We seem to be in the throes of some kind of weird-ass, stop-start spring. Has anybody else noticed the bird’s nests appearing in trees that haven’t even grown leaves yet? We’re going to lose a lot of birds this year, I fear. And, meteorologists have predicted that this coming summer will be a savage, brutal, heat-death-of-the-universe, the hottest summer since records began.
On Christmas Eve, a colleague told me they had an infestation of wasps in the office she’s attached to. Last month I found a butterfly in my bedroom. I’d originally thought it was a moth, but no. On closer inspection, brown and orange markings covered its wings. It hung around the place for a couple of days and then disappeared. Of course, climate change deniers will tell us there’s always been Yuletide wasps and butterflies – and we have always been at war with Oceania, I suppose!
Flowers have started coming up – before the end of January. This isn’t normal, but you know what the weirdest thing has been for me?
In springtime, I noticed around 25 years ago, loads of really good records start getting in the charts and played on radio. Either we all start grabbing at new things that aren’t quite as stupid as the crap that fills the charts at Christmas, or mibby I get enthusiastic or the warmer weather makes me more positive about pop music. Either way, it’s started. In February. The other day, I downloaded Betty Boo’s ‘Boomania’ and just this afternoon, it was Golden Earring’s ‘Moontan’. Traditionally, these are the sort of thing I get into when spring kicks in.
But – and it’s a big but – when I load them onto my phone and start listening to them, somehow it’s not enough. Like the basic idea’s a good ‘un, but when I get there it’s a disappointment. Odd and bizarre. It’s as if part of me’s responding to the near springtime-ness of it all and another part of me’s still dragging itself through the winter.
The weather’s still cold, but we’re getting periods of brittle sunshine and I think that’s what’s triggering me, the birds, and the bees to act this way. Our inner clocks are being stimulated on-and-off-again by the brief patches of springtime and we’re behaving as if it’s already here. Which doesn’t bode well for the flora and fauna (and myself) of this isle. Spring’s coming and going, we’re coming out of hibernation and then being switched back off again. If it’s messing with my head (I’m a complex mammal, by the way) then what’s it like for the rest of the area’s inhabitants? They’re getting confused – and I reckon we’re going to lose a lot of them.
I’ve been reading John Gray’s ‘Straw dogs’, a post humanist philosophical work. In it, he argues that humanism (like Christianity) grows from the erroneous idea that homo sapiens is somehow outside of – and superior to – all the other life-forms on earth.
I’m enjoying this. It’s challenging and it’s turning me onto other writers who are still yets for me. But the fact remains. We’re made of the same stuff as all the planet’s other inhabitants. What gives us the sheer hubris to think we’re better or even appreciably different?
I’m looking at the world around me in a whole new light. Gray reckons that by 2150, the human race will have shrunk back to a level the planet can actually accommodate. Half a billion to one billion. At the moment we number six billion and we’re squabbling over resources, led by idiot leaders that reckon the best way to survive is to consign everything that isn’t them to exploitation, starvation or extinction. That’s not going to work. But it will keep the men who would be king out of trouble for a while, chasing their tails over, let’s face it, the best way to screw everybody else and advocate the best misunderstanding of what’s really happening.

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