Category Archives: Nature

Study of the natural world

Individual power of change

Forget social movements and actors, you can make change.

This is Circe, one of my oak saplings I am growing.  Planting a tree is a small individual action, but it contributes overall to a healthier planet and community.

This is Circe, one of my eight oak saplings I am growing. Planting a tree is a small individual action, but it contributes overall to a healthier planet and community.

Individuals have no need to wait for a social movement, a celebrity endorsement or a disaster to make simple and small changes of steps now that benefit this planet and their community.  Small steps can include recycling, planting a tree or picking up litter. In the deeds and choices the individual makes they feel empowered and gain wisdom through experiential activity helping this planet and their community.

You may have heard about the ice bucket challenge where people are emptying ice-cold water over their heads in aid of ALS research which is a motor neurone disorder.  Many participants of the ALS challenge do so without bothering to learn what ALS is, or donate to the research; they follow a social trend with no understanding or interest of what it is about.  The ALS challenge echos the problems of the Occupy Movement, most of the participants had no goals or idea why they were protesting.  Many participants of mass social movements do so mindlessly without interest or understanding what such movements are about.

Russell Brand is a British celebrity involved in comedy, is becoming increasingly vocal in social and ecological movements.  When I take a closer look at Brand I find despite all the words he has no vision or answers to the issues he seems so passionate about.  I am cynical about Brand, who seems to lack authenticity.

The power of change is authentic and effective only at the individual level, that is I and you, and we have no need of social movements or celebrities to make our little ripples of positive change into the world.

Romance in an apple tree

Why watch television when nature is alternative viewing pleasure?

Romantic love of a male grasshopper victor and his female companion.

Romantic love of a male grasshopper victor and his female companion in my garden apple tree.

I threw out my television many years ago, and never looked back.  I have discovered that nature provides alternative viewing pleasure for those that are patient and observant.  My apple tree for instance provided me this morning with drama and romance.

It started when I saw a large green grasshopper worthy of a photograph, then I saw another large grasshopper, then a third smaller grasshopper.  It quickly was apparent that the two large grasshoppers were contesting for a female, moving from leaf to leaf in a positional chess game.

There was no violence, rather a strategic game of position as the males and female grasshoppers moved from leaf to leaf, slowly for fear of being eaten or suffering embarrassment of falling off the leaf.  Whatever happened, it seemed one male grasshopper lost the contest and wandered off, the second male waited whilst the female moved in to do what nature does best to make little grasshopper babies with her heroic champion.

Getting close and personal with nature

Nature is often full of adventures and surprises.

Two of the wild animals waiting to surprise you in nature.

Two of the wild animals waiting to surprise you in nature.

This morning a cat sits expectantly for treats.  I am clumsy and a rain shower of treats hits the cat, which flees.  I take a few treats in hand to restore my relationship with the fearful cat, I walk into a spiderweb I did not see; the upset spider is hanging from my face.  The cat will not touch the treats.  Sometimes my interactions with nature and animals goes badly wrong.

When I go camping, the problem at this moment is slugs and snails.  In the darkness I have to check for the slimy creatures in case they have invaded my tent, it is something I dislike sharing my sleeping bag with a slug.

As humanity expands, the wild lands of nature become smaller, so nature and humanity come face to face.  Humanity needs a new understanding of respect and harmony in a world where city and wild nature overlap.  Three stories in the media today highlights the problems of humanity and nature colliding.  You think it an ordinary day, you go to work and find a wild elk looking at you in the corridor. A normal day fetching water, you end in a 30 minute battle fending off a hungry leopard with a spade. Your mother-in-law is coming to stay, you enter the spare room to prepare the bed, a horror story greets you when you find 5000 wasps have made a claim to the bed as their nest.

One thing I am certain of is that in nature nothing is ever dull.

Calm in nature

Nature offers an opportunity to regain balance and calm.

In nature I can restore my inner harmony after a battering in the human world.

In nature I can restore my inner harmony after a battering in the human world.

As I interact with the human world I reach the point I want to scream.  The attitudes and behaviors of people towards each other and to this planet drives me crazy.  As examples: one individual said they enjoyed watching animals suffer so they gave up being a vegan; another attacked the idea of personal responsibility; we have two toilets, the cat Pebbles is curled up asleep in front of one blocking access, I use the alternative toilet rather than disturb the cat, the cat’s owner dumps the cat out-of-the-way to use the toilet it is blocking access to; a fellow member of a group has become a self-appointed tyrant and has been bullying new members, I am close to quitting the group; the list goes on.

Unfortunately there is no human refuge from this lack of empathy for people or living things, so it is towards nature I turn in which to reach harmony in my mind.  I watch the butterflies dancing around, hear the birds sing, and smell the many aromas of nature, then I find my inner calm and balance again.  If anyone questions why I prefer a walk in nature to a noisy social party, you know why.

All about change

Nature teaches that change is a constant.

I thought a mighty oak I named the "Castle Tree" would last beyond my death, but a storm sent it crashing to the ground last year.  In nature you learn fast that the only reliable constant is change.

I thought a mighty oak I named the “Castle Tree” would last beyond my death, but a storm sent it crashing to the ground last year. In nature you learn fast that the only reliable constant is change.

I am back, and confined indoors due to rain.  A months worth of rain fell in 24 hours yesterday, it has been nonstop rain for over a day, and it continues.  Even my outdoor cat Pebbles, who rarely comes inside, sits on the inside of the cat flap, depressed and curled up into a ball.  I cannot remember a day like this, that has rained nonstop all day.  The garden plants love it, you can near hear them drinking up the water from heaven; the snails and slugs also enjoy this new changing climate in Britain.

I have been here for nearly a cycle of a year, and it has been amazing to watch the changes of nature in my garden through an entire cycle.  Before my eyes I see the land falling slowly into a sleep, the darkness closes in, the temperatures are falling.  It seems winters in Colchester attracts rain rather than snow, but the temperatures are mostly above zero Celsius.  The birds (apart from pigeons, magpies and corvids) all have abandoned my garden in favour of the autumn harvest in the countryside.  I have not seen Amber our garden fox in weeks, neither by day or night.  In nature you learn fast that nothing is permanent, everything changes.

A week away

I am on holiday for a week.

Hi everyone, I am away for a week.  Enjoy the video below.  See you soon.

Becoming individually responsible

Liberty comes with responsibility.

I found this large puffball fungus in Colchester which are often only found by chance.

I found this large puffball fungus in Colchester which are often only found by chance.

I support individuality, but individuals in expressing their individuality do so with responsibility if it impacts other people and this planet.  I came across a spider and its web in my garden, I took another route so to avoid harming the web; this in my opinion is a good example of individuals acting responsibly.

An irresponsible plane passenger nearly killed a child who lives near my town of Colchester by eating peanuts despite multiple warnings not to do so.  In the media report the child had a severe allergy to nuts so that even their smell would cause a life threatening reaction.  At least three clear warnings were given on the aircraft to all passengers to not eat nuts, but this passenger knowingly refused to heed the warnings, nearly killing the child.

The weather in Colchester has encouraged a large number of edible puffballs to grow three months early in a certain place.  The puffballs look like large white soccer balls, one that I foraged last year to eat.  To my dismay people are kicking these puffballs to pieces for a few moments of mindless entertainment.  The responsible individual would give the puffballs a purpose either by foraging them for food, or allowing them to follow through their life cycle to seed themselves.