CONTACT with nature is good for you?
After two months of Atlantic storms most Irish people would disagree. Nature, by way of gales and floods, has well and truly come to us.
Isn’t it supposed to be the other way round?
Most of the ten are less than mind-blowing (‘nature brings our senses alive’), but a couple are interesting (‘we suffer when we withdraw from nature’).
His overall message is straightforward: ignore the gales (and whatever else) and get out there.
Just as well. The following day we planned to drive 280km across the country to Westport, facing a forecast of storm-forced winds, sleet and snow.
But after a month spent in the city, and much of that indoors, at home or in the office, a windswept trip West was mentally necessary – whatever the weather.
Driving across the Midlands, washed out and browny bleak, Louv’s main point recurred to me: the more hi-tech our lives become the more nature we need.
Conveniently the thought resurfaced as our mobile phone coverage began to dip in and out across the flatlands of north Roscommon.
By the time we reached Co Mayo thoughts of nature took a backseat to the more immediate task of driving through it, as visibility dropped and the journey was reduced to a 60kph crawl.
Far from stressful (though AMII might have disagreed) the drive was oddly relaxing. Confronted with a wall of white and driving over freezing sleet there was nothing to do but focus on the road, or what could be seen of it, and keep going.
THE snow made an impression on the landscape too.
The following dawn we awoke to an ominous Croagh Patrick, its peak above Westport clouded in grey.
As the morning drew on, and the skies cleared, revealing an ice-covered mountain top.
After coffee in Westport we drove to Murrisk, at the foot of the mountain. We didn’t plan to climb it this time, but couldn’t resist driving a couple of miles out for a closer peak.
I could, of course, have witnessed the same vista without leaving my sitting room in Dublin, sifting through innumerable online photos of the mountain. But how could that compare?
A month of laptop browsing was worth just a second stood underneath the real thing.
Here was just path, wind, slope and scree, with snow on top. The full, analogue majesty of the outdoors; our senses ignited, our souls replenished by contact with nature, and not a smart phone in sight.
They sat in our pockets, untouched.
Untouched, that was, until we needed to snap the scene.