Nature’s theatre

July 26, 2016


We had come up to one of my favourite places in the whole world, the Yorkshire Dales. I am just in awe of the beauty of this landscape when I am high up on the limestone pavements, looking out across the wildflower meadows, sheep bleating in the distance, crow calling overhead.  There is no place I would rather be.

We were coming to the end of a springtime heat wave earlier this year after days upon days of glorious hot sunshine, and it was about to break.  I perched myself on top of an ancient Bronze Age burial cairn, my seat in this theatre of one of nature’s greatest spectacles, and settled down to watch the thunderstorm roll in around me. The rumbles and grumbles of the sky drew closer, and the cool breeze whipped up bringing a welcome breath of fresh air. The crows gave their warning call as they took off across the horizon with their urgent flight and the rabbits ran to their burrows. I was alone, just me and the wildflowers – buttercup, rock rose and wild thyme as they danced their excitement. Jason was away in the distance under the ash tree filming the drama as it unfolded around us.

The Heavy Rain Broke

Then the flashes of lightning came, and the thunder rolled in right above my head. That was my call. I was off, scampering as quickly as I could run barefoot through the meadows back to the safety of the barn. I made it just in time before the heavy rain broke, thick clouds all around me. Jason joined me a few minutes later, laden with camera equipment and a beaming smile to join mine.


It’s so exhilarating being out in a thunderstorm, watching it roll in from all around you. It has happened to us quite a few times over the last year or so, and the last time was in this very place at Lower Winskill Farm during our Lammas Wildcamp last summer. That time we stayed out in it, warmed by the flames of our ceremonial fire, singing, chanting and laughing our way through the delicious rain which soaked us to the bone. The time before that was just after our full moon ceremony at Arbor Low stone circle where we watched the storm track the horizon, whilst we munched our way through a cake I had baked earlier that day.

A Paradox of Life

As I rested on a bale of hay in the barn, I reflected on the storm following the heat; a welcome break to the building pressure in the atmosphere, yet alarming nevertheless. It was a mirror of the storm which had erupted in the last twenty four hours in my life, which was needed to move through and clear things. The turbulence is necessary in order to break and move on, such is the paradox of life.

Earlier that day I had had a conversation with someone who was drawn to the work of The Way of the Buzzard as she has depression and anxiety and doesn’t know why. It’s something I can resonate with in my life, where the pressure built up to a point where I was in the center of the storm, and desperately trying to find my way out. But without the storm, would I ever have moved on to a place where I am so much happier. I wonder, probably not.

Nature Helped Me

Nature helped me find my way through, and continues to support me on my path now, every day. My work is to create the space so this alchemy can work on others in their lives, and one of the things I love to do most of all is take people to beautiful landscapes and work with sacred intention to bring about the change which is needed.

We are coming to Lower Winskill farm one more time this year, on the weekend of Friday 12th to Sunday 14th August, to ‘rewild’ our minds’ and work with the ancient wild beasts to help find our freedom. There are a few places left and so if you are drawn to joining us please follow this link to find out more.

About the Author


Nicola Smalley is an edge-dweller, shamanic practitioner and writer living in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Natural Beauty in north Lancashire, England.

Following a career in corporate sustainability, she now runs The Way of the Buzzard with her husband Jason. Her passion is anything connected to nature and the mysteries of the Earth.

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  1. A lovely piece Nicola. I could feel the rain and hear the thunder as I read your words.
    Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend during 12-14 August as I am away down south for a few days but look forward to attending others in the future.

  2. Sounds Fantastic

    Once sorted, financially and practically will for sure join you on one of your events.
    We live in very magical and exciting times.

    1. Don’t we Peter – magical times indeed. I feel the excitement and anticipation at the change unfolding around us, yet also sadness and anxiety.

      It will be so lovely to share your company at one of our events in the future 🙂

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