I’ve been enjoying a brilliant book, ‘The Moth Snowstorm’, by Michael McCarthy. Thanks Penny, for suggesting it.
It’s part nature writing, part memoire, part polemic, and a powerful and affecting read about McCarthy and his relationship with the natural world. A constant theme though, is ‘joy’.
The book first got under my skin when defining ‘joy’, which is perhaps summed up as a moment of true happiness, with a spiritual, selfless, outward looking dimension. McCarthy’s first experience of joy was as a boy, learning to love the landscape and wildlife of the Dee Estuary. Later, it was bluebell woods, chalkland streams … and so on. Most of his joyful moments happen when he’s alone and surrounded by the natural world: though he acknowledges that our children, our grandchildren also bring us moments of undiluted joy.
What in the natural world brings me joy? Nothing original.
The first snowdrops edging through the earth while winter is still bitter, dark and long.
Bluebells, with their sweet cool scent, apparently hovering in an unending hazy carpet across a woodland floor.
Lying in bed early, very early on a springtime morning, and hearing the very first bird as it calls out to orchestrate the morning concert which is the Dawn Chorus.
A rare sight in England now, but fields scarlet with swaying poppies.
Waves crashing on a beach, as a chilly wind whips sand across my face and into my eyes.
What brings joy to your soul?
Afterword: Some of you have asked to be reminded when BBC Radio 4’s ‘Ramblings’ series about the Nidderdale Way is being broadcast. The first of six programmes will be on air this Thursday, 18th May at 3.00. ‘Our’ episode will be the sixth and final one, on June 22nd. Podcast available.
Walking the Nidderdale Way is pretty damn’ joyous, actually.