There’s a riot of flowers going on and it’s hard to ignore. Roses and honeysuckle hanging over the twitten walls flood my senses with their smells and gorgeous appearance. It’s blissful – just imagine how a honeybee feels on a day like this.
I’ve been so distracted by fear for the future of life on earth that I’ve been hooked out of the pure pleasure of existence. And yet I’m getting reminders that the future isn’t a linear scenario. Although I feel sad that the starlings who normally chatter in the lime tree near my house are no longer there, and the housemartin who has inhabited my neighbour’s roof for a decade hasn’t returned this year, I’ve also been pleased to see some species return. In my woods, the small pearl bordered fritillary, a butterfly that had shrunk down to only a few mating pairs in Sussex, has made a delightful comeback – I saw about 30 on one day last week.
My friend Persephone sent me an article about the reappearance of a red tree rat in Colombia which had been thought to have become extinct a century ago. And I’m over the moon to hear that the Great Bustard was reintroduced to Wiltshire from Russia in 2009 after a long absence from the UK. I last saw one of these amazing birds, which can grow to a metre tall and weigh 20kg, a while ago - stuffed - in the Booth Museum in Brighton and had never forgotten it. So perhaps, even if species withdraw, they can return given the right conditions, and this has to be one of the future scenarios.
The problem with fear is that it makes me (us) ill and that’s why I got cancer a while ago. I choose to live. So I’ve come up with a plan: no newspapers, keep the internet to a minimum, and take a break from the stories of mass extinction for a while. Of course, I’m still going to live simply, because that’s what makes me happy anyway. I’m going to smell the roses for a while.
Picture by Nick Robinson