Sunday, February 2, 2014

The rain it raineth . . .

'Nature abhors a straight line', so declared the 18th century landscape designer, William Kent.  In his view,  paths needed to curve and wander, streams to gurgle and meander, whilst a final destination had to be round a corner and well out of sight.

I thought of this the other day, whilst listening to a discussion on the environmental aspects of the current severe flooding.

Yes, it has rained . . . and rained . . . and rained.  But that's only part of the reason for the flooding.   It appears that we, too, are at fault for having forgotten that nature abhors a straight line.

Instead of allowing the streams and rivers to follow their natural inclination to meander,  and thus seep into the surrounding fields and ditches, we have straightened the banks and encouraged the water to rush headlong to its destination.  Not surprisingly, it has flooded the low-level ground at journey's end, ground incapable of coping with the unexpected deluge.

What's more, it seems that there are other man-made reasons for the increase in surface water.  In pursuit of grazing opportunities we've stripped the trees from the hillsides, trees that would naturally absorb surplus moisture. In order to park our cars we've paved over our gardens, thereby encouraging any water to flow into the drains, rather than to seep beneficially into the earth.

Then there's the question of water quality.  Allowed to take its time, water moves gently over its pebble bed, discarding impurities as it does so.  In this way it maintains a clean, congenial home for water-loving wildlife.  Fast-flowing water,  has no time to discard sediment, which it carries indiscriminately to its destination.

By preventing the channels of clear water from following their natural path, our misguided policy has turned them into rushing, dirt-laden torrents.

Reflecting on this discussion afterwards, I found myself pondering on a wider question.
Could it be that,  albeit in different ways,  I follow a similar misguided policy?

Do I share the need to hurry to my destination, rather than enjoy the journey?
Do I take short cuts, when time would add to the pleasure of the experience?  Do I fail to appreciate the benefits of a leisurely process . . . which could help me to scrap my unwanted 'sediment'!

So . . . what if I were to make a resolution to follow nature's pattern?
You may notice that these letters follow a more circuitous route, that my thoughts meander and my destination appears uncertain . . .  but, take heart, at least you won't be deluged in a flood of unfiltered chatter!

 And, who knows . . .   I might even start singing in the rain!