Nature facilitates a cleansing of the mind. It purges stress and invites a return to a more serene and simple state of being. Numerous environmental psychology journals cite the benefits of the natural environment on mental well-being. Nature is abundant with wonderous ephemeral experiences: the fleeting, momentary gaze upon a fluctuating sunset; the waterline of a pond, still and untouched, being disturbed, rippling out towards a shoreline, breaking gently over rocks which glitter in an evening sun. Nature excites the senses: the smell of parched grass and earth receiving the first water droplets of a summer deluge; the serene silence of a rural evening, punctuated with the sharp call of an unidentified bird; the cold clasp of crisp winter morning air gripping at the throat and lungs.
Green is a colour which brings humans back to their roots. Workers have been proven to be more productive in offices with greenery, patients can even recover from illness quicker when exposed to natural views, and prisoners can have improved social tendencies when exposed to natural settings. Nature is always full of variety and mystery. Spring brings with it flowers, colours, and transforms a barren, one dimensional landscape into a burst of frenzied activity. Winter brings with it death and destruction, but an appreciation of light and heat.
Those living their lives buried in the metropolis miss so much of this precious commodity. Modernist architecture does not cater to the human condition. It saps what is important, and replaces it with what is simple, easy, and practical. Nature lets me breathe. Cities constrain me, like a straight-jacket. Too many people, too many straight lines. Too many fumes, too much litter, too many stresses, physical or otherwise. Too many commodities I have no need for. In this country, the urban winter is a ghastly time. The average December in South East England has as few as 20% of its hours with sunshine, in comparison to Madrid, with as much as 50% of its hours with sunshine, a mere 2 hour flight away. I treasure the summer. I treasure what it brings for the environment. And I treasure those summer evenings, sitting in the dry grass and the rays of the dying sun. I am only able to breathe in the countryside. If you read this, I’d love to know where you’re able to breathe.