Thursday, 27 July 2017

The great outdoors

Following on nicely from yesterday's post where I talked about how much I loved our school holidays, it suddenly struck me that it wasn't just being out of school I loved; it was being outdoors.

I'm sure some people are born to love the wonders of 'mother nature' whilst other's are born to not like a thing about it; some people can learn to love all that we are spoiled with wgich lies before us, others will never like anything other than the concrete jungle they may live in.

Me? I believe I was born loving it, with my passion for it fuelled ever more by the long walks my Mum would take me on as a kid (I can even remember being pushed along a dirt track when I was still in a stroller). When I got big enough to walk myself she'd take me down an old railway line, explaining to me how it was formed, talking to me about what plants were growing on the sides of the steep banks, how they survived, what their seasons were. She'd take me to the local woods and explain about the different types of trees. birds and fungi. She'd sit with me in the garden and talk to me about what happens when the sun goes down, explaining how we get so many different colours. Some nights she'd wake me while I was sleeping, take me outside telling me to "look up" where above my head the most amazing meteor shower would be going on. We'd lay on the grass in the summer watching the big white fluffy clouds pass by overhead, making out shapes in them as they went about their business; changing in a split second from a dinosaur to a fluffy bunny to an old witch.

Then there was my Dad, whose job saw me able to explore so much of the countryside on this beautiful island I live on which I am happy to call "home". I've seen the red sands of Teignmouth, the rocky outcrops of Cornwall, the golden sands of Great Yarmouth. I've had my breath taken away by the fog lifting from Mount Snowdon and revelled in the snow capped peak of Ben Nevis (I was 6 the first time I climbed it). I've seen views further than the eye should be able to see. I've stood in shallow rivers with minnows rushing around my feet, avoided the eels passing by in the deeper water. I've watched waves crash upon the shoreline and experienced them breaching their retaining walls, drenching me as I wandered along a promenade. I've witnessed red forked lightning zigzag above my head, dancing over the trees in the woods which surrounded me; I've even seen a tree branch sheered off from it's trunk when hit by a bolt of lightning. I've experienced the earth literally vibrating from a thunderbolt.  I've learned about slipper orchids, dandelions and wood anemones. 

I've seen skies of every colour, from purple to grey, blue to green, red to orange, yellow to pink, with every other imaginable shade in between. All of this I have experienced on the little island I live upon. We have some truly amazing coastlines around the UK, a lot of which I have been lucky enough to explore. I've seen what the power of water can do to sand and limestone rocks. Durdle Door is a great example of how the power of the sea can create a 'natural wonder'. 

I'm grateful I've not had to experience an earthquake or tornado, although they fascinate me just the same. We had a hurricane here once, back in 1987, but I slept through it. I did awaken just the once to pee and heard what sounded like a plant pot bouncing around the garden, yet thought nothing else of it. It was only when I got up the next morning I realised how bad it had been - back in those days I could sleep through anything. 

I love how in some parts of the world the earth literally boils. This planet we live on is amazing. We are so very lucky. 

At school my favourite subject (the only subject I enjoyed) was Geography, and not all parts of it. I loved the geology side of it all. Rock porn gets me far more excited about life than the type of porn I know most people enjoy (I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say porn does absolutely nothing for me; watching other people get themselves off doesn't interest me in the slightest). Now, don't get me wrong, rock porn doesn't excite me in the way human porn excites people who enjoy it, but there is something exhilarating about gazing upon a mountain, the striations of the rock layers. Even a little rocky outcrop no more than 10 feet high can make my heart sing. To think they are ever changing; nothing about them is the same from one second to the next. The wind and rain attack inland, whilst the sea attacks the coastline. It's constantly changing before our very eyes. Ok, so you may not be able to see what's happening because the changes are so minute, yet still they happen, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. 

I think this is why my yearning to be in America again is getting stronger by the day. Everything the American's do is on a grander scale to us. We have an 80ft pine tree; they have a 300ft giant redwood. We have the Spinnaker Tower, they have the Space Needle. We have Mount Snowdon, they have Mount Rainier, we have Durdle Door, they have Arches National Park. The landscapes I briefly got to see as we whizzed by on the coach looked like the most amazing places on earth. We have a man-made fountain in a small park area; they have Old Faithful, a truly amazing, wonderful phenomena. We have wild pigs wandering our local forests; they have grizzly bears!! 

I'm not saying what they have is any better than what we have - bigger does not equal better - but they have different, and I so want to experience different. I don't just want, I need, to stand on the spot where the earth boils. Running around a boardwalk snapping off a photo or 2 as I went was lovely, but it wasn't enough - yes, I really am greedy. I didn't get to feel anything (other than out of breath where it was such a rush). I sat still long enough to watch Old Faithful blow, then had to rush off again because we were already running behind. I saw the cedar pass visitors centre at the Badlands, never getting to stand and look out over the valleys of ancient sea beds which were below. I saw glimpses of sunsets as the world blurred by;  I saw rivers as we crossed them, never getting to dip my toes in the water, to feel it's coldness as it rushed by me. I didn't get to sit in an area of outstanding natural beauty and watch as the sun made it transit from the part of the world I was in, to a part of the world thousands of miles away.

Don't get me wrong; I am extremely grateful for the small amount I did get to do and see, and I know how lucky I was to be able to experience just the small amounts I did, but I'm greedy; it wasn't enough. I want more and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I can't do it on my own - those of you who read this regularly will know why, yet that doesn't stop the yearning to be out there. To show the kids there is more to this life than the shit they've had to deal/live with - of course, if they could also see a bear that would make the whole trip for them (not too close though; I'm happy to see all wildlife, as long as it's from a safe distance :) )

Yep, I think it's definitely safe to say I am an 'Outdoor' kinda girl :) 

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