A SENSE OF WONDER – INTENSE JOY IN NATURE

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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?