I might have been seduced by the bright lights of the city for a while, but I’m really glad to be back here with bum on wet stile and sea bird noise instead of the press of tube and traffic. Because there’s something about it I need – perhaps we all need – in order to maintain my well being. And I think that something is contact with the natural elements of the earth, the seasons and cycles.
We may well be able to buy daffodils in November, live by artificial light in artificial conditions and keep the winter chill from indoors, but I think it makes us feel out of sync when we lose all contact with the natural rhythms that were once part of our daily lives.
I believe the human psyche is in as much need of fallow periods as the fields are and the animal kingdom is for its hibernatory times. We are in as much need of seasons as the plant kingdom is with its growth spurts in spring, bounteous production in summer and sloughing off of dead leaves in autumn. There is an awareness within me that thrives on the same seasonal changes. I am as energised when the day is lightening at three in the morning, as I am drowsy behind the winter drawn curtains.
Where I live the seasonal changes go hand in hand with our daily living. Right now as the cows are being taken into winter quarters I feel like holing up behind winter curtains. In spring they come out onto the fresh grass like a gang of teenagers on ecstasy making me feel the spring in my step too. The summer migrant birds have flown but been replaced by the excited arrival of the wild geese for the winter. They graze the winter wheat and decorate the sky with skeins of moving crosses stretched out across the marshland. The garden birds return to the bird table for feeding now that the berries and insects are becoming in short supply – as my diet changes with the disappearance of the soft summer fruits off the markets replaced by stocky root vegetables.
It all reminds me that however man-made we make our life styles, however much we batten down the earth with concrete, breathe in air conditioning, and eat strawberries at Christmas, there are actually parts of us that are needy for seasonal cycles. And when I am out of touch with them, I am out of touch with my complete well being. I am out of touch with the very roots of my existence; the earth.
The danger is that if we are all so out of touch with the earth, then we will be out of touch with the earth’s well being too and have no conscience about how we destroy it for our own comfort.
So even though we’re back to the short, dark days, the inconvenient weather and the finger curling temperatures first thing in the morning we perhaps need to recognise that it is something we all need – something we should all heed; our connection to the earth. I wouldn’t swap it for the world!