Advertisement
Opinion

What does nature mean when you’re behind bars?

Inside, nature takes on a greater meaning. An inmate at HMP Lewes writes about the magic of nature for the prison literacy festival Penned Up

This is the only way I can express nature, or my appreciation for natureI used to work for a friend who lived out in the country, and to get to his house you had to go down a lane. Either side of the lane was a field.

In the summer the horses would be out. I think they were Shire horses belonging to a traveller that were in the field to the left as you walked down the lane. On the right-hand side at the top of the field you could see in the distance a herd of deer, you make out some of the young ones. I used to walk down the lane and see how many I could spot, but tell you what, they are quick. My friend had a few acres of woodland so every day you would encounter peacocks. They’ve got a lot of front, and they don’t really run from you. The males are very curious, and make you laugh. One summer evening I was there I even saw a white deer. I didn’t even know you could get white deer.

Lockdowns have taken income away from hundreds of Big Issue sellers. Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription.

One time a sparrowhawk flew down and landed in a tree about two metres away. My mate said it hunted the mice, or field mice, at the back of the chicken run. He said that if the hawk got used to you it would land near you and stare you out.

Amazing, here’s me banged up and just writing a few lines makes me feel free.

We watch nature on the telly but if we actually take time we would notice that the more concrete we put down the more we are depriving ourselves of its existence

I remember a magpie flying in my bedroom window. It stayed with me for three days before it flew off. The funniest thing that I experienced was I was near the local shops and a fox came over staring at me but pretty cautious. I went to the chippy and got a battered sausage and threw it to the fox. The fox went off and disappeared, and I went to get the bus home. Do you know I wasn’t allowed on the bus because the driver said I couldn’t bring my friend on? When I looked round the fox was trying to get on the bus with me! I had to walk to work that day and keep calling to the fox so it would stay safe.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Funny about nature. We watch it on the telly but if we actually take time we would notice that the more concrete we put down the more we are depriving ourselves of its existence. Didn’t really think about that until I actually thought about all this magic in the world, but us people are blind to it, or think we are better.

This article is from a special edition of The Big Issue magazine. Get a copy of ‘Locked Up in Lockdown‘ in The Big Issue Shop or purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

Advertisement

Every copy counts this Winter

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Winter. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Winter.

Recommended for you

Read All
What it's like being a doctor in our broken NHS
NHS Crisis

What it's like being a doctor in our broken NHS

History haunts modern life, but will we ever learn from it?
History

History haunts modern life, but will we ever learn from it?

Three things the government can do to end homelessness
Opinion

Three things the government can do to end homelessness

Media literacy is the only thing standing in the way of the next Andrew Tate
Bejay Mulenga

Media literacy is the only thing standing in the way of the next Andrew Tate

Most Popular

Read All
Lauren Layfield: 'Normal men, innocent men' and me
1.

Lauren Layfield: 'Normal men, innocent men' and me

Here's when people will get the next cost of living payment in 2023
2.

Here's when people will get the next cost of living payment in 2023

Where to find grants for furniture and carpets in 2023
3.

Where to find grants for furniture and carpets in 2023

Scotland aims to cut car use by creating '20-minute neighbourhoods' in net zero push
4.

Scotland aims to cut car use by creating '20-minute neighbourhoods' in net zero push