greenbottletree











{16/05/2012}   The countryside

Last Thursday night I stayed with friends who live very much in the middle of nowhere in the Northumbrian countryside.  I have very mixed feelings about the countryside and, sitting on the train on the way back from Berwick-upon-Tweed station, I contemplated my thoughts on the countryside.

Where my friends live, there are acres and acres of countryside, predominantly farmland.  I sat in my lovely bedroom and looked out the open window at a field of cows and calves, bright yellow rape seed fields, hills and greenery.  There were birds singing, chickens and a partridge wandering around and lambs across the fields.  It was idyllic.  As I looked out the window of the train, not far south of Durham, there were fields of cattle, trees, greenery, lambs and sheep … you get the picture, all things country.  I love it, I find it peaceful and beautiful.  But I don’t think I want to live in the midst of it.  This kind of bugs me because why would you not want to live surrounded by an environment that makes you feel relaxed and lamb-loving-smiley?

I am aware that I am a complete coward when it comes to nature noises; you know, rustles and creaks and possible monsters outside your house.  This is just a night time and foul weather fear.  I feel unsettled and far more scared than I can rationalise.  During the day, especially when it’s sunny, I love it.  So where does this slight fear come from?  Maybe I’ve lived in cities or towns too long and I find human noise oddly comforting.  Maybe I just don’t understand the countryside, having never lived in it.

Leaving my friends’ lovely house and environs I felt a bit sad, I had thoroughly enjoyed staring at the animals, birds and greenery and listening to the birds and cow-munching sounds.  It was also lovely in the evening all sitting round the big kitchen table, three dogs included, then sitting in the log-fired warmth of their living room.  I just don’t think I’d find it easy to live there all the time (and, really, it couldn’t have been any more lovely).  However, put me in their house right by the sea with no neighbours for miles and I could live there, no problem – well, occasionally an almighty storm would unsettle me somewhat.

All this kind of surprises me, but given the choice of countryside, sea (or a large river) or buildings, it is the sea that I draw comfort and grounding from, despite finding cities exciting, fascinating and energetic and the countryside idyllic, peaceful and relaxing.  I do think that everyone has a preference between the three and I’m sure if I thought about it I could draw a vague stereotype based on which of the three you feel most comfortable surrounded by, but I won’t as I’m sure it’d be too favourable to the sea lovers!

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