Small is, indeed, beautiful. I have loved small things since I was very young and had a small box full of even smaller things. I was a real magpie back then seeking out things that shone. I have changed a lot since those days but I still love small things. More than that, I love small moments. Moments that are captured by time and place and held onto forever. In my world these are often seasonal moments and my favourite are when one season is ending and another one is beginning.
We had our first gentle frost this past week and I dashed in the house to get my phone. These moments are always worth recording. I believe every season has magical moments but winter is, by far, my favourite season and it is knocking on the door. As well as the gentle frost the winds could cut you in two as you struggle along the beach wondering on the wisdom of your decision to go for a walk. The storms are more frequent, more evident and last longer. The island gets storm bound most weeks for at least a day. The trees have all lost leaves but I love the gritty determination of the oak trees in our garden as they are still in full leaf. I feel the sycamore, for all its height, gives up far too easily. We are blessed with a red squirrel population on the island mainly because of the absence of grey versions. Their busy time has peaked now and we see less of them as they sleep away the colder days and nights.
However, we have contrasts to these small seasonal moments that just don't feel right. Our wild strawberries are flowering again. My sister's rose is budding up ready to burst into glorious bloom. The wasps have re-appeared and I even found a baby toad the other day hopping through the grass. These moments unsettle me as species become very vulnerable if they get out of season. Worse than that is the knowledge that, as a species, we have caused most of those out of season moments. We have made other species more vulnerble. This always feels like a form of bullying to me. The lonely child in the playground exposed to the mercy of the school bully with her fan base right behind her. So, these small moments I don't love. I want to come out from behind the bully and go and stand next to the lone child or the tiny toad jumping through the grass having lost its way.
So maybe all small seasonal moments are not to be cherished. More important than that is we all need to understand our place in this crisis and do everything we can to ease the suffering of our fellow species that inhabit a planet we all call home. My garden wildlife enounters include toads and frogs, squirrels, birds (including two resident buzzards), insects by the millions, a feral cat (or 2), and a rather special hedgehog that lives in the remainder of a tree that fell down two winters in a bad storm. This is enough for a community of small folk and I do everything I can to protect each and every one of them. I am sure many people reading this do exactly the same in their garden community. Imagine a world where we all did that? x