The last few days have been fairly frantic as I have been in the process in that oh so enjoyable of tasks – moving house. It has therefore involved a lot of traveling in various forms. Nonetheless, it has reminded me how, even if your day to day life seems excessively busy, there is still time to appreciate the natural world around you. Indeed, it is a reminder that it is always present.
A couple of years ago I wrote about the art of walking, reflecting on Henry David Thoreau’s essay Walking, or to be more specific in using his term of the act itself – sauntering. The last few days have involved a lot of walking from a to b, often repeating small journeys, carrying items from one place to another. By repeating journeys one becomes more acutely aware of the route and, if we choose to acknowledge it, the ‘nature’ within and ‘nature’ of that route. For example, simply taking account of the ash tree and silver birch I would regularly pass on my way from the flat to the car would make the whole experience far more pleasant. After all, who enjoys the process of moving ordinarily?!
Similarly, when driving, in this case from Cirencester to Bristol, I made sure to be more aware of the ‘nature’ on the route (as well as keeping an eye on the road!). As I zoomed past the Gloucestershire hedgerows it reminded me that I must find and read a copy of John Wright’s recent book A Natural History of the Hedgerow: and ditches, dykes and dry stone walls. Hedgerows are a key feature of our landscape and provide continuity and positive aesthetic as well as being a key habitat for small birds and thousands of insects. It is however very easy to take them for granted. The past few days have reminded me that, even if your schedule means that you cannot spend large amounts of time outdoors you can still experience a little bit of ‘wild’.