Becoming Curious

April 3, 2024
Jason
3 Comments

There’s something rather special about making a ‘new to you’ discovery isn’t there. I can recall numerous encounters with the natural world that awed me as a young boy, each of them an interaction with a commonplace creature.

I remember the first time I identified a bird myself using a bird book. It was a Starling and I was about 6. Then as a young pond-dipper I almost fell over in shock when I dredged up a Diving Beetle larva that looked like a miniature and extremely deadly alien being. Before my teenage years arrived I met a Scorpion Fly and marvelled at the tail curled over its back with a big fat ‘stinger’ pointing my way. I was too young to know the glorious appendage was purely for insect intercourse!

Wot dat? and Why?

Children are great melting pots of new things aren’t they. My eldest daughter’s favourite words as I wheeled her around in her pushchair were ‘wot dat?’ accompanied by a pointy finger and her toddler son asked ‘why’ again and again when out on country walks.

What’s that bird song? Why does moss grow here and not here? How does the Bat echo-locate? Where do Frogs go in winter? When does the tide change? Who knows how to listen to the rocks? There are so many questions wandering about out there.

I’m not absolutely sure why this quality of curiosity can tend to leave us as we get older, maybe it’s educated out of us, but life is far less fun when we are no longer questioning or questing. My chosen hobby gives me pause for thought as I stare intently through my lens waiting for the snail to do something. Yesterday’s question was ‘how on earth does this tiny Snail find a mate of the same species?’

Curiosity

Being curious is a beautiful way of staying engaged with life and for me this ties in with seeking enchantment and mystery. Fortunately we don’t need to go far. Yesterday’s snail was in the neighbouring wood, but it could just as easily have been on my doorstep, or slinking up the wall. Wherever we live we will be surrounded by a veritable cosmos of beings who carry on their lives as they’ve always done, living in harmony with their niche, keeping our universe ticking over, leaving a trail of question marks in their wake.

Like all the rest of nature these tiny beings manage to live in total sync with the land, not taking more than they need, giving at least as much back and with a level of self sufficiency, or rather cooperation, that the majority of humans can only fantasise about. I narrated a poem over on Earthlight a few days ago that included the line ‘constantly beaten by greater beings’. In so many ways I see these creatures as much greater beings than myself, and I welcome the mysteries they beat me with.

In fact, the animistic approach of our ancestors acknowledged the wisdom held by these beings. Most cultures knew them as wisdom keepers who could be entreated to share their ancient truths and help guide our path. This is why Nicola and I see nature connection as an integral part of our earth spirituality and do our best to walk with awe and wonder through our land. Our conversations frequently weave threads through our nature sightings, wondering if they have messages and meaning for us, whether this be from a blustering Pheasant or a watchful Short Eared Owl.

Mossy Meanderings

Closer to ground though, the beetles and bugs have their insights too. Perhaps we just have to look a little harder and contemplate a little deeper. During yesterday’s woodland filming session I was claimed by two slugs, one snail, a couple of woodlice, a nematode and numerous teeny tiny moss dwellers who I think may be springtails. All for my upcoming film ‘Mossy Meanderings’. Come to the premier if you like, it’s on Wednesday evening, the 10th April and will be part of an event where we’ll celebrate the tiny realms, talk about creativity and connection and I get to launch my new book ‘Moss Erotica’!

As we strive to align our lives with the rhythms of nature, being curious and questioning, leaving space for enchantment and mystery, is the best way to make ourselves available for intriguing insights into the workings of the worlds. The beauty of it is we don’t have to go far, or indeed anywhere to find the nature of our place. Peer into the corners and explore the forgotten margins where edges collide and you’ll find lots of questions, and no doubt some answers too. Before long you’ll want to grab yourself a magnifying glass for a closer look! 

About the Author

Jason

Jason has been a visual storyteller all of his life and follows an animistic, shamanic path from his ancestral lands of Anglezarke on the edge of the West Pennine Moors.
Formerly a professional photographer and film maker he now uses his art to help others fall in love with the land that little bit more.

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  1. I've a hoard of ladybirds in the bathroom… Reading this has made me more curious about why they are there? have they been sleeping or just hatched? Where were they before they apeared? why do more keep appearing? why won't my landlord fix the window so it opens and they and I can help them outside, where sure they belong, yet they are obviously in the bathroom for some reason!!

    1. I am also curious about this behaviour in ladybirds as we have had the same thing happening in our bathroom fir several years . My partner also recently came across a very large number of ladybirds in a public building which is open to the public but not visited very often and he has released those he can reach outside but some are too high up. If anyone can explain this behaviour, I would be very interested. Thank you

  2. I love this, Jason. I am fascinated by the mosses and lichen on the heath near my home. Their tiny complexity amazes me. I sometimes look at all the vapour trails of aeroplanes passing overhead and wonder why people are rushing off to distant places when there are so many worlds to explore right beneath our feet.

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