I set out to write this blog to share my everyday experience of the Ocean with you. One thing I’m pretty sure blogs should be good at is honesty…so I’m going to be honest. I have been suffering from writer’s block. I haven’t written a new blog for a month and no matter how many interesting articles I read, I can’t seem to engage enough with one in order to write about it.
I have been back in London for 7 months now…I can’t quite believe it’s been that long! I’m not sure how many of you have lived in London but it is relentless. You don’t stop, and when you do you either spend the whole time feeling guilty for stopping or you are so ill you are forced to. This is why your time flies and as time flies you start to realise what you sacrifice in order to keep up. It is often what nourishes you the most that suffers, and for me that is my engagement with our Ocean.
Three weeks ago however I found myself standing looking out over the Irish Sea and watching, in awe, as two dolphins raced through the water to round up their catch. For the next twenty minutes everything stood still and I was completely enraptured by this beautiful moment.
Some time after this I found myself reflecting on how rare that moment of serenity had been for me. I have somehow submitted to the intoxicating pace of London life and in doing so forgone these wonderful moments in nature. It also struck me that in order to experience this one moment I had got on a plane, caught a train and hiked. Just for one single moment connecting to anything other than ourselves.
I have been lucky to forge a life in which I know nature. I have been brought up in a family which spent our time roaming the sand dunes in Northumberland or jumping out of brambles in Black Down Forest or crashing through the waves in Cornwall. I spent my childhood covered in mud or water or sand and probably most the time all three. I helped my mum pluck and disembowel pheasants when I still needed a stool to reach the sink. I painted the birds that fed off our garden with my dad. I have watched the killing of a cow and helped skin it. I have seen animals in the wild. I have seen salmon swim upstream. I engaged in nature and it engaged with me.
What hit me when I saw those two dolphins was the realisation that I was the minority. Most city dwellers do not have all these experiences.
For seven months now my home has been a concrete jungle. I feel disconnected with the Ocean. The powerful inspiration I’m used to when writing has waned. Do not doubt, I still care deeply but I cannot feel, touch or smell what I love. I rarely engage with nature and it rarely engages with me. So this is what I wonder…
How can we inspire the billions of city dwellers across the globe to protect our planet if their jungle has only ever been concrete?