For as long as I can remember, I have always felt the pull of nature, the need to get away from civilisation and immerse myself in earth and trees and expanses of water. I think it is one of those things you either have or you don't, and I know people who have the opposite pull, the urge to dwell deep in a metropolis, surrounded by buildings and people and technology.
Until very recently, I had always lived in places with easy access to nature. Although it has been many years since I lived in what I would call "proper countryside", far out in the unspoilt sticks with barely a building in sight, I lived in villages where I could cut across the fields, or on the edges of a surprisingly green and leafy city, where I could roam parkland and common land. I almost took for granted the ease with which I could go for an evening stroll, the abundance of wildlife I saw while running errands, the way that nature linked into my life almost effortlessly.
Now I live in the centre of a small, well kept city. Although I have lived on the edges of a bigger city before, this is the most inner city, urban location I have ever found myself in. I walk to work along a road, teeming with traffic, a stretch of grey tarmac and concrete as far as the eye can see. I run my errands along another such road.
For now, I will be staying in this city. One day, I will find somewhere deep in the wilds to live, and I shall watch the turn of the seasons, and spend my life in tune with nature. But for now life has washed me up here, and the tide has not yet come to take me to my countryside idyll. So I have to find a way to satisfy the yearning from where I am now. I have to learn to love urban nature, to find the hidden wild patches in the neatly manicured parks, to seek out the trees which line certain streets, to spend as much time near the river as I can, watching the wind whip up tiny waves on its surface. Nature is a powerful force, and even in this place of paving slabs and tarmac and stone, flowers poke up through the surface, trees spread their branches, and the wilderness can't be entirely beaten back by the prim rows of buildings.
But still, that pull is still there, and I can't help but feel I will be answering it sooner rather than later.