Dark in the Park

In the morning I noticed a bold-as-brass robin that didn’t flinch until I walked within a few feet of him.  He was still as a stone hoping I would pass him unnoticed.  As he turned to the side, I saw his flash of orange.

Later that morning I saw two flocks of Canada geese in ‘V’ formation fly past, around sixty geese in total.  I suppose that the geese gain aerodynamic efficiency by flying in a close ‘V’ formation and that each formation gains further efficiencies by flying with an ‘ally’ flock.

In the evening, I joined friends at the Dark in the Park running event held at Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd.  It was part of Rhondda Cynon Taff Council’s ‘Couch to 5k’ initiative… good to see the local public parks being used for such healthy activities.  Around 150 people joined in the event, running as groups from 6pm, three laps of the Park, around 4k in distance.

At the Park I noticed the light quality, the contrast between artificial and the little natural moon light.  Many runners wore LED lights on head-straps.  From the distance, as they jogged around the park as a group, they looked like miners with headlamps on their way to the mine.

The temperature was cold, near freezing with an Ice Warning from the Met Office for much of Wales from 10pm that evening.  I could see my breath steaming in front me as I exhaled on the run.

The River Taff gurgled by our side for part of the way through the Park.

Nature as Wallpaper

I noticed the temperature today. It’s been a mild day. The temperature is one of the first thing I notice in the morning and note in any journal writing I do in the morning.

Today was a day of rest after a parkrun yesterday. I spent the day organising myself for the week ahead, inside, in the house, amongst everything ‘man made’.

Nature was something in the distance for me today… It was merely wallpaper and nothing I really paid much attention to.  I’ve borrowed this metaphor of ‘wallpaper’ from Thomas J. Elpel.  He has written an excellent article on ‘nature as wallpaper’ :

Nature exists as little more than wallpaper in most people’s lives. In the modern world we are surrounded by pretty green foliage with a few flowers for splashes of color, plus birds chirping pleasantly nearby and manicured ponds with ducks looking for breadcrumbs. It is all very quaint, but who really pays much attention to wallpaper?

At best, we are sometimes so taken with the scene of a rainbow after a storm or a butterfly visiting a flower that we pause for a moment to admire the walls of our world, but that is about as far as it goes. Some inspired individuals appreciate the scenery enough to seek out narrow wilderness paths where they can get a completely unobstructed view of the walls. But very few people ever make it beyond the paper.

 The real world, as people experience it, is the world of people and culture. It is a world that we have built and it has real substance and action–buildings, cars, movies, parties, song and dance, and an endless stream of newsworthy events. With so much going on, why would anyone ever stop to investigate mere wallpaper?

Adapted from his book ‘Participating in Nature‘ (2009).