When I was a child, we played among landscapes that were more like gardens, so diverse was their beauty. We spent a lot of our time looking out for creatures that hopped, swam, crawled, slithered, wriggled, flew, chirruped, and wove their webs. Where are they now?
For us, the hedgerows were a small zoo, as we observed some of their beginnings, and their coming into different shapes and colours. It seemed as though our small paradises would last for ever as we wandering scholars, learned from some of Mother Nature’s grand designs. Mornings and Evenings were filled with the sounds of choirs of creatures, happily settled in their homes, in our gardens. I think this was the greater part of the reason that I chose to work on farms, when I might, just as easily, set off for University and, instead took more note of the Universe and it’s ways of being.
And then, something happened, It wasn’t that folk stopped growing their own food, in their allotments, after the War Years, or that agricultural land was being taken up by ugly housing developments, but down to a sea-shift away from rural life; and an inharmonious mixing up with those more used to an industrial background.We get glimpses of what it was like, before, when we watch pre-war black and white movies (or even those made in wartime, because some say that ‘developers’ made more damage, in Britain, than the Luftwaffe) and observe narrow country lanes, buildings made of stone, village greens; and small 250 acre farms, able to support a family.
Part of the ‘something that happened’ was the move away from small shops, into the vast, and impersonal, supermarkets that took us away from local producers. There’s much to like about America, but the ‘dream’ that Britain seemed to take on has turned into something of a ‘nightmare’in the way this small country has adopted some of its preoccupations with sprawling ‘out-of-town’ developments.
I grew up, in the 1950’s, thoroughly disliking some of its narrow minded bigotry in many matters, but there was much to commend it, as a kind of ‘golden age,’ in home-spun wisdom; and, more often than not, an appreciation of the countryside. The ‘Sixties were a different matter, with a ‘bring-it-on-baby’ kind of louche-ness that corrupted its wonderfully energetic possibilities, with little fear of ‘consequences.’
If there is one supremely valid reason for fighting against the proposed Montsanto-Bayer planning to dominate the global food chain with pesticide addicted GM seeds (and more use of chemicals on the land) it is by travelling through industrial areas polluted by chemical waste; rivers and streams where no fish thrive, and air that chokes. What’s more, no crops will ever grow there, so damaged it is. More to the point, is anyone considering what is being done to the soil in all of the terrible Middle-Eastern wars by the weapons being unleashed?
The Druids had a saying: “When the leadership is corrupt, the bees will begin to die.” Think on.