I find this time of year very exciting, as do many others I’m sure. Animals are digging new holes or clearing out and extending last year’s dens, setts and burrows, colourful blossoms and blooms are popping up everywhere, and we’re well into the breeding season. Of course, it’s things nature related that really feed my obsessiveness, to a point where they take over much of my life in one way and another. If it’s not blogging, it’s photography, research, Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve, mooching through undergrowth, following tracks, solving small animal mysteries, pouring fetid water from me wellies, and don’t forget the marsh cattle: they must be checked at least once each day. All the pieces picked up and collected from here, there and everywhere, or stumbled upon when least expecting it, I try slotting into my virtual nature jigsaw, hoping it will one day result in a flash of revelation before that final breath renders my efforts and struggles nought but words and images whizzing from one icloud to another.
I am completely self motivated, and in many way I’m following my nose whilst also paying close attention to the strict requirements of a larger picture. I use the word “strict” in its proper sense here: Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve, for instance, is subject to strict rules and regulations that are not to be taken lightly.
When I started my nature jigsaw, 10 years ago, there really weren’t many pieces that fitted together correctly. Over the years, though, the size of the puzzle has grown enormously. There is now quite a large central core of pieces, relatively speaking, that fit together and form a recognisable picture; however, there are many clusters and individual pieces placed at various distances around the central core, at positions I judge to be more or less where they should be, in the hope that one day they will all become one with the core to reveal the overall picture and the answer to life, the universe and everything.
I know I will ultimately fail to complete my nature jigsaw, or find the true answer to life, the universe and everything, but at least I will have had a fantastic time trying. For now, though, I put such scary notions to the back of my mind and dwell on the fact that when I shed my mortal coil, there will be many things left unfinished and undone.
Don’t panic! The answer is 42.
For years I have tried to photograph the first bluebell in Hoo Wood, but the first and quite a few others have bloomed overnight.