Tuesday, 22 May 2007

The alternative ending

May, lush May! All around Lewes the plants are peaking in their annual festival of colour and scent. As I walk, I soak up the dazzling profusion of abundance. Honeysuckle vies with jasmine in promiscuous abandon for the insects of the day and the insects of the night. The flies and bees and moths eagerly help these gorgeous blooms during their short window of fertility.

I remember as a child noticing intensely all the flowers in the London streets, learning their names from my father. That’s what inspired me to study biology - the science of life. And as the years pass, the awesomeness of nature soaks more deeply into my being. Last month, my son Adam and I shook the ornamental fruit blossoms around the bowling-green on to each other, confetti scattering madly in the hot air. I notice my favourite trees as I walk, many of them old ones like Bay and Lime and Apple. Opposite my house there is a fine young but ancient Ginkgo Biloba, next to it an Elder adorned with flowers. All these trees and herbs are our medicine.Now as I walk the short stretch from home to work, I pick wild flowers from the verges, and the odd Rose hanging over someone’s garden wall. If you stop to smell the roses, you will find that they all smell slightly different; walking through Lewes you can experience an orgy of noble scents.

Breathe in deep; blast away the thin veneer of civilisation. The primitive pleasure of life itself is right here, right now.

I wrote this as an alternative to a piece I wrote that despairs for our future. It helps me to remember that beauty will exist for ever - if we remember to seek it

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