Many a happy childhood day was spent by a chuckling stream in the hills and dales of northern England.
We built dams and chewed on hollow grass until the sun set. There was no happier place, no happier place in ourselves.
One day in one stream, I found clouds of foam in the water. It horrified ten-year-old me. What was that pollution doing in my paradise? Who poured some chemical into my heavenly brook?
The phenomenon might have been entirely natural: bacteria, minerals and churning water creating a foamy cocktail.
But it shook me deep down.
Here we were, polluting our home. Despoiling the most beautiful thing there was.
Was our home a safe place when we could wreck it like that?
Dogs, they say, will not soil their dens. I believe it helps with house-training, knowing the place where the puppy sleeps won’t be its toilet too.
And yet we, homo sapiens, soil our only home, every day. From oil spills to toxic waste dumps, we dirty the only place we live.
I think this is because we don’t feel at home here. We’ve forgotten what home is.
This terrifies me.
And it makes me think: what if we could reconnect with our home? What if we touched once again the hard granite and soft loam? What if we lay down in the grass and felt our home love us – so one day we might learn to love it back?