Time and again in recent weeks I’ve found myself watching old footage on the TV and becoming wistful for what were far simpler times. It isn’t just a case of these times being pre-Covid, although that certainly has a major impact on such feelings.
You could call them thoughts that are indicative of an ageing individual, looking back at times that are comforting through familiarity. But that would be too simplistic.
Can you remember when birding was about, well.... birding?
It has now become politicised.
There is now (at least within the realm of social media) a suggestion that we measure our activity against our carbon footprint. That we have to have an opinion on whether or not we are inclusive enough towards race, gender and sexual preference. That we know exactly where we stand on driven grouse shooting, owning cats, bird photography, twitching, patch birding, noc-migging, etc, etc, etc.
Of course, some of these subjects are important. But... sometimes the want to turn back the clock to a time when going birding, talking about birding and writing about birding was just ABOUT BIRDING. And nothing else. We did have a social conscience back then, but it was not tangled up with our leisure activities. Social media does, of course, play its part in the combining of these subjects. Opinions about ANYTHING - sport, food, travel, lifestyle, you name it - have become entwined with the social issues of the day. You are expected to know where you stand. You are called out on it. You are encouraged, even demanded, to nail your colours to a mast.
Where are the oases from the chatter of politics? Do we have to now accept that everything requires us to question what everything means? That we have our own clear policies and that they are clearly stated?
Or can I still just simply go birding?