And so it’s Earth Day, but I confess I don’t get outside enough.
That’s something I’ve realised over the last few months. I’ve always labelled myself as an indoorsy type, but the more I think about it, the more I realise I’m impoverishing myself.
Part of this realisation was accidentally looking up at the night sky and realising that I could see Venus. The idea was a little overwhelming – being able to see another world while putting out the binbags? There’s something amazing about that.
Then there’s the sound of running water. It’s relaxing, peaceful. My parents used to own a caravan next to a river, and I loved being able to sit on the bank and read and pray in the silence. Haven’t done something like that for a long time.
And that reminds me – I once saw a mole there, digging away, and I watched him, fascinated, because the closest I’d come to seeing a mole before that was The Wind in the Willows.
Hippos. They fascinate me too. I was at the West Midlands Safari Park one and I was just mesmerised by the hippos. I can’t even explain why, because they were smelly and they didn’t do anything particularly entertaining, such as juggling, but still I stood there, staring at them.
Maybe there’s a simple explanation. Maybe it’s because, despite pollution and corruption and my naive discomfort with nature being red in tooth and claw, the world is a wonderful place. I’ve sailed close to Niagara Falls, heard the roar of the torrent, got my hair wet. It’s amazing and beautiful.
So no, I don’t go outside as much as I should. Maybe there’s a part of me that thinks I don’t need to. After all, I can see all the moles I want on the internet.
But that’s the thing, isn’t it? I go outside, I see something cool, I don’t embrace the moment, I whip out my iPhone and start filming. Up goes the barrier between me and the natural world. Who’d’ve thought that, even when I’m outdoors, I’m still indoors somehow?
But I compost and recycle and grow tomatoes, and that makes me feel good and noble, and that slightly cancels out the fact that I don’t know how half the food in my fridge actually gets there, not really. “A truck takes it to a shop” isn’t really an adequate answer. But then I don’t get outside enough.
I really should…