It is with envy as I make my way to work, that I pass a fingerpost pointing away from the busy road. It takes my eye away from the bumper of the car in front of me and through the gap in the hedge to, well, who knows where.
I’ve never walked this path, and countless others like it. Just the mere sight of an untrodden path and the mystery of where it might go leads to an adventure-hungry excitement.
Maybe some paths aren’t meant to be explored in the physical sense. They may be the ones to walk along in the mind, calming the flow of thoughts through the conscious, creating a kind of utopia over the hedge. There’s the fear that what lies beyond will not live up to expectations, which happens just as much as the reverse, when the path exceeds hopes, and becomes immortal in the memory.
I tend to find that the feeling I take away from a path or series of paths has a lot to do with the weather on the day that I first tread them. An average walk with perfect conditions can easily eclipse a stunning walk with dreadful conditions.
In honesty, I don’t think I will ever tread my morning path. Probably because the thought of not knowing is of far more use to me that the fact of knowing.
It is with great pleasure that we welcome spring time. In the past week I have seen my first bees of the year, green shoots in the hedgerows and pink blossom coming through.
I’ve always loved seeing the white blossom of Hawthorn, either because it’s earliest coming into bloom or because of its white brilliance.
Easily though, the best aspect of spring is the dawn chorus. Trying to identify specific birds can be difficult, but nowadays there is a plethora of resource available online to help us work out what is around us. With some species, the cuckoo being a prime example, it is more common to hear them than see them. I’ve never seen a cuckoo but have heard them on many occasions.
Spring really is my favourite time of year, despite the topsy-turvy weather. It really is a great time of year for all of the senses – sight, sound and smell particularly. And when it’s over? The pure elegance of summer.
After a couple of weeks despairing over losing what we have, I thought I’d lighten the mood a little today by writing about my weekend where I got out and enjoyed what we have instead. After all, if I spent all my life fighting for something I’d probably neglect to enjoy it during the process too, leading to an awkward paradox.
In preparation for my ultra marathon in a few weeks time I went and ran some of the route on Sunday morning. It was the best day weather wise of the long Easter weekend, a little chilly but bright.
The route is a hilly one, but the paths, trees and views help you forget all of that in no time.
The woodland that I ran through were flooded with spring sunlight and birdsong. The brown woodland floor starting to turn green in the glades and a few wildflowers popping up, such as the Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa).
Among the many highlights were hearing the woodpeckers drilling, seeing buzzards soaring and seeing the first bees of the year. My favourite part was glimpsing a fox across the field as it nonchalantly trotted away, occasionally pausing to glance back at me as if he were daring me to pursue him.
It truly is a beautiful part of the county, if not the country altogether. After considering the countryside we have lost, I’m proud we’ve managed to keep hold of some – and may it always be so.
Despite my rugged, muscular, ‘man of the mountains’ aura (sic) that I possess, I do have a sensitive side. A few years back, I felt sensitive enough to put my feelings down on paper in poetry form of how I was feeling about some proposed housing developments on designated green belt land near the town where I live. I was quite pleased with the result, not because it was good (it wasn’t) but for the fact that for the first time, I had actually hit the nail on the head with what I wanted to say without being vague and dancing around the subject. The title of this as-yet-to-be-published ditty was Progress.
I called it so in a ironic, sarcastic way as in my view, carving up the green belt was far from progress. After all, how can sacrificing greenery and its own delicate ecosystems in favour of bricks, mortar, cars and concrete be a sign of progress? Councils have the habit of removing green belt status from any previous green belt land as and when they see fit. In my view it makes a mockery of all the systems and policies in place. If green belt can be reassigned, what about conservation areas, SSSIs, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or even National Parks? Is it just something to revoke when the call is made?
Apart from having nice spaces to look at, humans need them. More importantly, so does the planet. The planet seems to be the biggest loser among all of this ‘progress’, having to contend with our materialistic existence and demands to move quicker at whatever costs. Green spaces, clean air and generally exercising outdoors have been proven to promote healthy bodies and minds. With diabetes, obesity and mental illness on the rise, could there be a link between lack of open space, natural beauty and increased urbanisation and these human conditions? Maybe. A huge part of the problem though is down to increased industrialisation and automation making the human race and labour redundant. With nothing for us to fill the void left by an honest day’s work, we have to look towards other things that ultimately make us unhappy – the never-ending vacuum of material want.
All of this is bringing me more questions than ideas, and not wanting to ramble, this is the end – for now. Which is why it is called Part One!
It would be interesting to hear your thoughts, ideas, or experiences from your lives, cultures and environments too.