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Breeding lilacs out of the dead land

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

April is the cruellest month

With all the upsets and uncertainty that surround us daily in the ever-increasing, faster-moving stream of world events, it is easy to forget about living.

It was cold, wet and grey this morning and has now become cold, clear and bright.

I was walking and spied a deer that was passing by and a thought came to me, more of a question really.

I have never taken deer or hares or any form of wildlife for granted - I love seeing them - they lift a part of me. They lighten my load, they destress me - so I suddenly thought - How really beautiful they are - this deer, at that moment particularly.

I have a great friend who runs an Elephant conservation programme in Southern Africa - because the Elephant are fast disappearing and people kill them for money. And my thoughts went back to this deer - I have a brother who likes shooting deer - for fun or money or both - these deer - my deer. At least they feel like mine. They are mine because I appreciate them and love seeing them and never tire of seeing them. Of course, they are not mine, they are wild but their beauty always stirs me. Their beauty is mine to see and feel stirred by.

And I thought - from deer to elephants and back to deer - what would our world be like if they weren't here anymore? And then I thought what other animal - species admires beauty? I do. I know that most, if not all humans, at least have the capacity to admire beauty. But would a deer look at another mammal, or a sunset or a rainbow and think to itself - wow - isn't that something?

Probably not. Their thoughts are much more primal and binary - can I eat that - is that going to harm me - shall I run - shall I hide - shall I take shelter - shall I just stand still? And most of those thoughts are instinctual.

But like the moon-gazing hare - I still wonder if other species feel beauty or see it or notice it? They can definitely learn to trust and that is a form of beauty.

So here we are, focusing or not on our 24-hour news cycle, which tends to determine the topics for peoples thoughts and discussion - some would argue, the important issues of the day.

But if you dare ask a child what is important, they will tell you the truth - even if we scoff at their answer. And the answer won't be the exchange rate, the deficit, the balance of payments, mortgage rates, interest rates or inflation. Is it not ironic that in actuality, the things that we think are important, are really quite trivial - in the scheme of things - and the really important stuff are those very same things that we are led to believe are trivial.

So are these things important; the massive decline in Elephant numbers in Africa, the Honey Bee numbers dropping so fast? Or the number of species going Extinct every year or the destruction of Rain Forests so companies can pan for diamonds or grow Palm Oil?

What do we care about? What we are told to care about or what is really important? Who decides? So here is everyone's chance to get involved.

You decide what is important - all of us can. People power really works. That is the great attribute of democracy, that is if you care enough, if you speak up and get involved. If you vote?

But if you don't, if you can't be bothered, if you are tempted down the road of "I don't make a difference, I am only one" - if you think like that then don't complain when all the Jungles have gone along with the insects and fish and great mammals and the skies are empty of birds - when only cockroaches are left and the beauty has gone and we sit back and say - but hey - I have got a screen and I can see it there, even though I have to breathe through a mask.

What usually works really well, if you are unsure of what is really important, ask a child.

Rick - Suffolk - UK - 5th April - 2019


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