a new connection to the geranium which now blooms all-year long after I selfishly brought it inside last September just to see color beyond-the-green when snow falls. As I read each word he wrote, I am certain his eloquent way with words, and writing style, must be a genetic trait handed-down by the Wink writers. How powerful for him that he is joining in on a family tradition which makes the world a better place through the words and stories they share.

    Carry the writing torch, Luke, and the world will receive you with comforting arms and praise.

    Bravo and well-done, Luke!!

    Peace to you, Dawn and your gifted children,

    Tara

  2. I certainly enjoyed Luke’s piece about Green Space. It is so refreshing and reassuring to hear positive views from young people. Nature is important to our wellbeing, but even more so at times like this. I can attest to the dramatic increase in gardening sales in England. My 100 year old mother-in-law in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, says sales are booming at Perry Throwers Gardening Center. Thank you for sharing your son’s fine writing, Dawn

  3. Our mountain resort has been swamped all year. I’ve seen more people out walking since May than in the previous two years. Have you read the book, The Overstory? It’s more about trees but I think you will appreciate this.

    Also, finally saw that your notifications of new posts weren’t getting to me and why. Glad I can read more of your work. Oh yeah, and I need to get that book ordered.

  4. Thanks, Dawn, for sharing Luke’s essay. It’s very nicely written as well as being heart-felt. I also enjoyed the illustrations, but absolutely loved the photo of the two of you. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: two beautiful people. Big hug s to both of you.

  5. Love it!

    ~Sher’i

    “Never, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up.”

  6. Such a beautiful story, Luke! It’s so wonderful to see you’ve got the “Wink Ink” in your veins. 😀 You’re truly blessed with a gifted family!

  7. Lovely!! Thank you!!

    Sent from my iPhone Marti Anderson, Ph.D. Education Consultant

    >

  8. Dear Dawn,

    Thanks for sharing Wyatt’s story. I went back to find a file of photos I thought I had of bumble bees swarming my zinnias a few years ago. But alas I have lost the file or saved it someplace ‘safe’—

    Hope you are seeing some moisture in your country. It’s looking a lot like last year in this country. Just praying for some spring moisture.

    Hope you are feeling well. I found I couldn’t imagine having such a low pulse/blood pressure (per previous post). I am just super glad to have one…a pulse, I mean. For now. Margaret

    • Dear Margaret,

      Oh, so good to hear from you. Thanks ever so much for writing. I’d love to see your photos of bumble bees and zinnias, if they appear somewhere.

      Yes, we have received a little moisture this winter—more than last year, thankfully. Hopefully, will still receive some. Sending prayers for spring moisture for you.

      Yes, low blood pressure runs in our Wink family. My kids inherited, as well. Often makes standing up quickly eventful in needing to put your head down, so as to pass out. Always the adventure!

      So lovely to hear from you.

      Much love,
      Dawn

  9. I can see why Mommy Lady is proud of her son. Luke certainly “gets it” at a young age; our planet holds nature in many forms and ways. She is astounding.

    On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 1:55 PM Dawn Wink: Dewdrops wrote:

    > Dawn Wink posted: ” My son, Luke, just published his first piece here at > Curiosity Shots. I did not read this essay until it was published. My > oldest son, Wyatt, referred to me as ‘The Mommy Lady’ when he was > two-years-old and the name stuck. I am one ve” >

  10. Luke’s essay is just lovely! Thanks for sharing!! ❤️ Shirlee

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  11. Thank you for sharing Luke’s story about nature. I can relate to being calmed by my flowers and trees after a busy day of dealing with people. Sending love to you and your family. 💕

  12. This is really beautiful, Dawn. Thank you for sharing!

    On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 1:55 PM Dawn Wink: Dewdrops wrote:

    > Dawn Wink posted: ” My son, Luke, just published his first piece here at > Curiosity Shots. I did not read this essay until it was published. My > oldest son, Wyatt, referred to me as ‘The Mommy Lady’ when he was > two-years-old and the name stuck. I am one ve” >

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