Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Why is it that we are drawn to open vistas, panoramic views and big skies? I've read somewhere that it may be that it is hardwired in us, a throwback to our ancestral savannah home, and our need to see into the distance to prepare for possible danger.
Such reasons are largely null and void in 2015, but my need for the 'big sky' is a strong one. I'm drawn to such places, be they Dungeness (above), the North Downs (middle) or humble Canons Farm (bottom). They all supply me with peace. Thinking time. They strip away the immense detail of our daily lives, the media tittle-tattle, subdue the human bustle and act as a balm to the stresses of today (and if you don't think you have any, the way that we live in the so-called civilised world, we are surrounded and bombarded by them).
Human traces are reduced in such situations, so distant towns become islands of lego, roads thin grey snakes wriggling through the green and pylons just silver insects marching across the fields. Traffic and aircraft noise is diminished and has to compete with natural sounds. Time is expanded, there is an opportunity to bathe in it.
And you can see the weather forming, coming and going. Distant rain bands take on an altogether more beautiful form, sunbeams falling on ground twenty miles away full of promise and the night sky, if clear, is uninterrupted and awe inspiring.
And of course, we can see the birds. They, too love the big skies. It is their playground, and when the trees and buildings are stripped away we can watch the birds in all of their aerial glory, be it tumbling Lapwings, hunting raptors or migrating finches.
If I find myself in a town, or a wood, I gravitate towards a park or a clearing. It's second nature.