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This is it.

My best effort. It may not look like a lot to you, but this represents two years worth of knitting commitment.

Be honest, it sucks.

After hearing about the relaxing effects, the improvement of dexterity, and the mindfulness of knitting, I’d decided a couple of years ago to dust down the memories of my Nan’s patient attempts to teach me how to knit one, purl one… and relearn the skill.

I managed about 30 rows.

During lockdown, I thought I’d try again. Like many, I thought now was the time for self-improvement, learn a skill. ‘We’ll never know a time like this again – where the world stops’ we were told. Except it didn’t really stop. The kids still needed parenting; the bills still needed paying; the house still needed repairing. It seemed like more needed doing than ever before.

And so, the knitting sat there, accusingly, as I walked past it.

I did what most self-respecting adult does when they’re faced with their short-comings. I stuffed it into a drawer so it couldn’t see me. I hid from it.

Negativity Bias

The lockdowns have affected people in different ways. Some of us have been able to achieve, smashing through goals like a rampaging rhino; others of us have felt we’ve barely survived, pushing through one more day as if walking through treacle.

We humans are brilliant at negativity bias. Giving more weight to our failings and not our successes and never missing an opportunity to kick ourselves when we’re down, even if we praise everyone else.

My weekly ramblings are my way of encouraging you to keep moving forward, trying to prove to you that that in itself is an achievement. The wonder that your body goes through when it’s in forward motion is incredible. If you’ve managed that through this lockdown, you will have done so much. However, on top of this, most of you have also donated your miles to a bigger cause. You ran, walked or rolled to plant trees.

At Earth Runs, we often tell you that you’ve changed the world with your miles. You’ve made a difference. But maybe you need to see that to believe it. Maybe what you need to know right now is what you’ve achieved, in hard facts.

Just one tree:*

  • Can raise the number of bird species from near zero up to 80
  • Can consume 100 gallons of water per day, limiting flooding and reducing the risk of erosion
  • Can support up to 280 different species of insects (based on a UK tree, rainforest trees are estimated higher than this)
  • Attracts and supports up to 392 species of animals, reliant on the shelter, the bugs and the leaf coverage
  • Is a host to invaluable lichens and fungi, with as many as up to 320 species on some trees
  • Creates homes for flying mammals – bats will use a tree for roosting in and for feeding off the insects attracted to the trees
  • Provides leaf litter to support large worm populations – making the soil even richer in nutrients helping other flora to grow
  • Is a valuable blossom provider for thousands of pollinators, butterflies and bees
  • Will grow more trees – as an example, one single oak can shed as many as 10,000 acorns in a year, creating thousands of new trees in it’s lifetime
  • Absorbs up to 21 kilos of carbon dioxide per year
  • Oh, and as an aside, it will provide enough oxygen for two people per year when grown.

This is just one tree.

The minimum of trees that one of our races plants is two.

You may think that your race with us doesn’t make that much of a difference. Your negativity bias may be telling you that it won’t change anything, but I urge you to think from a different perspective. That is, after all, what we often need in life, a different perspective. If you’re the mouse that feeds off the grubs, or the bird that finds shelter, or the vole that still has a riverbank, that one tree is a life-giver and a life-saver and will continue to be for over 100 years.

And you did that.

Whatever becomes of us humans, you made something happen for something else on this planet. And all this whilst surviving a pandemic. Whether you can knit or not, that is an incredible achievement.

Keep going. I think you’re doing great. And there is light at the end of the tunnel. May your week be a good one.

All the best,

Founder / Non-Knitter / Slow-coach


This is a repost of one of our weekly newsletters, if you wish to read more like this, you can sign up here.

If you could do with a little more positivity right now, a place to feel encouraged and to help others, maybe come and join our Facebook community. Share your kindness. Spread your roots and support others. You can join us here.