"Being back in Ireland has brought me home to the nature I grew up with in early childhood and the simplicity of country living. To deviate from the beauty and wonder of Nature is to deviate from happiness.There is never anything ugly in Nature and you will always find it a friend to the truth. Nothing happens in either field or forest, footpath or hedgerow without a purpose. Both plant and creature are there to support and feed each other and ensure that life continues in eco balance.
Nature is there to feed and sustain all manner and form of life and is constructed in such a way that it gives great pleasure to those who make the least demands of it. Were God to have an earthly relation, it would be Nature, for neither see any blemish in others. Whereas mankind can discriminate against the deformity of body, Nature sees nought but beauty in any contorted and twisted trees which weirdly bends in her landscape.
Nature to me exists for all seasons, but during the warm and hot months of summer, when like a full moon, it seems to affect humans in all manner of ways. Summer has the capacity to explode and excite. It paints the fields and meadows in a coat of many colours which invites the legs to walk and boy and girl to talk. It puts a spring in the step of every adolescent boy and girl and leads them towards entertaining thoughts that no number of autumns and winters ever could. The height of summer intensifies emotions like no other season; causing tempers to flare more readily and encouraging smouldering ardour to be more easily expressed.
To me growing up into adolescence during the 1950s is a time easily remembered. In those days children got more fresh air than could fill their lungs and enough exercise to keep them at play during the long summer holidays when they were left outdoors after breakfast and their mother didn't see them again until teatime. Summer days would be spent with Nature, playing in meadows and woods making bows and arrows, climbing the tallest oak, swinging from branches and swimming in streams. During these years I must have visited the hospital many times with broken arms and legs and fractured ribs etc and believe me, I was no different to any of my other friends at the time.
Sundays in summer meant a two mile walk to Church in Cleckheaton across the fields in the morning and back by noon. By 1pm, we would all be out again with a packed lunch and mum and dad would walk the family across the fields and lanes, three miles to Brighouse Park. Once there, we'd play while my parents sat in the bandstand listening to the brass band.
I fondly recall that during earlier years when there were only four children, as we walked the field to Brighouse, my parents would send us on ahead to play while they had a rest and no doubt played about themselves. During the coming years, my mother walked that Sunday walk pregnant another three times!
For me, Sunday Mass, Sunday walks to the park and summer days in the meadows, fields and woods made God and Nature, and all manner of family love indivisible. As Shakespeare said, 'One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.'
Nature has been and shall remain as much an important part of me as God, family and love has been throughout my life. During all four seasons it has always made its presence known, knocking on my door, but never intruding. It has been one of my prime educators. By looking deep into Nature, it has helped me to understand life better. Nature first came to life for me in Ireland and will sustain me there in afterlife. William Forde: July 6th, 2015.