A life beyond

Hogweed, similar to the one that I was staring at this week, sans the insects.
I bumped into Yossarian (aka Adam) this lunchtime. He is a much valued visitor to this blog and a fellow Spurs supporter to boot. We got chatting about many things, including my recent 'slump' - see the last post for an explanation of that. Adam appreciates natural history on a wider scale to me. He goes out into the countryside and takes in the 'greater whole' around him, whereas I tend to go out and obsess on the minutiae, trying to disentangle and identify the species that are before me. He said that he wanted to get closer to my approach and I replied that I was having a break from all of that and was moving closer to his! It was brought home to me earlier this week as I stared at the flowerheads of a stand of Hogweed. They were all crawling with life - bees, wasps, hoverflies, beetles, micro moths - and I stood entranced. So many species, with dazzling colours and varied shapes. I could put a specific name to a few, but there were many that I couldn't. And do you know what? It didn't take anything away from the experience. I could have stood and stared for hours on end. The insects came and went, the variety shifted but were never anything other than fascinating. And then I looked along the line of vegetation, across the meadows and onto the wood-clothed hillside beyond. Would that fine panorama become all the better if I were to make a list of the species that comprised what I was observing? No, it wouldn’t. A list would have been superfluous.

I reckon I'll be back to normal soon, but being able to wander across the downs without optics and camera has been strangely liberating, although, if I'm being honest, a bit nervy and daring. A life beyond the naming of parts? Yes. There is.


Yossarian said…
Not so fast! Without this patient listing we wouldn't have learned much over the years. To be able to carry out such work is a rare talent and a vital one. Just think of old Darwin and his meticulous observations and the quantum leap forward in understanding he and his ilk propelled...

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