Most North Americans live in antiseptic climate controlled environments inset into vibrant concrete jungles that meet all our needs: education, livelihood, and entertainment. To gratify our insatiable need for the nature we miss, we crowd into cars that take us to the carefully designed and strategically placed recreational facilities where we may purchase simulations of aquatic or land-based nature. Or we seek a measure of solitude by walking, running, rollerblading, biking or hiking within the secure environment of the manicured urban parks. We follow along on deliberately pristine, snaking trails, feasting our eyes on the variety of fauna dotting the path, the bushes trees and flowers on the periphery as well as ponds or trickling streams that intersect our sojourn. When we tire we take respite under a gigantic tree and chew on a nature bar before heading back to the car and home, back to our concrete, steel and wood layered habitats furnished with electronic gadgets that allow us to forget time, entertained by flat representations of nature and a one dimensional imitation of interaction with other human beings.
Then, occasionally, we brave the countryside; taking refuge at the cottage or some other wilderness retreat. Half the fun is getting there for along the way our eyes are treated to marvellous open spaces as far as the eye could see, odd farm buildings, silos, tractors and combines, colourful fields with hay-rolls and a variety of live animals; cows, ponies, sheep and horses. At times we crinkle our nose when the smell of fertilizer wafts through the air. We quickly close the window and turn the air-conditioning on until we feel adventurous enough to try breathing this strange country air again. That is, if we don’t fall prey to the video games or movies on those ever so convenient tablets, iPhones or handheld gaming consoles. Hah, those pervasive electronic gadgets still follow us here to countryside; for some of us would be lost otherwise. It takes a conscious effort to put all that aside and enrich our experience by observing firsthand the natural wonders that surround us.
Some Artistic Impressions of the Countryside may be instrumental in demonstrating this vast open space we are missing in our urban lives:
Wishing you good times for the rest of the summer.