There was, last night on the television, a man saying: what this country needs is growth. Economic growth, housing growth, the growth of our way of life. We need to make more of the things that have made us great. We need to think big and build bigger. We need to be productive. We need to fulfill our potential!
I turned off the TV and watched four rabbits grazing. Beyond them a crow was strutting. There was, from the trees, the call of a wood pigeon. The light was doing its nightly fade.
Obviously the man was deranged and a menace to both himself and the planet. He’s an important man, a man admired by many, a man who sees the world and lives in it in ways unexplainable to me. He is what he is and I am what I am. He’s loud and often funny and owns hundreds of suits and I don’t understand any little thing about him. One thing we are, we humans, is various.
I woke this morning and walked four miles of hedgerows, apologising as I went. I hadn’t slept well and the morning was grey. I’m not asking (I told the hedgerows) for you to forgive him. Or us. I’m asking you to ignore him and us until the time comes when we’ve burned ourselves out and you can bloom and seed and shed your leaves in peace.
The disease of bigness is everywhere. Bigger cars, bigger portions, bigger sales, bigger nations, faster connections, bigger buildings; I told the hedgerow that the big, final bang is coming.
And then, when I got home, I played ‘Love Uprising’ by Otis Leaville. Which made me feel better. I turned it up and scooted around the room and looked exactly like what I was: a middle-aged guy on a remote Welsh property, dancing badly but enthusiastically to one of the greatest songs ever recorded. I danced for a while and then danced a little more. I waved my arms and sang along. I was off-kilter and it was perfect. I thought: this is who I am and what I do. Then I sat down and was thankful.
Jeb and his band play the Caught by the River stage at Port Eliot Festival on Friday 28 July.