Once Upon

Once Upon

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Minor curmudgeonly vent....

The writings of Robert Gibbings, John Muir, J.A. Baker, Roger Deakin, Marc Cocker, John Wyatt, Robert Macfarlane etc etc etc.....plus (believe me!)  many, many others of lesser reknown......but of equal merit, people who write of, comment upon and ruminate about the natural world and their individual connection with it.....these books line my shelves and lay scattered around the house in random welcome, each well-thumbed in familiarity, and which all in their own characteristic way, never fail to offer an affirmation of,  and an inspiration to, my own deep felt affinity with the natural environment and my long-felt, and some may say ( how very dare they) my somewhat philosophical,  'hippy-drippy' resonance with it...so there.

I browse with genuine pleasure through the blogs of this illustrious site, and have to admit, am often interested in the subjects raised and even entertained and moved by some of the posts.....(a nod in your direction 'Paying Ready Attention'... amongst a few others)....yet, reading so many of the entries, I sometimes get the feeling that there is a whole population of 'naturalists' out there who undoubtedly get real pleasure from their interests,  and like to share their particular avenues of activity with the rest of us, but somehow, I get the impression that maybe the woods are not being seen for the trees....
To actually know the Latin name for a spiders knee, and then to have photographed it....to have encyclopedic knowledge of every genus of mushroom, moss and molluscian mucus (!)...to have listed and recorded as a life-tick the lesser-throated spot warbler and to have measured the growth pattern of chickpea hybrid.....is all very enthralling, I'm sure....but maybe the core pleasure of simply being in a natural environment is being missed because of tightly focused interest. I can get as excited as the next man about catching sight of a particular bird or animal, and derive real pleasure from 'knowing' about the natural environment around me, but the greatest pleasure of all is gained by the un-thinking appreciation of nature in all its forms by the simple action of being amongst it. No need to identify, list or report. No need to investigate. No need to photograph, collect or study.
Nature's simple, timeless un-classified beauty and miriad aspects are, for me, best appreciated and acknowledged by the simple fact of experiencing it..walking within it....be it forest, mountain, river or beach.
With yer nose pressed up against the viewfinder, (as it were) maybe yer miss the view.
(What is it with naturalists and facial hair, eh?)

1 comment:

Stewart M said...

Thanks very much for the nod in my direction!

I think you make a valid point - the an oak tree (or whatever) has its own intrinsic value and beauty that existed long before there was a need for formal taxonomy - it’s a point I often make if people ask me the name of a bird - often I have no idea - but that does not change the bird, or your experience of it, one bit.

I do, of course, try to work out what the birds and such like I see are called – but when I can’t it’s not a real issue – in fact it’s just a layer of mystery to add to the experience.

I do take a lot of photographs – but I also take time just to watch. Too much photography reduces everything to just more TV – distant, beautiful, but ultimately “over there”.

Here’s to walks in the woods, with unknown singing and mysterious rustles!

Cheers - Stewart M – Melbourne