It’s been a British summer of the ideal type – lots of weather and so plenty to complain about. But today it is sunny and I should be outside soaking up some vitamin D before rickets set in. However, here I sit, typing random ideas, and easing muscles after a steamy stripping session in the bathroom. At least the old 1960s wallpaper is now gone.
The nicest thing that has happened this summer is that the swallows have come back to nest in the new porch after we tore down their old nesting site in the garage. If only we had had more sunny weekends I could have indulged myself completely in watching the baby swallows learn to fly. However, in compensation they are nesting right next to the kitchen window so I have been able to watch the parents dashing in and out with food for the kids while I am doing the washing up.
Why do we get such pleasure from watching these kind of events? I just can’t get tired of it. Everything is so beautifully balanced and harmonious, and swallows in particular are exhilarating to watch – joy incarnate.
I remember once seeing a programme with Stephen Fry where he said something to the effect that nature was incapable of being ugly. Desolate, sad, or frightening perhaps, but not ugly. The local sparrow hawk is a case in point; many of are amazed by its power and speed and sheer magnificence even as it swoops down to breakfast on the birds feeding on our bird tables.
Essentially for me I find that the natural world produces some intense emotions (read “Last Chance to See” by Douglas Adams for good examples of this – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Chance-See-Douglas-Adams/dp/0330320025/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218984279&sr=8-1). I feel a sense of connection, even if it’s negative, for example getting cold and wet in a rain storm without a proper coat or umbrella. This in turn reinforces my sense of being alive and part of the world.
It’s also true that I can get moments of joy from human environments – not just from people, who are usually “natural”, but also from architecture, art, music. Perhaps it’s more about experiencing something greater than myself and that is when I feel in touch with the divine, whatever that may be.