Stories from the Barn

A hive of activity in the Hampshire downlands

Let Nature Be Your Teacher


Let Nature Be Your Teacher.

The poem by Wordsworth ‘The Tables Turned’, urges us to leave our books and look to nature to teach us. While so many of us, young and old are hunched over devices and books, it is a timely reminder to get outside.

Even a five minute walk outside with phone left on the table indoors has the capacity to recharge us. Take time to observe some small thing. The birds are beginning to sing, a reminder that Spring is on its way despite the icy feel to the days. A determination this year is to learn six bird songs. Tweet of the day on Radio 4 brings such hope each morning. Today is the day I will commit to memory the sound of a chaffinch, maybe. This morning an early walk along a hedgerow was accompanied by a gathering of blue tits. They flew ahead of me, lifting off as I approached. So this week I am going to listen for blue tits and follow Wordsworth’s advice to let nature be your teacher.

By limiting myself to learning just one bird song every few weeks I am hoping for a better success rate than last year. One of the reasons for including ‘The Natural History of Selborne’ by Gilbert White in our book boxes is because of his ability to observe. To be still enough to make observations and consider such observations, to learn from them, is a great skill to learn.


So to ‘The Tables Turned’.

Up! up my friend and quit your books,

Or surely you’ll grow double,

Up! up! my friend and clear your looks,

Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun above the mountain’s head,

A freshening lustre mellow,

Through all the long green fields has spread,

His first evening yellow.

Books! ’tis a dull and endless strife,

Come here the woodland linnet,

How sweet his music! on my life

There’s more of music in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!

He too, is no mean preacher,

Come forth into the light of things ,

And let Nature Be Your Teacher. 


Let nature be your teacher

With thanks to Vittorio Zamboni for the featured image of the chaffinch