After two weeks away in an primordial wonderland, the return to England is marked by the richness and abundance of natural life. Butterflies, buzzards, bees and at risk of excessive alliteration, berries and birds…
The volcanic land that we have been exploring is markedly barren due to the relatively new (300 years old) volcanic activity and the lack of annual rainfall (~20 days a year). The Montañas de Fuego last saw volcanic eruptions in the 1730s. Even after 300 years little plant life has taken hold. Lichen is starting to cover the rocks but other than that a few hardy bushes and succulents punctuate the harsh grey. There are a few lizards and insects but notably almost no daytime birds. In contrast the sea is teaming with life! Only a few yards from the shore you find an abundance of blues, blacks, neon, stripes, spots… fish the size of dinner plates to shoals of little tetra like sparkles – a few cheesy wotsits on the surface of the water and you have a feeding frenzy – truly amazing. But back to the essential colours of new life on the island and we have deep reds, purples, blues, earthy oranges and emerald greens. The hardy cacti and succulent-like plants that populate the shores are punctuate by bright flowers in high contrast to their desolate environment.
That environment is such a world away from the one we sometimes take for granted in England. As I say, on return, as I sat in the garden summoning up the will to attack the lawn’s 3 weeks’ growth, I was greeted by butterflies aplenty, young buzzards calling to their circling parents, bees busy harvesting, berries, plums, rhubarb, and birdsong.
But all of these observances are of Mother Nature’s ways. So often we turn to natural phenomenon to illuminate our condition but what of our fellow wo/man? What everyday glories of man might we equally celebrate?