‘To a Green Thought in a Green Shade’

This is a line in a poem called ‘The Garden’, by Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) and it came to mind as I explored a gravelled alley way between houses on a daily exercise ramble, passing by a garden fence.

There was a short piece by David Attenborough in ‘The Times’ suggesting how humanity’s relationship with nature could be repaired. Besides the beauty and wonder and diversity of Nature, we also depend upon it for our own lives – we need to breathe, eat and renew our bodies every day and as we damage the natural world, we also damage ourselves.

Fortunately, we are now slowly becoming aware of this and there is a small window of time to try and put things right. Nature can regenerate quite quickly if given the space to do so – we need to make this happen. And there are many individuals working on various schemes all over the world to achieve this regeneration.

DA suggests that we can also reconnect with our natural surroundings by stopping our busy schedules and sitting quietly for ten minutes – in the woods, in the mountains, by the sea, in our garden, even contemplating our houseplants… he says that extraordinary things happen, even in that short time – for instance, do you recognise that bird call? How many insects hove into view and do you know what they are?

I found ladybirds overwintering in the cracks of our sash windows … small black bees turning up in the house … a wasp’s nest, resembling a ghostly white football, prettier though, under the eaves. Even for those who don’t have any interest in the natural world, without the sun and water from rain, human beings would not even exist …

Maybe this year we’ll be able to travel again – think of being in a jungle, say in Costa Rica and seeing and hearing things for the first time that you knew nothing about. I’ve used DA’s article a lot for this piece, so I can spread his ideas further.

To return to my ramble and the prosaic subject of a garden fence. The sun was shining and catching the spaces in the fence with its rays.

Colours lift my spirits. The camera sometimes catches more than the eye can see and makes the ordinary extraordinary. I’m bedazzled and aware of how much I don’t know about our planet and how much I want to learn about it. All because of a walk … and given time to contemplate.

In the same way as people are keeping ways open for hedgehogs, we should keep our brains open to the natural world.

Hedgehog tunnel for travel between gardens …

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