Saturday, 12 October 2013

Freedom in the City

To my friend,
Something that book (The Practice of the Wild, Gary Snyder) told me: we can go to the wild places and go back to the cities keeping them safe in our hearts. We can treasure them for what they are, but we should also treasure the beauty in the cities as well. There are glimmers of hope and joy everywhere we go, and it's about seeking them with just joy.

Where my friend got married there were robins flying all about us when we were saying goodbye outside the next day. Little darts of wings and happiness and they were beautiful. Or what about all the fallen leaves that litter the pavements at the moment? All they (and I) want is for someone to kick through them - one of life's greatest pleasures. It would make my week to see a suited and booted business man kicking through the leaves. The rowan trees are laden with berries, and the birches are creating snow whether they're in a far distant glen or whether they're in Edinburgh city.
What I'm trying to say is look around you. Appreciate where you are, at that moment. The world is hip and beautiful and constantly changing and we need to open our eyes and see and appreciate the change. Walk without an umbrella. Okay, it’s a cliché, but it’s one for a reason – cause it’s so damn good! Feel the rain pouring down your face and (this is the important bit) GRIN. Smile till it hurts and the world will smile with you. You’ll feel companionship with others around you – okay, it may be because they’re laughing at you, but who cares? I certainly don’t and you shouldn’t either. They’re nothing to you, just people, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll inspire them to skip through the puddles as well. Maybe.

Put your hand up if you like pigeons. Probably not, right? Why not? Apart for showing brilliant city evolution and adaptation they are easy to admire. Hear the coo-mroo of the amorous male (hot damn...why aren't human females serenaded before courtship?) as he struts with puffed up feathers. See them as they scurry about your feet, enthusiastically picking up bits of food that *we've* dropped. They're not the messy ones; we are. And, as a bonus – they’re everywhere. They’re not hard to find, and they’re easy to admire. It’s been drilled into us that they’re a pest, and it’s true that in some aspects they are. But no more so than we are, in fact, far less than we are; for they do not destroy and cause destruction of natural things. They may destroy (very slowly…) our man-made buildings etc., but a building can be rebuilt. Can a habitat?

I'm not saying forget the wild places (never!) but if you're feeling desolate and counting down the days till your next escape to the countryside just look around you. All is not lost. A wee glimmer of beauty in the city may just keep your going until you manage to saturate your soul in the wild again.

You know who you are. Go forth and smile and watch the leaves falling and tumbling and twisting. And hey, smile at the next passer-by and say to them 'gorgeous day, innit?' - say it whether it's pouring, or snowing, or shining with glorious light, for we are alive and the least we can do is share that.