Positive state of mind worth aiming high for
MY recent piece on retaining the ‘sense of wonder’ has caused a flurry of very positive communications, from the simple and straightforward ‘Sean, that was a little gem’, to the more measured and particularly humbling from student Sarah Bracegirdle, of Stockport.
She commented: “I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your recent story in the Stockport Times.
“Your articles are always insightful, but this one spoke to me so much I felt I had to get in touch.
“You’re absolutely right; we should never lose that wonder for nature and wildlife. The simple things seem to get overlooked all too easily these days, and an honest reaction to the magnificence of nature sometimes seems not to ‘fit’ certain aspects of modern society.
“As a student studying French in urban Birmingham I often feel quite removed from nature and wildlife, both physically and mentally.
“It’s one of the reasons that my mum very kindly posts me cut-outs of any wildlife-related articles/ pictures I might like from newspapers – including yours – and gives me regular updates on how the birds in the garden at for half a second, and I often don’t understand how they aren’t as thrilled as me by the sight of a robin.
“Your words about the importance of keeping that unashamed admiration for nature, that innocence and curiosity, came at an opportune moment and meant a lot. So, thank you very much.”
My pleasure Sarah. Another reader asked me if I had really met Sir David Attenborough, so here’s a picture for the proof!
Truth is, I have and he’s a top bloke. It’s not every day you get to meet your hero and I remember the first time with great affection. He is the doyen of British, indeed world, naturalists; but perhaps more, because he is an inspiration with his attitude to life.
We met as Fellows of the British Natural History Association, he got his on the same day as I got mine, and as we talked, he enthused about filming projects in a couple of years’ time.
Best of all was when we were in the cloisters of Epping Forest School, getting changed into our robes and he asked me, matter of factly in the voice of a thousand programmes, ‘how do you put this silk hood on Sean?’ before turning around and asking me to give him a hand.
He reminds me very much of an artist friend of mine, Edna Whyte.
Edna, who lives on the tiny Inner Hebridean Island of Luing, is 85 this year and yet she is working towards an exhibition of paintings in two years’ time.
Theirs is a state of mind to aim for, the point being, if you come up short on the old life stakes, then at least you will have been striving for something, as opposed to watching for the diggers leaning on their spades.
Okay, that’s as profound as I get in a family newspaper, but hopefully you get the picture.
●● Proof that Sean met Sir David Attenborough as Fellows of the British Natural History Association
The Laughing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Padfield, Glossop