Who else is missing nature right now? I know I am. During the current crisis many of us have had to become accustomed to spending more time surrounded by four walls. The problem is that what you do most of the time becomes the new normal, doesn’t it?
People are slowly beginning to emerge from lockdown in many countries, and in the Czech Republic most things are almost back to normal. One more week and most restrictions will have been lifted. One more week of face masks, at least the compulsory use anyway. One more week of no schools, until a weird sanitised form will be reintroduced for those who need it. One more week until people can really begin to relax. But will we?
Nature was supposed to be the escape during all of this. Get away from the town and get some fresh air. The problem is that everyone else felt the same desperation and before you knew it the forests were full and the town centres were empty. Then we faced a weird choice. If we wanted some freedom we actually had to return to the human creations, heading away from what should have been more natural.
But when we are forced to do this, and we begin our search, we may realise that we were living in beauty all along. Try it yourself, spend some time in the town and really open your eyes. The search for oases in the town can be rewarding, and perhaps we will take this new awareness with us as we move back to a more normal world. Maybe we will protect these small spots of peace and beauty more vigorously than we once did.
Will we continue to enjoy the peace of the town, or will we head back to nature once the masses return to their usual retail therapy? My greatest fear is that the paranoia of being in crowds could become so ingrained that we will constantly be on the lookout for solitude. Could the sight of bare faces become one that sends us scurrying for cover?
I hope, and believe, that this will not be the case. We were already living in a more socially distanced world, and the current situation has only exaggerated that. I trust that most people will be desperate for human contact again, and it could even teach them what they were missing out on in the first place. We may not have realised it, but we were already drifting apart. Now could be the time to truly begin to commune with each other once again, and enjoy every haven of beauty we can find.
Words © Neil Hayes and neilhayeswrites