Mild and Dull


Signs of a mild November: yesterday I watched several worker bumblebees and a queen buff-tailed bumblebee (the workers were probably also Bombus terrestris) visit flowering Mahonia on Whiteknights Campus. It looks as though we have at least one winter active nest. Whilst walking in the Wilderness this morning I caught a streak of brilliant colour in the corner of my eye. A minute or two later it re-emerged from behind the rhododendron, proving itself to be a rather late flying southern hawker dragonfly.

I was going to write about the brilliant New Networks for Nature event that took place in Stamford this past weekend. I find, however, that I’m suffering either from post event blues or some other seasonally driven gloom. I can’t seem to get any useful thoughts together. I feel dulled, or perhaps just dull witted. Too much time in the company of too many clever and successful people risks being as dispiriting as it is inspiring. What can I possibly contribute? Then there’s the usual downer of bad news from around the globe.

With helpful timing, a beautiful little Wendell Berry poem was doing the rounds as a meme today. More useful than the usual cats! It expresses nicely the brief solace I find when dodging with dragonflies or photographing fungi in the rain.

The Peace Of Wild Things

by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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