A few minutes ago I was walking down the lane, past shoulder-high cow parsley on the banks of the beck. I stopped on the bridge to look down at the water flowing over the stones, its patterns always changing, always the same. Walking back, I was surrounded by birdsong. I had an intense feeling which, I realised, I often get when I'm out and about and I suddenly realised what it was. Part of me wanted to go back to being a primitive hunter gatherer, to stop being stretched and twisted out of shape by a synthetic, modern society. (It's odd, I should add, how sometimes a thought which strikes us at a moment of revelation can seem commonplace when we review it afterwards). I just wanted to wander the world, taking what food and shelter I could find. I know it's an irrational feeling. Modern society was built step-by-step by people who started out as primitive hunter gatherers, who were probably driven by intense feelings of their own: that there there had to be alternatives to cold, hunger and uncertainty.
Perhaps I'm wrong to say I wanted to go back and it would be more accurate to say there is a primitive hunter-gatherer in me, trying to get out. Perhaps there is in everybody. Just for a moment out there it seemed desirable to have a lot fewer possessions, fewer words, perhaps, and a simpler view of the world which I didn't need to accept, reject or explain to myself because it was simply the way things were. Living any other way, at that moment, struck me as cumbersome, unnatural and inconvenient to the mind.
4 years ago