Kitty Blackadder

A Scottish blog about making art, too much eyeshadow and becoming a grown up.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

It's Spring, I think

To everyone's surprise, including my own, this is actually not a post about how the pants weather is confusing me as to whether or not it's actually Spring (although, I mean, actually - come on!!), no this is actually about something altogether un-weather related.

As you may or may not be aware, I moved to Glasgow on November 1st 2014, having previously lived in a pretty small village for a number of years. Overall, I've loved the move to Glasgow; the anonymity city life affords, the abundant options for entertainment and shopping and, of course, having a wide range of restaurants and take-aways to choose from, rather than just the village chippie. Over the festive period especially, city life suited me - the Christmas market, the George Square lights and just the general buzz of being in a busy city centre packed with people Christmas shopping - but, after Christmas as I began looking towards Spring, I began to really feel I was lacking something.

Something big was missing; something was wrong. Living in a village, and being relatively interested in nature and wild life meant that I walked out into the country side at least a couple of times a week - I would see the first buds appear, the first wasp buzz past (at which point in the year my walks instantly became more tense and stressful...), hear the bird calls change and truly appreciate the difference the lighter nights make. But living in a city, and working in the city centre, meant that I could go weeks without seeing anything of nature and then BOOM one day I'd walk through the park and see the crocuses were up. This really did upset me enormously, to have missed seeing the first shoot peek through the soil, or waiting patiently for them to start to flower - I became aware that it really was about more than flowers and insects, I was feeling really disconnected from the environment around me.

I shrugged it off, of course city life was going to be a little different, I always knew that and of course, with all the benefits, there would be some drawbacks, there had to be. And so I trudged on in my concrete filled life, my underground commute and my urban recreations, That is until I went home to my mum's this past weekend. Even on the train journey down, seeing the sea, seeing cows, seeing green everywhere I became aware of just how much I missed it all. The sights, the smells and yes, the familiarity of the environment must play a part too. Arriving at the house I eagerly inspected last years house martin nest (still intact but they're not back from Africa yet), the insect house in the front garden (spider webs a plenty but not much else going on) and the hedgehog houses in the back garden (I think we might actually have a breeding pair, so excited!)

That night mum shouted me to the back door, the hedgehogs had appeared and were hungry, I fetched some food for them and sat out while they ate - marveling at how fortunate I was to witness beautiful creatures like these so close I could hear them chew, I could see them lick their lips, I could have easily petted them if I wanted (although, of course, I did not). Watching them watching me and just sharing a moment with them, even though, admittedly it probably lacked the same significance for them.

Lying in bed the next morning with my window open the air coming in smelled so clear and so fresh; all I could see was sky and all I could hear was a wonderful harmony of bird songs. I talked to my mum about how I was feeling and she (correctly) pointed out that I only live an hour or so away and could still easily visit any time I wanted. That's true, of course, but it's not the same. Visiting makes me feel like a tourist, like an outsider looking in, it makes me pin too much hope on the walks through the fields and become very worried and sad when I can't find the family of deer, it makes me forget all the small, intricate details that make the seasons and nature wonderful and hope only for landmark events like seeing the hares or the foxes.

Of course, there are parks in Glasgow, beautiful parks indeed - but it doesn't scratch the itch, not for me anyway. Everything in a city is great because it's reliable - there are dozens of restaurants that you know you can go to for a great meal, there are beautiful parks that you know are well maintained and will afford you a cheerful wander of an afternoon, but what I loved about country life was not knowing. Of setting off on a wander and coming across probably nothing, or maybe, just maybe seeing a baby deer so tiny and unsteady you just know it's new to this world, or a set of badgers so blissfully unaware of you that you end up have a slightly too close, close encounter. That each season was different and a stark contrast of what had come before it, that each day brought tiny changes to the landscape and the wild life - here in the city nothing changes for me. The roof I see from my living room window looks as much like a roof as it did in November, the underground ride to work is as warm and as dark as it was at Christmas, and the concrete I walk to work on is neither growing, nor blossoming in the Spring sunshine.

It's a small thing really, I know, and I know too that there are far, far bigger problems out there, but what can I say, it's a thing for me. I'm not sure what I hope to happen as we continue on living in the city for a great number of years to come - it would seem to be easier if I would just adapt and learn to enjoy this new environment, but at the same time, it would feel so sad to lose touch with something that has meant a lot to me my whole life. In the end, I suppose, if nature teaches us one thing, it's change. That there is a time and a season for everything and that nothing can be a constant - I suppose my life is simply reflecting this and, while this new season on my life may make me sad in some ways, all that I can do is to embrace it and go on knowing that the time for wandering around woodlands and peering into ponds will come again for me someday.

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