Walking Lightly Upon the Earth

Llandudno from Orme with flowers
Happy days, whatever the weather

A peaceful morning – even if the sky is grey. The calm before the storm, perhaps? After all, it is a Bank Holiday weekend here in the U.K. and they are notorious for bad weather. I always hope that this last weekend of August will be fine and warm… allow people to have a lovely few days in the sunshine before children have to return to school and the population as a whole turns its communal face towards winter and longer evenings. The next national long weekend/holiday break will be at Midwinter with the celebration of Christmas. Now there’s a thought!

Whatever the weather chooses to do, we can make the most of it and take energy from it. It might not allow us to lie back on a beach somewhere and revel in long hours of blazing sunshine, or sit beneath shady trees picnicking amidst the wonders of the natural world, but we can still glory in the elements, whichever ones they might be. There is a huge amount of power in wind and rain which we can still absorb, even if it isn’t so pleasant or picturesque as blue skies and golden sunshine.

The British people are fairly adept at taking no notice of the weather – the British climate being as temperamental as it is. So what if it is chilly, windy, grey and damp? You can still wrap up warm and dry and take that hike through the forest, marvel at the mountains, become invigorated by the waves crashing onto the beach. I have observed that the really difficult place to cope with inclement weather is in the town or city. Here, where one is among abundant shelter, there is no reason to wrap up in layers of warm or waterproof clothing just to dash from car to doorway or from shop to shop. People get lazy and don’t bother to put on a coat, or don’t want to spoil the effect of their outfit or mess up their hair.This is where I see people get the wettest. But if folks are going out onto the land, they don’t hesitate to wrap themselves up in multiple layers, no matter how unbecoming it might make them look – although, fair play to the manufacturers, a lot of outdoor gear comes in wonderfully attractive colours and almost becomes a fashion statement in itself.

Perhaps this once we shouldn’t complain about the weather? After all, we have had at least three sunny, hot, dry months already, and some of us have continued to enjoy typical summer weather beyond that. Yes, the grey skies and gloomy, subterranean feeling in my living room and kitchen sometimes get me down, but the natural world has had a real struggle this year. Many plants and trees have suffered badly – or even died – through lack of water. When was the last time that Britain, looked at from space, appeared brown instead of green? Water stocks in reservoirs have been greatly reduced and hose pipe bans talked of, if not introduced. As a family, we have done as much as possible to conserve water, consciously not running as much from the tap, flushing the loo less regularly, utilising ‘grey water’ from bathroom and kitchen for putting on the garden (until my poor husband’s arms almost extend down to his knees from carrying buckets and cans around the garden) and generally being carefully conservative.

Then there have been all the wild fires. Last night on the news I heard that the fire at Horseshoe Pass – which had been burning for over forty days but which the authorities had thought finally out – is now burning again. Looking at the world map, it is more than a little concerning to see how many of these massive fires have been ragging in so many different countries, and where there isn’t drought and fire, there is destructive rain and flooding. Well, we were warned some years ago that, due to global warming, the weather would get more extreme… and here it is! The beginning of the things to come? Or the beginning of the end? Have we still time to do something about these trends?

Perhaps this weekend we need to take a little time to think seriously about our daily living habits and how we can reduce our total footprint upon the world. And when we go out into the world this weekend, whether on holiday or to work, it might be a good idea to give thanks for what we have and the beauty and bounty of our planet, and the little bit of it upon which we currently reside. Now is the time to demonstrate our moral maturity and active responsibility towards ourselves, those around us and everyone who will, hopefully, come after us. There isĀ so much that we all can do. Think about it.

So, however you choose to spend your time this next few days, and whatever the weather might bless us with, make this a positive time for positive decisions and action… and walk lightly upon the Earth.

Have a nice weekend!

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