Eco-Thought X

My trip to England was interesting. It outlined the nostalgia I have for a greener, wetter climate. In Spain, I live in the midst of nature, and I love it, but it’s not the one I grew up with. Here, it is dry and covered with pines, a result of heavy deforestation that left only the quick growing trees to recover. I grew up with an abundance of green and deciduous trees.

We visited several parks, and I had the sensation of an inner thirst being quenched, and the song birds seemed to sing a richer song here, too, or perhaps evoked something more familiar in me. The birds there are more trusting because there’s less history of hunting songbirds.

On the other hand I’m aware that England (specifically the South East) is “tamed” nature. I might miss it, but I know that living there can feel oppressive in another sense because, although there is a lot of nature, it lacks a “wild” quality. It’s all contained by human activity; every corner feels civilised and inhabited by humans. SE England feels cared for and nature is given a sympathetic space to grow and express itself, but it can be cloying. Spain feels ruined and abandoned, scarred by centuries of misuse and little care or sympathy, but this also means that there are corners that have escaped the human gaze (the “benefits” of negligence, you might say), and where really wild creatures can flourish. Spain can (just about) boast of wolves, bears, lynxes and wild boar, which have inhabited the British Isles but have since seen extinction there because of human intervention.

I’m reminded by the expression “grass is always greener on the other side.” There are pros and cons to either argument. Living in either, I can find things to be dissatisfied by. But this is outweighed by the benefits. I have nostalgia for my native England, and it’s good to have a “top-up” now and then, but I don’t think I could limit myself to it.

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