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Roe Deer in the woods – image Paul Barclay

Picture an urban scene – is it full of crowds, cars and concrete? It’s no wonder that the hustle of urban life can make people feel disoriented, or even ill. Recently I found myself in Cumbernauld shopping centre feeling like I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t draw breath, was freezing cold and yet soaked in sweat. I felt dizzy, faint and unsteady, my stomach was a tight ball of fear. My heart hammered in my chest – I was having a full blown panic attack.

I’m supposed to be good with panic attacks, I have all the tools, training and experience to deal with them – and yet I still lost control to a primal instinct, fight or flight, evolution’s last ditch defence.

But that busy centre isn’t the only urban scene. A day later I stood a few hundred metres from that spot, but in a different world. This time I was with a group watching a pair of roe deer moving through the woods. The deer were calm as we stood quietly and I could feel that same feeling of peace in my own body, radiating out from the scene. This was the opposite to the feeling I had in the shopping centre – and yet it was still an urban scene. I was only metres away from houses, there were busy roads nearby and people standing around me.

Those few minutes exposed to Cumbernauld’s wild centre work like a tonic. By picturing the deer among the trees I can still evoke that sense of peace now. Seeking out these oases of calm in our urban centres is vital for us all to lead healthy, happy lives. If you’d like to join Cumbernauld Living Landscape on one of our walks and share in that experience then get in touch.

Paul Barclay Community Networks Officer

Paul Barclay