jusummerhayes

Nature

This is one of my favourite pictures taken close to my house.

It captures the quintessence of my locus, especially the rutted lanes, the upright, stoic trees and the smell of all things agricultural.

"Tis propar Devonshire" — as we say in these parts.

Looking at it now, I still find it haunting and quite moving but more than that, it's a way to rustle up the memories of old and connect with my truest, deepest self. 

Or, to put it another way, I'm one with my surroundings — there's no separation, no division and I'm awash with the quixotic reverie that only nature offers.

And of course, I'm very lucky.

Let me say that again.

I'm extraordinarily lucky, and there's not a single day that goes by where I don't have to pinch myself of that fact.

There is, though, another part to my psyche which lives in a constant state of terror, namely, the fact that one day all this will be gone or certainly it will be so diminished that my kids and theirs will never experience that hot flush of love and connection I've been blessed to experience all these years — all 53 of them.

Perhaps I'm overstating the case — it wouldn't be the first time! -- but the shock and grief I feel in bearing witness to all those gut-wrenching images of loss, destruction and death from the four corners of the earth, only serves to remind me that even my sleepy little patch of South Devon isn't or won't be immune from the egregious, death-dealing thumbprint (or should I say size 11 Jackboot?) of climate change et al. 

Yes, like it or not, almost like some doomsday scenario, all this will be gone or the landscape will be eviscerated to the point where, well, I can't even begin to fathom it. 

And that's why, or at least I think it's why, I now feel compelled to speak more openly, more vividly, more angrily about the unfolding crises. 

Excuse the vernacular but, for the first time in a long while, I can feel my give-a-shit shackles rising and I want to bring my energy and zeal to bear on an issue that I feel passionate about.

Truth is, this isn't new. Few things bring me to tears but for as long as I can remember seeing nature harmed or diminished (or any living thing come to think of it) has always made me cry — keening occasionally — but now that feeling is intensified by living through Covid19 and knowing that, if only we'd stop harming the planet, things could be so different. 

Applying (of course) a bit of common sense and decency, I'm not going to indulge my sensibilities to the point where: a) I get struck off by my legal regulator, or b) dismissed by my (current) employer, but I do intend, to the very best of my ability, to push the angsty envelope as far as I can. 

To be clear, being pi**ed off is not the same thing as being wise and I do want to think through how I can use all my gifts and experience to make the biggest difference in the space. Direct action might be in the mix but I think it more likely I volunteer for a charity in pursuit of a legal challenge or campaign. (Right now, I'm exploring the work of Edward Abbey, he of Desert Solitaire fame, and I'm finding that deeply inspiring as well as a little melancholic. )

Why am I telling you any of this?

Well, I'd like to think that give or take the odd Karmic shove, you too might feel in your bones that the way we live or would like to isn't going to offer any future to our kids or certainly they're going to have to adapt and do without so much of what we've taken for granted; but then again, you might think this all too much. And I get it. I really do. You might think how can little ol' me make a happeth of difference? You probably can't but I still believe that if only we changed the dialogue and/or narrative (i.e. the cultural imperative) we might do more than a little more navel-gazing (that last comment is aimed squarely at me dear readers). Certainly from my experience, the narrative qua business and in our personal lives is still too preoccupied with the neoliberal project and that has to change if we're going to stop this once pristine world falling off a cliff.

Anyhow, that's my two penneth for now.

Have a wonderful day.

Much love, Ju


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