I just finished reading Michael McCarthy’s book “The Moth Snowstorm” in which he describes and talks about the decline in biodiversity of birds, moths, butterflies, and other creatures worldwide but especially in his own Britain.  He gives examples of his own experiences and that of other nature lovers, where they have witnessed this decline.

His emphasis, though, is on the intense joy that the natural world can and does bring to humankind.  The book is also part memoir, his reasoning about wildlife decline is interspersed with his own memories, and of how his childhood trauma played a role in his discovery and his passion for the natural world, the joy that nature stirs inside us humans.  And this resonated with me so well, I too developed this passion at an early age, not perhaps through childhood trauma, I’m not sure why.  The point that McCarthy makes is that this is something very innate in us, that we have developed this over the thousands of years of life when our ancestors were hunter gatherers, living lives in very close contact with nature.  This joy, I used to think of it as my very own when I was still a young woman until I discovered that it was just out there for anyone to tap into; watching a beautiful sunset, the opening of a beautiful flower, seeing a marvellous butterfly, listening to the dawn chorus, or indeed the sound of the cuckoo in early spring, all of these scents, sounds, observations, experiencing the natural world with our senses can bring intense joy into our lives, the natural world is very good for us, essential even, and studies have showed that too now, scientists agree on this, worldwide there is a trend from professionals to advise walks in nature for mental and physical well being and health, happiness even.

This book also highlights the destruction of our planet which has been going on for over one hundred years and he gives many details of this – but it never becomes a depressing read as McCarthy always bring us back to this joy that nature gives us and shows why he believes we are wired for this and how it will be the best resource for survival in that when more and more people realise this they will unite to save the planet starting with saving its biodiversity, its birds, its animals, its insects, and all the wonderful creatures.

So once again I came to realise that it is not childish or silly to be totally blown away or inspired by the discovery of say a moth, a spider, a butterfly, the sound of the robin or blackbird early in the morning, the first signs of spring, or the sun throwing its first rays of light over the horizon.  All these intense pleasures are deeply ingrained in our beings and if tuned into them they can move us and bring total peace of mind and happiness.

I would love to hear what you feel about this, is having a sense of wonder about the natural world an inspiration in your life?


  1. An excellent review of Michael McCarthy’s book which I too enjoyed and have recommended to many like minded friends. I think a love of nature does develop in childhood, that is why it is so important to instill the awareness of the natural world at a young age. I know my mother did for me, and later my older sister, and I hope too that I have now passed that on to my own children. Nothing pleases me more when they spot something “wild” and can name it!

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    1. Totally the same here my dear, and come to think of it, it was also my mother who instilled in me the love of nature, I did the same for my daughter and I see her do it daily to her five children and it’s beautiful to see. Yes love that book!

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  2. Dear Agnes, I was really overwhelmed by the beautiful photos and words from Michael McCarthy and specially yours about nature. I can tell you why mankind is fascinated so much by nature: because it was created in the golden ratio and even people that don’t know what it is, have a natural feeling for it and like everything that was made in it.
    I get overwhelmed by sunsets, skies, the sea, flowers, landscapes, butterflies etc. etc., but I’m highly sensitive. It fills my heart with such a joy that I’m afraid of bursting like it fills my lungs with air.
    Monoculture is really bad for bees and butterflies, but unfortunately profit goes before nature. Mankind could learn a lot from the First Nations. They never exploited the earth like we do.
    Have a nice day, regards Mitza

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    1. Thank you for your interesting feedback and kind words Mitza, I know exactly where you are coming from, we can only be grateful for all we are given like this in nature.
      I agree with you that we could learn a lot from native tribes who still knew how to respect the earth. Kind regards.

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  3. Beautiful review–and I’ll have to get the book! Yes, I find great comfort, joy and solace in Nature. I was born and raised in Ohio and have just recently moved to the state of Washington. I don’t think I could ever take the mountains or the ocean for granted–I’ve never had these things so close by before. I count myself as very lucky!

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    1. Thank you too for your feedback, so lovely to hear so many people experiencing this joy in nature, it’s meant to be isn’t it, so nice to hear you are appreciative of what is around you too. Kind regards.

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    2. Ohio is beautiful…and Washington is amazing…the rivers, the mountains, the very air-so soft…I do love it there. Here is Colorado we have less water, older hills, but great vistas, cool secret corners… God in every corner, eh?

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  4. I believe that my health and sanity depends on my natural environment, and though I am surrounded by concrete, my container orchard and garden give that peace and solace that is, yes, essential for my happiness.

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  5. Good morning, you grand blogger,

    I used to march around the hills…not all of them, just the few nearest my home…sucking in the cold air as I climbed amongst the pines. These days I find myself standing at the window, awash in the hot sun coming through the window, whistling back and forth with the black capped chickadee who visits every morning about 8AM – see-saw see-saw. Just now the well fed squirrel who lives out back is scolding someone (most likely Emil Catt stalking some small crawling mammal on the stone wall), and two blue-jays are falling from branch to branch, after, no doubt, raiding some poor robin’s nest – have you heard a blue jay’s warble? Liquid music. About 8:30, one green hummingbird flits, and twit-twit-twits, around the new pine cones.

    I don’t know just when I stopped launching onto the sidewalks early in the morning to feel the breeze, and to pretend I was back in the hills…but even standing in this one window in my robe with a cup of bad, instant coffee, it’s the sounds and smells and movement of life that attracts me, and restores understanding of the reason we live.

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    1. How wonderful you writing Roxy. I could see it all before my eyes and feel the breeze, and hear the birds. Wherever one is on this beautiful earth – there is something to celebrate I agree. Many thanks.

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      1. A number of times this summer, just when I’ve let myself grow angry about work, or down about recent illness and death in my family, a single, huge, bright yellow butterfly has floated over the green beans…there is no way to keep angry or sad when surprised by such magic

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