Nature Boy

Sometimes I wish I’d stayed in London. Occasionally I dream of the place. I dream of the narrow streets, the wet weather, the green gardens, the endless architecture and damned culture and sophistication. I even fondly remember the garbage bags, the tube and the gypsy cabs.

But I never think fondly of the London night sky. In my memory, it glows yellow. The seemingly permanent low clouds reflecting the glowing city. Claustrophobia.

London night view (kosalabandara via Flickr)

As a child, I remember the awe of seeing the unencumbered night sky for the first time. We were on holiday, out in the country, and I was old enough to be up after dark. Mum and dad were hustling my brothers and I from the Kingswood to the cabin and were flustered. They were trying to get us to bed. But I looked up and saw the naked stars for the first time. The expanse and depth. The universe. Awe.

London’s phosphorescent mist though was conjured from a medieval scene. Nature had long been diminished.

Humanity has been collapsing inevitably into cities for decades. Young families chase opportunity in the tight spaces of cities and suburbs.

Sometimes I just ache to be out of the city. To breathe.

A three day road trip to Tweed heads would seems like boredom to some, but country roads, clean air, and good company sound like heaven on earth. Camping with a mate. Swimming in the Ocean.

All of the cells in my body relax. I no longer care about my mortgage or my family.

In the ‘burbs there are parks, but the landscape is dead. Suburban parks that are under-watered, over-planned and joyless places. Nature does not belong in the suburbs; it has to lurk in the shadows and creeks. It is dominated by traffic, shopping centres, and fence-lines.

My male friends change when down the coast or hiking in the forest or walking the land. They shine.

In nature you realise how unimportant you really are, how petty most of your desires are, how pointless most of your anxieties are, and how generous the natural world is.

So whenever I start to yearn for those heady London days again, I remember the cloaked night sky. I remember that while I was there part of me wanted to leave so badly.

%d bloggers like this: