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  • Writer's pictureCrone

A kid in the wood I

The photo at the front shows where an otter was. My first ever otter sighting! I was sitting on a bench with a woman of great bird knowledge and she said, "Otter!" It swam left then ten minutes later returned and swam away to the right. It gave us a look and decided we were dull.

Then, for about half an hour, a swan preened and danced and flapped around in front of us. It came close to graze, went off and later came back.

You don't often see a swan swimming around an oak tree.

That disturbed him and he departed, carrying his wings like the folds of an Elizabethan princess's dress, over the reeds to swim off, before returning yet again to bask in the sun near us.

I could have sat and watched all day. Literally. I also could have watched the muntjac I saw and would happily have hung around until dusk for foxes, badgers, hares...

A pity I have work to do.

But I wanted to write about this not just for the virtual animals self-congratulation thing, but also because it struck me as what matters isn't so much what I see but how I feel. And how I feel is expressed most beautifully by Ralph Waldo Emerson in Nature (1836). He says that that the lover of the environment is:

[s]he whose inward and outward sense are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of [wo]manhood [Cronehood, even? Ed.]. His[/her] intercourse with heaven and earth becomes part of his[/her] daily food.

David Bohm, the quantum physicist, describes a similar state, saying that the aim is to live as “a single, unbroken, flowing actuality of existence as a whole, containing both thought (consciousness) and external reality as we experience it.”

That is how I feel. I do not want the schedules and the data collection and the grasping and the shaping and the controlling and the analysing.

Just this, to be with, to be in, to belong.

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May 15, 2023

Such an uplifting post! I enjoyed watching the swan grazing on tall grass. Wow and an otter! Sounds like it was important to spend time sitting in one place.

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