Tuesday 3 September 2013

Just the bear facts, ma'am

"Ahh," she sighed as she sank into the chair next to mine out on the sunny balcony. "I love this weather. It encourages me to get out and go for a long walk, and then at night I sleep like a bear."

"Well actually," I had to reply, "I've had something to do with bears lately and in fact they don't sleep all winter. They get up every hour or so for a stretch, and even when they're sleeping they tense a different muscle on each exhalation. It's so in spring they don't emerge all weak and feeble," I added helpfully, keen that she should appreciate this wonder of nature.

Travelling does this to you, you know. You learn things, have preconceptions swept away, find new fascinations, and you can't help sharing them with innocent people back home who thought they were just indulging in a bit of phatic communion. (It makes it worse, if you were already a teacher.) It gets returned travellers a bad name, even now that slideshows with actual slides are a thing of the past - not being trapped in a darkened room, it's easier to wriggle out of viewing all of someone's holiday snaps if they're on a phone or tablet. Not so simple though to retreat from a lecture that's all about the eye-contact.

And the other disadvantage - though really it's a good thing - is that forever after, having visited a place, you have a vested interest in its welfare, so when it pops up on the TV news as the location for some event, you take it all personally. Usually, unfortunately, it's a natural disaster, like the wildfires at Yosemite right now, and having been there, walked through those woods, delightedly spied on the wildlife and admired the splendid scenery, you're affected. It's a connection, and that's good, but it's also sad to be able to imagine so easily how something so special is being destroyed. I hope it rains there soon.

1 comment:

Ila said...

This is awesome!


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