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John Muir Award

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

Spring is on the way!

hazel catkins

The start of 2011 has been exceptionally busy for us here in Kent and the feeling that Spring is nearly upon us has prompted some “spring cleaning” and nest building of our own. We have implemented lots of alterations to our computer and paperwork systems and we have sorted kit for the start of the bushcraft season when we will be rushed off of our feet!

When life is busy it is far too easy to overlook some of the wonders of Nature. We have been starting work in the office and stores early in the day and not finishing until late at night and have therefore missed all the daylight hours in the outdoors for the last week or so.

With this in mind I sallied forth with Inca and camera so I could capture the beautiful hazel (Corylus avellana) festooned with pendulous male catkins and, where exposed to the warmth and light of the sun, the tiny and secretive female flowers appear.

It is always a rewarding lesson that some events in Nature are gone in a flash and it reminds me of the eloquent and contrite poem of W.H. Davis called “Leisure”:-

"What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare."

by William Henry Davis 1911

Davis lived for a while in the Kent village I grew up in called Weald or more often these days Sevenoaks Weald. I recall one of my primary school teachers Mrs. Green telling me that Davis lived in their house which was Pot Kiln Cottage in Mount Pleasant Road. I first discovered Davis as an author in the early 1980s when I read “The Autobiography of a Super Tramp” – a book I intend to revisit in my own leisure time.

In the meantime I shall heed the advice of W H Davis and "stand and stare" and look for more wonders to share on the Badger Bushcraft Blog.

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