Environment Field Note
Title: England’s Green Quilt
Abstract: England is a beautiful country filled with gorgeous green pastures and parks. It seems that every city is surrounded by countryside. Parks and nature preserves are found in neighborhoods, so the community can enjoy the beautiful days by exploring the nature.
Look at a globe: England is in the Northern Hemisphere just west of the coast of Europe. If you put your finger on England and draw a straight line across the Atlantic Ocean, your finger will run into the east coast of Canada. My friend, Alan, grew up in England. When I talked to him about my upcoming study abroad journey a few months before I left, he said to pay attention to the weather in New York. Why do you think he told me to do that? It has to do with the line you just drew with your finger on the globe. The weather that you experience in New York gets blown over the Atlantic Ocean to the island of Britain. Britain has three different countries on the island, and they are England, Wales, and Scotland. Also Northern Ireland is part of Britain, but it’s on another island.
Cloudy and rainy weather is typical for England, because it is located on an island in the Atlantic Ocean. The temperature rarely rises above 85° Fahrenheit. In fact, I have gotten so used to the colder temperatures that 65° Fahrenheit feels warm and almost hot! Before I left my home in California, I would probably be wearing a sweatshirt at 65° Fahrenheit. Because it rains so often, there are features added to houses here that are not common in the homes in my town. Do any of you have a mudroom? A mudroom is a small area of the house usually attached to the main entrance, where the family can take off wet coats and muddy shoes before they go inside.
The other room that I like is the conservatory or the sunroom. My home-stay family does not have a conservatory, but they are very popular and I see them all over town. Think of a conservatory like a green house. A green house is usually filled with houseplants to keep them at an ideal environment for survival. While humans do not need this room to survive, it helps to keep their spirits up. When people are in the sun, they develop vitamin D, which actually makes you happy. Because it is cloudy and rainy most of the time in England, soaking up any ounce of light helps people stay happy. The sunroom is made up of windows to allow as much light as possible inside the room, and it is usually attached to the back of the house in the garden or backyard. The sunroom allows people to be a part of nature without having to sit in the rain. I am realizing that I take for granted the beautiful sunny weather that I am accustomed to. I can go outside and soak up the sun almost any time I want, but going outside without getting wet is not always an option here in England. Can you think of anything that is good about having a lot of rain?
England mostly consists of hills, lakes, rivers and flat grassland. Anytime I go anywhere outside of Oxford, I pass fields upon fields of pastures. Everything is green! All these vibrantly green pastures are dotted with cream-colored puffy sheep and cute little lambs. Fences made of red bricks or gray stone or wooden beams separate all these fields. Flying back to Oxford from Ireland, England looked like it was covered in a large quilt made of many different shades of green. The patches were all different shapes and sizes. Most of them are for animals like horses, cows or sheep, and other pastures hold nothing but bright green grass and colorful wildflowers.
It is rainy a lot of the time, but when the sun comes out, it is so clear and bright that I feel like I am in a dream! The blue sky is so blue with amazing, pure white puffy clouds. It amazes me every time a clear sunny day comes along. I try to take pictures to capture the beauty, but I just cannot seem to get it.
Today was one of those days beautiful days and to make it even better, it was warm! Whenever one of these days comes along, nobody stays inside. Everyone is out and about in a park. Many towns in England are surrounded by countryside, and even in the towns there are many parks and nature preserves. The rain allows colorful wildflowers to grow, like bright yellow daffodils. Everyone in town soaks up the sun and warmth. There is a real appreciation for good days like these, and it encourages the community to come together. Today was one of these special days. My friend and I went to the park and read a Shakespeare play that we will be discussing in class. We saw so many different groups of people. We saw young families with toddlers, junior high girls playing guitar and singing, college guys barbequing, soccer players practicing, and elderly couples sitting on benches watching the world go by.
In Oxford, people live for the sunny and warm days. Everyone in town is smiling, and happiness fills the air. I have to admit that even on the cloudy days, the parks and pastures are just as beautiful and there are still people who use them often. Die-hard soccer players can be seen with their friends practicing every day, joggers and bikers use the park paths, and passers-by enjoy the pretty view. Oxford is a walking town where everything is close together. I find myself wishing that I could bring this part of Oxford home with me.