Don’t Remind Me About Nature

As I’m writing there’s a fair ol’ storm passing through outside – strong winds and plenty of rain. Later on this week there’s supposed to be another, worse one.

I’m sometimes struck by how much time I spend looking at weather forecasts online and making the best guess I can as to how to plan the week to get some riding in. I’ve heard it said that if you could know the future you wouldn’t really want to – it would make life too dull. If I could have certainty about the weather over the next seven days I’d take it without hesitation.

This morning’s jaunt was very much a case of grabbing the opportunity as the rest of the week isn’t promising; but then, neither was last week and I nearly did my regular 100 miles.

Anyway, that’s why I was out riding when it was slightly colder than ideal, later in the day than I like, on roads that were greasy-slippery in town in places like junctions and roundabouts, and wet and debris-strewn out in the country because of fairly heavy overnight rain. The latter makes perfect puncture conditions and so it proved – a rapid deflation near Sulham.

As I was pulling up to fix it I was forming an appropriate curse for the Vredestein tyres I put on the other week as this is the second flat in just a few days but it was quickly obvious that that wouldn’t be fair. The flint that did the damage was still in the tyre and was vicious enough to do damage to a car tyre, let alone a high pressure bike tyre.

I fixed it in the entrance to a house’s driveway, with a Robin watching me from the top of a wall – slightly above my head, not three feet away. It’s tempting to say something anodyne such as ‘it’s a privilege to be able to look at a bird from such a short distance’, or to make some kind of comment about the bird being trusting or something. That would all be bunkum, of course.

There was no trust involved – I was probably invading its territory. That, or it thought I might be a source of food. And if privilege was involved, who was granting it? How’s it been earned? It was just one of those things.

But it did give me pleasure to be able to see a wild bird up close. The closer you can study one, the more you can see how subtle and intricate the markings are on even a ‘common’ bird like a Robin; the better you can see how delicate they are.

A problem with getting up close with ‘nature’ is that it reminds me, reasonably forcefully, that for the most part humanity’s relationship is with it is truly foul. And the pessimist in me thinks it’s too late to redress the balance. Ignorance, bliss, out of sight, out of mind and all that.