The Animal Within

A nuthatch on a feeder in my garden as I left; a close encounter, certainly closer than I’d expect, with a female Roe deer and one youngster near Exlade Street; considerate drivers; cheery-enough cyclists; one of those fleeting eye-contact moments with a builder when he dropped a tool as I rode by and the mutual smiles that provoked; the rain holding off and the wind not getting up. All in all, a decent ride. My legs weren’t up to much but you can’t have everything.

Following on from yesterday’s musings about the lack of connectivity with our geographic environment, today was all about being alive to the weather. There’s a low pressure system coming in and you can sense the change coming just as much as you can see the cloud building up off to the west.

It’s hard to say just what it is you’re sensing; I have no idea if you’re able to actively feel varying air pressure. Perhaps it’s something more obvious – a temperature change maybe. As a rider I think there’s more to it than that – the air can feel thick some days – but there’s something over and above that too.

Whatever it is, as with the geography of an area, there’s something satisfying about realising you’re aware of these more elemental aspects. Why that should be satisfying I don’t know. I think it’s fair to suspect that animals are more aware of what’s going on around them; perhaps tapping in to our own awareness is to put us more in touch with the basic, fundamental, animal that we are, and perhaps, in turn, being in touch with animal nature is somehow deeply … what? Comforting?

Empty bench in a park: And sometimes it's good to just sit

Perhaps we should all spend more time sitting and staring, just being, just being an animal.