“Winter comes fast to this town, summer arrives and leaves even quicker. I first start to notice it when I can see the horses in the field more easily. The sheep that live there in the summer are taken away and the horses return at the end of it. But you can’t see them properly from our side due to the hedges and trees. Now though, with leaves falling at a rapid rate, my daughter can see them. The dog can too rather than just knowing that something is there.
In the winter when it’s clear, you can look from my garden for miles to the east. In the summer it’s all blocked with overgrown hedges, bushes and nettles. In the winter all that shit is dead and you can see right through. The horses come right over to say hello and small boys feed them grass. We can see the fireworks from Princes Street at New Year. We can see the bridges lit up at night time like a passing cruise ship. We can see the fog rolling in from the sea; we’re higher up than we think.”
This is an edited version of a paragraph I took from a notebook. It’s a few years old now; it only mentions one daughter for example and I now have two. But in reading it back there is a despondency that wasn’t there before as it was never intended. The fields and views that I speak of are disappearing rapidly. The house builders have moved in and what was green belt will soon be 500 or so new homes. As you can imagine, at the moment, it’s an enormous building site and not the tranquil view it once was. Many of the sunrise pics on the LW Instagram are early morning views across this area which will be no more.
The recent BBC series Restoring the Earth is sub-headed The Age of Nature, probably made as a backlash to everyone who thinks nature programs are far too depressing these days and to instil some hope into the populous for COP26. The BBC website describes the show as…
“Visiting Bikini Atoll, Panama, Norway, Mozambique and China, we discover the extent of nature’s resilience and how ecosystems devastated by human impact can be revived, how human prosperity is dependent on the natural world and how when working within nature’s limits, resources can be maintained for future generations.”
Yet this is not the reality when people look out of their own homes and into their own communities. Deforestation is a huge problem globally, no one doubts that. Yet in small towns all over Scotland, not just the central belt, housing developers rip up masses of acres of land, trees, bushes etc. with complete immunity. Landowners are allowed to dictate how a town looks. Green belt land, even brown belt that local people may like just the way it is, is developed to make way for new homes or shopping malls. People have no voice in this. None. Mature trees are cleared regardless of the wishes of the people who live there, and this is an era when were meant to be protecting them. The run off from turning over such large areas of land I’ve noticed recently, even affects the surrounding water supply.
People need places to live, but I can understand how some might feel apathetic towards global issues when their own towns and surrounding green areas are at the mercy of large housing corporations and uninspired councils desperate for cash. As our towns creep closer and closer together, it’s the natural world that loses out.
Currently listening to: Type O Negative’s World Coming Down
Try our Spotify playlist ‘Last Wolf Outdoors’ for an eclectic mix of folk, atmospheric black metal, 70s occult rock, epic doom and some good old heavy metal. Perfect for a walk in the woods.