Posted by: Ross Gardner | November 4, 2011

Enjoy the Moments

A wader flock in Suffolk. Ross Gardner

Now I love a list as much as the next naturalist, but you don’t need to know the names of things to enjoy their sights and sounds, their presence around us.  Indeed, the keenest sense of connection with nature is when we are not encumbered by the details, enabling us to focus more fully on the experience at hand.  Such notions frequently entered my thoughts when writing my book: ‘Never a dull moment’.  The details are important, but take the time to enjoy the moments.

Today, and a journey home along a stretch of coastline that abuts the limits of a large town.  The sea spreads away into the gape of a large estuary and towards the endless horizon at its mouth.  The tide is on the turn and a widening band of mud follows that of the sandy beach along the length of the seawall.  The tide never heeds the clamour of the town close by; with you attention drawn towards the ebbing waves in our minds it recedes to a dull, inconsequential din.

Birds fill the mud, keen to make up for lost time.  Do I reach for by binoculars still in my bag, to see which species I can pick out?  I normally would, but this time I don’t.  That they are there is enough.  That they have journeyed from the distant reaches of the north to be here is intriguing enough.  For now they can just be big or small, light or dark.  For now they can enliven the shoreline and billow their flocks over the emerging sandbanks in anonymity.  They’ll turn up in my note-book some other time, and if I miss something…well, I think I would have already seen something of what really matters.

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