Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Communitarian communing, communitarianistically

Here in Bright, the Baron and I have been communing with Nature. Nature is a lovely lady who lives round here with mud on her feet and branches in her hair and birds building nests under her arms and rivers running this way and that across her chest and men with pedometers on their wrists and lycra around their glutes hurtling through her at a breakneck pace. Nature, being Nature, seems to accept it all with her customary aplomb. "Hello, Nature," I say. "Hello Tim! Hello Baron!" cries Nature, and rain clouds burst over her, and rainbows shoot hither and thither from her eyes, and everybody ducks for cover. Oh, and plus she drinks camomile tea and eats burdock root ice cream every evening.

The other thing that people seem to be doing with Nature is sticking things on her. They put a sign up here, describing an interesting thing about the local environment, and pointing your way to another sign over there, which describes another interesting thing about the local environment, and probably points your way to a third sign somewhere else, and so on. Not to mention busying themselves putting fences up all over Nature, and handrails, so you can clamber all your way around her, cutting stone stairs all over her, popping a little cafe here, a visitors bureau there, and an attractive green seat just about everywhere else. No matter how far you walk with Nature, you always seem to be discovering little men and women doing little things on her, and oh-so-willing to sell you things or shove glossy little pamphlets in your hands telling you about attractive things to find in attractive places conveniently located nearby, or the importance of sustainability in rural and regional areas, or where the best place is to go for a swim, or other helpful (in other words, bloody irritating) advice. I can't imagine how much worse it would be if all those irritating little men and women were sticking signs or fences or helping other people to clamber up or over me or, for heaven's sake, hurling their sweaty bodies through me with all their might. Nature, though, doesn't seem to mind. She just waves her 10 billion year old hand carelessly and goes on her merry way.

That's the thing with Nature, though. She's everywhere, or at least it seems she's everywhere. Going back down the main street of Bright, I found her there, too, where I saw that people had taken carbon compounds out of the tip of one of her fingernails and had turned them into tables, on which they served little slabs of Nature from her other hand, and had turned some very interesting creatures that had been roaming up and down her back, along with some rather fertile plants that had been growing exactly where you think they'd been growing, to customers. To complete the scene, I suppose, it would have been handy to have one of the plants in the kitchen suddenly evolve (in that way Nature has, of suddenly evolving into other things) into a boogeyman and lumber over to the customers to gulp them into its ravening maw. But no, Nature didn't oblige.

... And, when I got home, Nature was there, too, when I sat down on the couch. "Afternoon, Tim!" she announced brightly. And I looked around, and there she was - Nature - being all protonic and neutronic and atomic and stuff, with a couple off billion neutrinos and sub-atomic particles and electromagnetic radiation and Higgs Bosons being thrown into the mix.

You want to try communing with Nature? You can't get away from her!

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