Nature as Wallpaper

I noticed the temperature today. It’s been a mild day. The temperature is one of the first thing I notice in the morning and note in any journal writing I do in the morning.

Today was a day of rest after a parkrun yesterday. I spent the day organising myself for the week ahead, inside, in the house, amongst everything ‘man made’.

Nature was something in the distance for me today… It was merely wallpaper and nothing I really paid much attention to.  I’ve borrowed this metaphor of ‘wallpaper’ from Thomas J. Elpel.  He has written an excellent article on ‘nature as wallpaper’ :

Nature exists as little more than wallpaper in most people’s lives. In the modern world we are surrounded by pretty green foliage with a few flowers for splashes of color, plus birds chirping pleasantly nearby and manicured ponds with ducks looking for breadcrumbs. It is all very quaint, but who really pays much attention to wallpaper?

At best, we are sometimes so taken with the scene of a rainbow after a storm or a butterfly visiting a flower that we pause for a moment to admire the walls of our world, but that is about as far as it goes. Some inspired individuals appreciate the scenery enough to seek out narrow wilderness paths where they can get a completely unobstructed view of the walls. But very few people ever make it beyond the paper.

 The real world, as people experience it, is the world of people and culture. It is a world that we have built and it has real substance and action–buildings, cars, movies, parties, song and dance, and an endless stream of newsworthy events. With so much going on, why would anyone ever stop to investigate mere wallpaper?

Adapted from his book ‘Participating in Nature‘ (2009).


Happy New Year at Aberdare Park

A New Year seems like a great place to begin Nature Diary III, my ongoing experiments with noticing nature around me.

Today on 1st January 2019 I visited Aberdare Park located in Trecynon near Aberdare. 

The first thing I noticed was a female sparrowhawk (Accipter nisus).    Blurred in the photo taken on a smartphone.  What a spectacular bird to see on a walk in the park. Other birds noticed today : a treecreeper and nuthatch.   

Light conditions caught my attention.  I noticed the subdued afternoon light over the lake and a brighter blue sky over Llwydcoed in the Cynon Valley.

  There were plenty of squirrels darting about, some more brazen than others.  When I waggled my arms at some of them they creeped up closer to me expecting to be thrown a tasty nut.

The green daffodils shoots are beginning to push through the soil.  My rhubarb stalks at home are about the same height.