Sunday, 15 November 2015

Nature close to home

A cobweb found on a parked car - Nottinghamshire, UK

“a challenge remains to overcome the polar distinction between what is urban and what is natural…We have tended to see the most significant forms of nature as occurring somewhere else-often hundreds of miles away from where most people actually live”. 

Timothy Beatley, professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia; quoted in Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods.

A few years ago, I had a conversation with a wildlife photography enthusiast who lamented to me the great expense of wildlife photography.  At first I thought he was talking about the expense of the camera equipment itself, but no, he was talking about the cost of travel – ‘I can only really afford to go to Africa once a year’ he told me, ‘so my equipment stays in the cupboard for the rest of the year’. 

I have encountered this (stupid) attitude a great deal over the year, and I always find it deeply sad.  Is this a sign that we have lost touch with the natural world so greatly, that we think that nature and its wildlife is something that exists only far away?  

The truth is that the wonders of nature are here (rather than there) for everyone who has the curiosity to look for them. 

I found this cobweb on a neighbour’s car one morning (strung between the wing mirror and the driver’s door) as I was walking up the road where I live – the most telling fact is that I was returning from my morning nature walk in the local woods, but I actually made my favourite image of the day not from tramping around in the wilds, but simply by looking carefully closer to home.

The curiosity to see the nature living all around us is all we need to stop the lament, and to revive and awaken within us the reason we are all arrived here in the first place.

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