Monthly Musing – November 2018 – Back to nature
“What’s this leaf, Mum?”
Small daughter and I were walking the dog and she’d picked a large leaf blown down by the Autumn winds. Because I’ve spent years as a parent answering questions, it didn’t occur to her that I wouldn’t know – but in this case I actually did (it was from a horse chestnut tree). From being young, I’ve always been interested in nature and have more than a few books to help me identify trees, wildflowers and animals that aren’t generally found in the garden. It might be easier to look things up on the internet these days and I do that too, but I still love my books.
Despite my best efforts, neither of my girls have been particularly interested in naming the trees and flowers that we’ve passed on our walks over the years and this latest conversation with small daughter had me wondering why. Is it because they’ve always known that I’ll have answer so they’ve not needed to (although often we’ve had to look something up when we got home), or perhaps they don’t have the time as there are so many more things to capture their attention – gone are the days when children’s TV was only on for an hour a day and after that you had to make your own entertainment – or maybe they are just not that bothered about it? I’ve learnt not to worry too much about it as a lack of interest at a young age doesn’t mean that you won’t become interested later. I re-trained as a gardener after big daughter had gone to school, fascinated by the same Latin names and soil structure information that would have left me cold only a few years earlier. It’s never too late to learn something new.
What I believe is more important this that the information is always available so that anybody can access it whenever they are ready. I believe that we come to things when we are ready to learn about them and it isn’t necessarily at a time that is conventional or even convenient – but isn’t it more important that we do? That way, we can bring maturity, understanding and often a different viewpoint which can lead to all kinds of new discoveries.
Back home from university at the weekend, big daughter picked up a charity letter about bees that was lying on the table. “This is really important,” she said (and this from the young woman who is not keen on bees or any other flying insect), “There are all kinds of plants that we can grow to attract the bees. I’ve been thinking about what we can grow in the garden next year and we might want to look into this.”
The temptation to point her towards the bookshelf, full of books about flowering plants and pollinators, supporting our Earth ecosystem and conserving wildlife, and start spouting about how I’ve tried to talk to her for years about this was overwhelming, but I am also learning.
“I’ll get the seed catalogue and we’ll have a look together,” I said.