In the city, people long for silence. I don’t. I long for the cacophony of the dawn chorus, the raging of the sea thrust forward by a storm, the ghostly call of the owl from deep in the darkness and the howl of the wolf that has so far eluded my hearing. Above all sounds, I dream of the screaming of swifts; on flickering wings, they are bringers of summer, bringers of joy, the ever-flying embodiments of the year at its peak.
I long to see beyond the next corner, beyond the houses, offices and factories. I long for the mountain-backed beach, with electric blue waters lapping on the crystal sands and the well-loved view from an island to the near mainland, a rolling patchwork laid out beyond. I long to wake to the shocking whiteness of the first fall of snow, untouched yet by foot or tyre and to see the rich nordic landscapes of lakes, trees and meadows. Beyond all those sights, I need green; the bright vibrant green of spring shoots, the robust green of summer trees, the evergreen of northern forests but also just the green of wide open fields, the green that brings a breathing out of the city fumes and dust and a drawing in of clean, cool and fresh untainted air.
Behind sites and sounds, I long for the warm, dusty scent of rain on summer ground, the dampness of leaf-strewn paths of late autumn and the first application of sunscreen, promising sunshine through the day ahead and signifying that I’m beyond the worst of the short, dark, cold winter days. For me, though, there is little better than breathing in the air of wild garlic as I cross a bridge over a spring stream; it is a momentary stimulation of a sense often over awed by swirling heady mixture of urban aromas.
Taste brings a different dimension to my longings. I long for a cheese and pickle sandwich eaten on a rambling cliffside walk, a dark and plump blackberry picked from the late summer bramble, a not so wee dram savoured on an evening doorstep with a cherished view but most of all I long for smoky sausages cooked over an open fire out in the wilderness.
I long to be touched by nature, by the rain on my face as I break from a doorway and head out into the open, to feel the air wafting in through an open window on warm summer nights, to feel sand beneath my feet as I run along a beach in the dark. I need to feel the rock as I clamber across a mountainside and sense the juddering of rough tracks as I cycle along forest paths and, yes, I need the feeling of my fingers and toes going numb while I stand in the frozen winter looking for wildlife. There is one touch of nature that goes beyond them all, the first caressing of a strengthening sun on bare skin as the clouds of winter float away.
Most of all, I yearn. I yearn for the wide open spaces, I yearn for the solitude of the distant and remote, away from the sense-buffeting town and city. Beyond all of this, I yearn for the wild. An ache comes over me, deep in my back, yearning for all that is lost and all that needs to be reborn. I yearn for a pure nature, untouched by us, a wilderness that is rich and original, one that is as true now as it ever was…a yearning cannot be sated.
A first blog post for #30DaysWild