Spring in the heart of Brussels: A symphony for the senses

Another walk in the beautiful Woluwe park and this time, there’s no doubt: Spring is here! We are so privileged to live in the middle of Brussels and to have wildlife close by. I’ve decided to make the most of it and to enjoy nature as much as possible when I have a spare hour. We are so focused on our daily routine which involves mostly seeing, and a walk in the nature helps sharpen our five senses.

Seeing

By staying very still and taking time to observe the animals I was able to spot a heron catching a frog, the love parade of two parakeets, cheeky crows and more. Even insects start to show up and crawl over your shoes when you stand still.

The animals look at you too. It’s fun to try to imagine what goes through their mind when they spot you. But it’s even more interesting just to be present, without thinking, and to let your heart guide your footsteps. Be spontaneous and caring, and who knows maybe the animals will let you catch a glimpse of their more intimate activities – such as this duck I caught doing its morning stretching 🙂

Listening

Walk through the woods and listen to the birds chirping and tweeting: blackbirds, sparrows, parakeets, bluetits, crows, pigeons and if you are lucky swallows too. They’re really vocal in the morning! If you can get real close you will also hear squirrels scratching on branches. The one I spotted didn’t let me get close enough unfortunately.

Listen to the wind in the branches, get close to cherry blossoms and listen. You’ll be surprised by the soft sounds one can hear with one’s head amidst the cherry blossoms. The only thing you won’t hear is the smooth gliding of swans and ducks on the water 🙂

Smelling

Most forest flowers don’t have a strong fragrance, with a couple of exceptions such as violets. But a forest in Spring is full of scents: the scent of starry moss, the scent of fir, the smell of wet mulch sprayed on the ground by park keepers. Smell is probably the sense you can sharpen  most in a forest.

Tasting and touching

Did you know you can eat magnolia flowers? They have a velvety, slightly acid taste. I also tasted wild garlic in a secluded place in the forest. Better however not try things out for yourself if you are not sure about what you are tasting. Nature has a way of making plants look alike when one is toxic and the other one perfectly edible!

If you know a guide, then you could go and take a walk in the Sonian forest, it would certainly make for an interesting experience to know how many edible plants are available in this forest close to Brussels. I would love to hear from any tips you have on how to organise this.

If you don’t dare to taste, you can always touch, it’s normally pretty harmless. I love to touch spiderwebs and I try hard not to ruin them. It’s hard but they’re usually pretty resistant if you touch them gently.

I hope this little tour made you want to visit a forest or a park now. What kind of animals or plants did you spot?

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