Nature writer and founder of The Willowherb Review, Jessica J Lee invited contributors to explore the connection between the natural world and wellbeing. The resulting essays range over subjects including gardening, homesickness, hiking, assault, healing, wildness, domestication, overlooked creatures and neglected landscapes. Nature here proves to be anything but a straightforward solace: instead it is a place of mixed emotions, painful recovery, reclaimed knowledge and unexpected beauty.
As Michael Malay tends his allotment, absorbing all the sensations of his surroundings, he finds the repetition of work calms the mind.
Writer Jennifer Neal used vigorous exercise classes to try and heal herself in the years following an assault. But it was only while hiking outdoors that she found true strength.
When chilly outdoor swims began to chip away at her depression, Jessica J Lee was drawn to a closer study of the complex natural world around her.
To salve her longing for a dog, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan chose a puppy. She found that, despite centuries of domestication, her dog still retains aspects of her wild ancestry.
About the contributors
Jessica J Lee
Jessica J Lee is an environmental historian and author of two books of nature writing, ‘Turning’ (2017) and ‘Two Trees Make a Forest’ (2019). She has written for the Guardian, Catapult, the Times Literary Supplement and BBC Radio 4. She is the founding editor of The Willowherb Review.
Faye Heller studied for her MA in Fine Art at the Slade School, University College London, UK and is a qualified teacher. She has been making artwork for over 25 years and her work was shown at the Tate Modern on a late night for the Dora Maar exhibition in 2020. Using handmade photomontage and collage, she combines portraiture with the natural and man-made landscape, exploring the psychological and environmental, and evoking layers of time, landscape, places and encounters.