Over us, under us, giving instructions to the natural world’s chorus. The first is one that no human can fail to note.

Storm 13 Jun 20

Or maybe some can; I don’t know. Cities are good at pretending that the sky isn’t there, obscuring it with skyscrapers and masking stars with light. Rain is the grime on the pavement, the warning in train stations announcements that passengers might slip – but in the real world, it is life, teasing beautiful things from the soil.

Spotted orchid 14 Jun 20

Orchid season has finally sprinkled pink and purple beauties for the watchful to see. Rain has grown them, and it looks like we should get plenty more showers this week.

Other species are in bloom too, not least foxgloves.

Foxglove 14 Jun 20

And invertebrates take advantage of the suddenly lush vegetation. Small skippers lay their eggs on Yorkshire-fog and other grasses.

Small skipper 14 Jun 20

Grasses: we take them for granted. But the reality is that most of England has seen its plant cover severely degraded by recent changes in land use. This second conductor, the land, isn’t always easy for people to comprehend. A field that is overgrazed by horses can still look pretty, but it supports far, far fewer species than an old haymeadow.

Over us is the weather, and under us is the soil. Between them, they conduct remarkable things.

Fox resting 13 Jun 20

11 thoughts on “Conductors

  1. That is such an interesting observation how life-giving rain can be perceived as a slippery grimy nuisance in the cities, and yet it is essential to life as shown in your beautiful photos. The expression on the fox’s face is remarkably engaging – it is at once inscrutable, watchful, friendly. The photo provides an amazing sense of connection. Or am I just being fanciful?!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful post, Adele. I agree with you about the nature of nature — how we need that rain and how the hayfield and the close-cropped fields offer such a different menu for wildlife. I love the fox photo! Well, all your photos are gorgeous, but this fox is a darling.

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  3. Now that you mentioned grass, I remembered an old SF book written in 1956 by an English writer John Christopher “The Death of Grass”. Not the best of post apocalyptic novels I read, but the reason I remembered it was the fact that grass does not come only in shape of Poaceae (“true grass”) but also as a wheat, barley, rice, bamboo… Novel tells a story about world being affected by a strange kind of virus that killed all the grass – making a tremendous famine that extincted good part of humanity.

    Grass is important!

    “Cities are good at pretending that the sky isn’t there,…” I don’t think that Calgary could ignore what happened in the sky yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting – it is good that writers picked up on that so long ago and perhaps need to do so again! Our relationship with grass is certainly odd. We often dismiss it and yet would die without it.

      “I don’t think that Calgary could ignore what happened in the sky yesterday.” – ah, June in the prairies! What a mess. Glad that there were no serious injuries. My comment was really aimed at megacities like London which have developed a peculiar attitude towards the natural world from the sky downwards. Everything is a nuisance simply for being. In the wildwood, nothing is a nuisance.


  4. Yes. Everything is in concert. Few people understand, for instance, that here in the north, an early spring can be devastating for so many species. Bears, for one, will wake up early and there will be nothing for them to eat. They will come into towns in search of food, and then they’re in contact with humans which can be a death sentence. Early springs often cause fast snow melts that lead to floods and then to droughts later in the season.
    Great post – well said.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good points. Conflicts with wild things can sometimes be foreseen and mitigated by better understanding of the natural pressures on their behaviour.

      I wonder how the bears are doing in Europe this spring, come to think of it. Although I don’t think the continent’s been as dry as the UK.

      Liked by 1 person

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