In recent weeks I have experienced some of the most wonderful days and what made them so was that they involved the winning formula of nature and good company. Nothing flashy. Nothing purchased. No long-distance travel. Just nature and friends.
Spring makes me fall in love with the countryside all over again. When the sun is shining – or even if it’s not – there really are fewer places I’d rather be than in the great outdoors amidst the elements, blinded by the bright yellow hues of the rapeseed or feeling the soft breeze of the sea on my face.
It’s been five years since I moved to Kent and the landscape back in Hertfordshire just does not compare, sporadic bits of beauty sliced apart by the likes of the M25 or Watford (a wonderful place in many ways, and also home, but my gosh it’s ugly, and if you don’t believe me just Google Streetview the Rickmansworth Road!). Five years is long enough to have visited most of the key areas of a county, as I have done, but there are still plenty of little villages and hamlets out there to experience, and I love discovering them.
I think we can learn an awful lot from nature and it’s no surprise that the likes of Thich Nhat Hanh use it as the basis for spiritual metaphors:
For me, nature distinguishes between what we need, and what we want. These are two areas that are often blurred into one and consequently leave people feeling unaccomplished for no real reason. We want many things and feel that we may struggle without those things… but we don’t actually need those things, and knowing the difference between the two is conducive to contentment. Much like the natural landscape that surrounds us, the only thing we really need is life. That’s it. There are ways to deal and cope with the absence of everything else, once you look for them. It may all sound obvious – because it is – and perhaps that’s why it’s so surprising that as humans we can all be horrendously guilty of getting overly concerned or frustrated by things that really don’t matter at all, because they’re not intrinsic to our ability to just be.
On those recent, enjoyable outings I referred to above, we didn’t need to pay a penny for the sun to shine on us, or for the sight of lambs bounding about in the fields. We didn’t need to pay to look at the pretty yellow rapeseed, or to hear the sound of the birds in the trees. We didn’t need to top-up a machine to ensure that the waves kept rippling in relentlessly whilst we were at the beach, or activate an app to tell us how to walk up a hill.
We didn’t need to do anything, because life – in this instance in it’s natural form – was all we needed.
I bloody love Spring, and Kent.
Song of the Day: Public Service Broadcasting – Lit Up
Simply stunning; I love the concept behind music like this – combining historic samples with cutting edge musical technology. Enjoy. You will. Especially the final minute and a half.