It was a beautiful sunny day as I lay out on our lawn and watched my daughter play in the gravel. In the background lay our view over the valley, peeking through the neighbours’ houses.
There is a juxtaposition there, that often catches me: The peaceful chirping of birds amongst the light hum of the traffic below in the valley. It makes me yearn for a chance to be in that same spot back when this hill was forest covered, free of outside noise and untamed in its landscape.
How I wish I could stop the ever growing snowball of replacing the natural with the artificial. The human race is an unstoppable force, however, so instead in my day-to-day I focus on rewinding the damage only in my own life.
Some days though, when I feel the strain of always being the one to swim up stream, I wonder why I choose to stick it out in a civilization that seems to, at every turn, replace natural solutions with more problematic, man-made ones.
People are constantly trying to minimize the effort needed to live, but with that we have removed exercise from our day-to-day. We have damaged our posture with soft seats and hard soled shoes, and polluted our bodies with diets not fit for us or the animals and crops sacrificed to feed us.
And on a mental level, people no longer respect themselves as animals. There is an expectation to discard our natural instincts, to even distrust them, and to feel ashamed of our unaltered bodies and desires.
Then, to what end? Our lives are filled with endless possibilities, but at what price? The constant background buzz of traffic and airplanes that turns an otherwise peaceful silence into continual sub-conscious stress, also penetrates our minds. There seems to be an infinite list of to-do items always buzzing in the back of our brains, and our lives are led through endless goal posts towards a never-here present.
‘I could go live in the forest,’ I think. ‘Find a few like minded people, start a tribe, and go back to how things were before all the corruption.’ But then I remember what I find myself attached to in this world.
I think of all the friends and family I have across the globe, that I can talk to and connect with whenever I want, from the comfort of my own bed here in Scotland.
I think of the vast pool of knowledge that is inches away from me at any moment on the web, available for whenever I want to know something.
And then there are the safety and comforts of this world.
It is very likely that all of my children will reach adulthood, and that I will live a long life.
I can buy any food I want, whenever I want, instead of hunting for it.
My home is always warm and safe.
So, the buzz continues. Watching my daughter play in the gravel, I instead hope for a compromise. I hope that I can teach her to respect herself and this earth in ways her peers don’t. So that she and I, and anyone we may influence, may slowly increase the vote for the type of health and happiness that is long lived.
And while I do not expect to change the human race, what I do hope for is this: To make a future that always holds a safe harbour for both the natural world and those who wish to reconnect with it. To keep the knowledge and the support available to those who seek it, and to give our children’s children a forest to walk through.