Ramblings of an amateur naturalist

19 Nov

Have you ever thought about where creative people get their ideas from? Or how some people are very creative and others totally logical? Have you considered that possibly both these seemingly opposite types find their resources in nature?

Nature is a balance between animals and plants great and small. We humans take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide but plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. Moths are food for bats 🦇 and their caterpillars are food for birds 🐦. Flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees 🐝, wasps and bats. Oak trees are home to thousands of creatures. The oak and ash provide food for for caterpillars 🐛 in the spring which in turn are food for blue tits. Each animal predates on others and is predated on by yet others bigger than themselves. All creatures and plants 🪴 have their role to play in the food chain and the cycle of life.

In the current climate of a global pandemic humans are being predated on by microscopic organisms but we are finding that being shut away, confined or locked away from others causes many of us emotional strain, anxiety, stress or depression. One of the recommendations to overcome these feelings is to get out into nature. You may be asking yourself ‘how does this help?’ If we think about it humans (generally speaking) are social animals jus like honeybees. Each has it’s role to play within the society in which it lives. Seen at a macro level, humans could be seen as a well coordinated complete organism but at a micro level as individuals. When we look at a tree 🌳 we think of it as an individual but if we were able to look underground we would see that it is connected to many other trees 🌲 and whatever affects one tree will affect many others connected to it by their roots. Old trees die off and make room for young saplings to grow and flourish.

To understand where creativity connects with nature we need to use all our senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Take sight. Are all trees the same shape or colour? Are all the branches symmetrical? Are the leaves the same shape and size? How many different shapes and colours can you count? Study the bark. Does it grow vertically or horizontally? Is it dark or light? Is it smooth or highly fissured?

Sounds are all around us whether we live in a city or the countryside. The sounds of musical instruments 🎺 are copied from the sounds of nature. The wind blowing through the leaves 🍃 sounds very similar to the sound of the river flowing across the rocks or even the sound of traffic on the distant motorway. The ability to hear protects us from danger and allows us to connect with others.

Smell is important as it’s a signal to all animals to tell us where there is a source of food or if it’s safe to eat 🍄. Taste is an extension of the sense of smell and allows us to differentiate between sweet, sour, bitter, salt and savoury. Dogs, for example, see the world through their sense of smell and can be very useful in sniffing out diseases or drugs.

Touch is extremely important to some people (especially small children). 🤱It is part of the grooming process in many primates and helps to maintain group cohesion. This causes some people problems because they cannot touch for fear of spreading a deadly infection during the pandemic.

So simply a change of scenery, walking amongst nature helps with all our senses but most importantly the act of walking or exercising helps to increase blood supply to all our organs, to take away toxins and to stimulate serotonin and endorphins which help to balance the functions of our bodies and produce a sense of happiness.

If you are more analytical than creative being amongst nature may not appeal to you. However nature is based on chemical and numeric formula. 🔣 So looking at a tree you can use your knowledge of chemistry and physics to analyse how it gets it’s nutrients from the ground into the uppermost branches and leaves. Or you can see the different colours of the leaves and analyse what chemical compositions are involved in the changes of colour in the autumn 🍂. Or you can watch how the birds land on the thin branches and work out why they don’t break or how strong winds do not break them. Some animals are able to change their colour according to the background they are resting on 🦑 How do they do that? Others like bats use echolocation to locate their food and eat on the wing. How does this work? How do naturalists count the number of bees in a swarm or bats coming out of a cave? Could you produce a hexagonal shape 🛑 connected to hundreds of others and sloping down in the same direction to stop the honey 🍯 from falling out? How many bees 🐝 did I have that produced 30 litres of honey in six months?

We are talking here about biodiversity which is important to survival. If we were all clones of each other and all trees were exactly the same wouldn’t life be very boring? The same applies to people. 🧕🏼👳🏾‍♀️🧑‍🎤👨🏿‍🦳 We need that diversity to keep a balance across the earth 🌏. We are all part of it and need each other whether we recognise it or not. Eradicating anything or anyone we don’t understand demonstrates a fear which is unnecessary. What is needed now more than ever is understanding and compassion for ourselves and others and for the earth on which we rely. We need to support everyone including ourselves.

2 Responses to “Ramblings of an amateur naturalist”

  1. herve lebeurre 2 January 2021 at 14:55 #

    Chers Richard & Trish, Merci pour vos bons vœux, A notre tour de vous souhaiter une belle année 2021, A commencer par une bonne santé, Nous sommes tristes de voir nos voisins et amis Anglais quitter l’Union Européenne, Et espérons que cela ne vous impacte pas personnellement, Amitiés, Hervé & Myreille

    Provenance : Courrier pour Windows 10

    De : Richard & Trish in France Envoyé le :dimanche 22 novembre 2020 14:08 À : hlebeurre@gmail.com Objet :[New post] Ramblings of an amateur naturalist

    pthromain posted: ” By Patricia Romain Nature is a balance between animals and plants, great and small. We humans take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide but plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. Moths are food for bats and their caterpillars are fo”

  2. malcolmhtrotter 1 May 2021 at 20:49 #

    I don’t know how I previously missed this one.
    What a thoughtful piece of writing. It strongly resonates with my experience since September 2019, when for several reasons I was encouraged and helped to be able to become more aware of the moment – through momentary reflection using the senses, much in the way you describe. A significant catalyst for me has been the lasting legacy of Geoff Barclay, our mutual friend, an exemplar of this way of living and reflected in his ‘raw’ style of poetry. I learned a great deal from Geoff and will always give thanks for what I have received from him and continue to enjoy. Life!

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