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– Get the buzz

October 8, 2012

Last weekend there was some perfect weather.  Early on Sunday the sky was lit by the morning sun shining from its special autumn place, kind of low in the sky spreading out broad, soft rays.  I set off to buy plants from other plant people in a little market square, even higher in the hills than here.  I drove around the endless curves, the result of hillside living, while the sun warmed the trees and the colours to such perfection that I got that feeling of being exactly in the moment.  The light was perfect; all I could see were trees, hills and light and I realised just how beautiful and amazing nature is and how lucky we are to live here.  I don’t know what those spiritually inclined people might call it but I felt incredibly happy, as if life was open and big and that we were inside it.  That probably doesn’t explain the feeling very well, but maybe a good comparison is the happy buzz you get after drinking very strong black coffee, that everything in the world is great.

I was concentrating on the difficult curves but all the while wondering what is it exactly, that can reach all the way from outside and touch something deep inside us and make that happy feeling?  And how does it happen, is it connecting with our brains or something more fundamental and emotional?

It must be to do with weird, connective energy or something.  Nature is trying to reach us and show us that we are part of something, that we have a real place in the wider picture; that everything is fine and we shouldn’t worry so much.  It’s hard for us mere humans to appreciate that nature is massively bigger than we are and that instead of just looking at it, we need to understand our part in the picture.  On rare occasions, like last weekend, something happens and we get some sense of it, but it’s transitory for us, we don’t have the ability to keep that feeling with us all the time, which is a shame because nature is there all the time.

I’ve been reading the stupendously lovely Narrow Dog to Wigan Pier by Terry Darlington, which I heartily recommend to everyone, and in this lovely book, interspersed with great observations about life, love and friendship there are some very evocative descriptions of nature as seen from a narrow boat.  It’s wonderful, sort of seeing the world from water level and from the back of the country, rather than the front, or the view that everyone sees from roads, obviously it helps to have someone as brilliantly eloquent and poetic as Terry Darlington at the helm.  Read it and be transported.

Thinking about that ‘buzz’ though, I wonder if it’s a matter of scale.  That being in big nature makes us feel small and insignificant beside huge pine trees and intensely powerful weather and because of that, we have started using all of our senses.  Hearing, smelling, seeing, feeling things, becoming aware of things.  Here in the autumn it’s impossible not to notice the scent that the pine trees are giving off after the intense heat of summer or the rich dampness of the soil, thirstily gulping down the rain and the feast to the eyes of flames dancing in the stove over the logs we cut last winter.

The shorter days now bring colourful sunsets and sudden darkness falls before we are ready for the day to end.  But we do notice that as we light our candles in the evening, we too are succumbing to nature’s rhythm.  Just as the birds flutter and jostle for a good roost outside in the oak tree, sleep creeps towards us even though it’s only nine o’clock in the evening.

In a way, there’s something right about being governed by nature’s clock.  It’s big, it’s powerful and we feel that it knows what’s best.  Unlike human governors, we don’t have to worry about nature’s ulterior motives.

I’m sure that somewhere in the world there are people who really believe that by buying the latest skinny jeans, trainers or iphone they’ll feel that buzz of wonderfulness.  But I think that maybe the anticipation of those buys is probably more intense than the eventual possession and definitely better than the moment of parting with a huge wad of cash.  And of course, once that purchase is made, that’s it, it’s all over.

I know it’s a bit of a journey from skinny jeans to an amazingly, stunning, tree-covered hillside on a bright autumnal morning in Andalucía but maybe, just knowing that buzz is out there every day and it doesn’t cost anything, I hope it will make people feel less owned by the hungry spendy monster.

(photo by Nacho Suárez Obel –

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