Reality Changes

A few days away, no cycling and doing more walking than I normally do, and if legs could make a noise they’d have been creaking today. Mind you, matters weren’t helped by the fairly cold, fairly strong north-westerly wind – it made it a bit of a grind at times.

As I rode by the river in Pangbourne there was a pleasure boat on the river with a family onboard – very much looking the part of holiday-makers. At least it wasn’t raining. Seeing them was a reminder of just how late in the year it actually is, and how early in the year it feels. If you can remove yourself from the dictates of the clock and the calendar and instead go by feel – how time feels to be passing, what time of year it feels to be because of the weather and so on – then ‘reality’ changes significantly.

Photo: Buttercups filling a field in Spring

Yellow in abundance, here near Upper Basildon, Berkshire

On the other hand, if you ignore the temperature and the wind and look at the vegetation then it’s looking like late Spring. Many plants have come on early this year … but some others have made a start but are now ‘on hold’ as nature waits for it to warm up again. Nature is nothing if not responsive – and remarkably adaptable. (It’s also looking very yellow now in parts, complimenting the white hedgerows of recent weeks – buttercups as well as rapeseed fields.)

I guess the foolish thing is how un-adaptable we humans are. In the ‘advanced’ countries at least, we’ve devised such complicated social systems that we can’t respond to anything as elemental as the weather unless we’re forced to – floods or similar. Holidays have to be taken when holidays are taken. Hours have to be worked as pre-ordained. When we sleep, when we eat, when we do pretty well anything and everything is all dictated by external absolutes – clocks and calendars, contracts and commitments and all their concomitant consequences. We’re largely incapable of being responsive in our actions, either to how we feel or how the world feels to us. It does make you wonder how sensible our sophisticated systems actually are.