I’m fascinated by the small details of nature:

The way the fronds of a feather lock into place – a technique that we crudely imitate in the production of zips.

The fragile beauty of a leaf skeleton after the body has fallen away.
It’s like the complex criss-cross of lines on my youngest daughter’s hand. A palmist would have field day with Laura’s reading.

The freshly fallen fruit of the horse-chestnut tree – the spiky outer layer, the whorled pattern on the conker as it vacates its soft, fleshy womb.

Tiny green shoots emerging from the ground, illustrating the complexity of life and the miracle of survival.

When it snows, I hold my hand out and watch the soft flakes melt, although it leaves me with a fleeting feeling of sadness, like when icicles drip away to nothing.

I watch bees collecting pollen, butterflies enjoying a midsummer dance, ants pushing clods of food toward their nest, flowers breaking out of their buds, the varying species of seaweed on the seashore, seashells, and even the smallest chunks of worn-away glass and driftwood.

I am riveted by giant forces of nature, too:

The shapes and colours in the sky, at sunrise, sunset, noon and night. Each season and every mood of weather brings its own interest.

Storms excite and revitalise me. I like to be outside, with the rain pelting down, and the lightening throwing brief, dramatic images across the landscape.

Wild seas draw my attention; the sight of waves as they break, splash and crash, the music in the sound the ocean makes.

But trees are the most fascinating of all; those gentle plants with their beauty and variety, the abundance of flora and fauna they harmoniously support and live alongside, while they help to hold the planet together, clean the air and make it safe for us to breathe.

Finally, I used to get a kick out of casually observing the clumsy art of adolescent flirtation, amused by how subtle they considered themselves. For example:

A small group of girls encounters a small clutch of boys. Without warning, the girls crank their voices up a couple of notches. The boys ignore them, so the girls get louder. They say things like.

“Oh no! It’s them. I hope they haven’t seen us.”

“I don’t think so. We’d better get out of here before they do.”

If that doesn’t work, they switch to high-pitched, giggly, theatrical chatter about make-up, or they might bitch about the latest victim of spots or bad hair. Eventually the boys notice them. There’s a flicker of interest. Time to repeat “Oh no! I hope they haven’t seen us”, et al, and flounce off, weaving around a bit so that it’s easier for the boys to catch them up. Half-an-hour later, they all reappear as a single group. The girls are insulting the boys. The boys are lapping it up, although  their carefully practised lazy gait is distracting them somewhat. The girls are flapping their arms about, energetically twisting and turning. 

Job done!

It’s all changed. The progressively smutty lure of time has stolen their innocence. I prefer to close my ears to the obscenity. I’ve heard eleven year old girls claiming to have been party to sexual experiments that I have never dabbled in, and wouldn’t wish to.

Trees are sticklers for tradition. Unlike young teens, they are always discreet.

Written for Calen’s Sandbox Challenge, Exercise 10.

©Jane Paterson Basil

28 thoughts on “Fascinating!

  1. The possibility of pregnancy, used to be a deterrent for youngsters. I guess even today, too maybe? Many methods of birth control in the past have left many a poor woman, without the pleasure of children.

    When younger, I owned; with my then partner, First 7 then later 10 acres, of B.C. woodlot. In the 1990’s I came to the conclusion that trees possessed a type of mobility and intelligence. That humans in their rash way concluded these sentient beings were just growths on the Earths’s surface and not able.

    The oldest known organisms https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-05-05/earths-biggest-living-thing-might-be-tree-thousands-clones are trees and shrubs.

    Few people really stop and consider what that means. For it means, we do not own the planet. We are stewards, for it. Something that cities really ignore and run rough-shod over. In B.C. some of the finest alluvial soil garnered over centuries of snows and floods In Delta B.C.While minimally protected much of the land is under pressure, from land speculators who see it as only measured in dollars. … sigh!

    In conclusion, it’s the fractals that map our universe. Nicely written. The Horse Chestnut seed. The humble conker is a divine shade of browns … The eating chestnut is way more plain in appearance. Ain’t it? Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for the link to that interesting article, Jamie. I’d like to go to Utah. I’m fascinated by the consistancy of the sand on the Salt Flats.
      As a child I took trees for granted. I didn’t speak of or question their sentience, just accepted them and knew their various, quiet personalities. I had favourites, and it wasn’t necessarily the size or stature that appealed to me – just the feeling of warmth they gave me. It was only after I grew up that I realised I had always intuited them to be sentient. A few weeks ago I visited a tree I used to spend time with, only to discover it had been uprooted in a storm. I don’t often cry, but that day, |i sat down on the wet woodland floor and wept buckets.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I had that sort of feeling, such a strong piece of writing. I’m sure you would’ve felt good after writing such a powerful story. 😊 Our own words are such good medicine for our soul. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this! “Storms excite and revitalise me. I like to be outside, with the rain pelting down, and the lightening throwing brief, dramatic images across the landscape.” YES, YES, YES!!! And the leaves and trees! I have a skeletal leaf (a couple in fact) that has been dipped in gold as well as a necklace and earrings from tiny pine cones. LOVE nature stuff like that. And shells! Have you ever seen what a grain of sand looks like under a microscope???

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. When I had a shop in our local mall I found the teenage mating practice endlessly entertaining. When my son was fourteen picked up a ridiculous walk, which he used whenever he was in town. I made the mistake of mentioning it to him once 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love that last line 🙂 So strange to see things change so quickly… back in the day, things were different. Things were more modest, perhaps? I don’t know. It is strange to see how much change takes place in ones lifetime! You seriously have beautiful eyes… for you see the beauty in all there is to see. I am there with you,hands outstretched, counting the snowflakes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I remember when I first saw an image of a snowflake as seen through a microscope. I took a handful of snow and looked really closely, expecting to see a lot of lovely, complex designs. I was so disappointed when I found I couldn’t

      Liked by 1 person

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