Free Enjoyment

This book, then – apart from being meant for amusement – is merely intended to illustrate how much free enjoyment anyone can derive from simply keeping his or her eyes open in going about normal daily affairs.

Richard Adams – from the Introduction to A Nature Diary

How’s that for a manifesto?

He goes on to mention stars, birds and wildflowers as things that anyone could spot and identify with the aid of a suitable field guide. You might add clouds, fungi, trees…… Or even shopping trolleys and city-limit signs.

To be honest, even with the aid of a field guide I’m a pretty limited amateur naturalist. But I don’t mind. The thing is that it’s not the identifying that’s important, but the close attention required in order to make an attempt. By being aware of our environment we allow the possibility for the familiar to surprise us, for the local to become exotic.

I was out after work again tonight. Into Eaves Wood, up and down to the Pepperpot. Direct there, meandering back. Once again I had Sam in the backpack. Today what drew my attention was bark.

So – which kind of tree?


This last is another beech – it’s on a favourite path of mine and I always notice the contrast of the bark, lichen and moss when I pass it.

Finally, one for the family – my walking companion:


Looking red-nosed after a 40 minute turn in the woods. (He slept through most of it.)


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Free Enjoyment

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