N is for Nature

He sat in the back of the car. It sped through the world, the enormous world, his part of it was small, but not. He had possibilities, as only the young can have.

“I-spy-with-my–little-eye-something-beginning-with N.” His eyes flashed with mischief. They always did. He had thrown a challenge to those of us in the car, it could be anything, literally.

“Nest.” I said.

“No.” Delight in the little voice from the back.

“Nuts. No I can’t see nuts.” Said another small voice trying to join in, desperate to be right.

“Um… nectar.”


“Nothing.” Another sibling this time, already bored with the difficulty of the clue.

“Give up?”



“Um, ok. I give up then.”

“It’s nature…” Triumph, no one guessed it. His was a solid clue, brilliant, obvious. It was, literally all around us. Trust my young man to see it when we could not.

Years later, I travelled along a similar road, with Nature flashing past the windows. I remembered my little boy, his delight and obvious pleasure at his cleverness. He was clever.

Nature is, with a capital N. It just is, until it is not. Then, new generations of little boys and girls will play virtual eye spy with unseen opponents, will they look down at a screen, rather than out the window, or from within it? Nature is, Capital N, we can see it if we look. It's all around, from valiant verge gardens in the heart of the urban jungle, to the gardens of the wild planted by birds, the weather and the seasons, by Nature.

It's all around but we can’t name it. Many of us don’t notice, as it speeds past the windows of life. What do we see as we watch the trees and plants whip past? Blurred green, colour, not life?

Once, the only time nature whipped around was when it whipped itself. Now we do that, we whip nature, will she whip us back? I would.

Let’s be kind instead and gaze in wonder from the window, celebrate and support the cleverness of the wild, the possibility of the N clue.

New, Nurture, Noises, Nuance, Nourish, Nests, even now, the N clue is difficult to solve, neat and nice are nowhere near powerful enough. Now is a word, now or never, what if, regardless of what we call it, how we Name it.

What if global warming is a thing and we don’t act, if we stay neat and nice? Not nurturing, not demanding change, from ourselves and from others? What if we continue to ignore it and pretend things are ok to blame someone else for the changes to the reef, the weather, our world?

“What can I do?”

“I-spy-with-my-little-eye-something beginning-with-N?” Nothing? NO!

Here are some clues. Eye spy change, in yourself

D – decide.

It is something to do with you and yours.

C – choose

To do something, anything - take a cup to the coffee shop, refuse a straw, water bottles, and other single use plastics. Hey, its cheaper. Use that as your motivation until you see how bloody easy it is to be part of the decision, part of the future of nature.

As I drive along the road, the view is different, as it has to be. Life changes and so does the view. Nature valiantly sticks its head up from the concrete and asphalt, trees stand hopeful growing in the neat circle we have left them to reach through. Fashionable hedges, grassed areas planned and manicured. Is it enough?

Our children, now and in the future, trust us to know what to do, to decide and choose well.

Our children, want to espy the nature, they want to roll in it and play in its shade and hug the trees. Just like children, just like we used to do. 



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How to eat an elephant

This short story is dedicated to angels and special people everywhere. 

She set off on life's journey, expecting adventures of all sorts. She lived and loved and laughed a lot and sometimes life was fraught. One day she found her path had changed, the road took quite a turn. The day turned dark, the road was narrow, the skies began to churn. It was confusing. Our heroine unsteady. She could not change it, not that she was able. Her journey on this cold, dark day was stopped by chair and table.

She felt she had no option, so she stopped there on her way. It was quite dark by now though, surely it was day. A table on the road of life, now what is that about?

There was a darkness emanating from the space, blocking out the sun. A hulking thing was sitting on this table set for one. It had a presence of its own, this thing that caused the dark. She was unsure how to continue for this thing had left its mark. She thought she’d better investigate and see just what was what.

Upon this large and lonely table was an enormous, great, grey meal. She looked around, and round about, but an edge she could not feel. She thought, now can "I get away? This dish looks too alarming." She cocked her head and thought a bit and hoped that she was charming. This awful meal could not really be, just left out here for her.

Alas for all the charm and hope, all her thoughts and care. She looked around her with a sigh and settled in the hard, hard chair. She felt completely overwhelmed, very sad and scared, alone in the world, seemed nobody cared.

But then a voice came through the depths. First one, then there were many. You can do it, yes you can. We believe in you the voices said. I know by now you are thinking, the noise was in her head. She sat alone and wondered at the noises coming around. She sat and looked at the ugly mass that somehow she had found.   

The meal it was all powerful, the end was ne’er in sight. But the voices kept on coming, the strength of kindness and of light. It was more than she expected, more than she thought would come. She sat alone knowing this was her story, understanding it’s her lot. The chair grew softer, the meal was less, she was no longer glued to the spot.

I know you all are thinking, what a tale of doom and gloom, but sometimes from the darkness a flower starts to bloom. Hope restores you see, though we know not how.

The voices that were singing in the murky atmosphere, were angels, simply angels, sent for her to hear.  As the fog continued lifting, she found her strength was gained. The dreadful meal could stay there and there it would remain. She stood up from the meal of awfulness, put both feet on the floor She said "I’ll not take this - not any, any more."

She walked away from that old table filled with grey. All our paths have twists and turns it is simply just the way. But this young girl, was filled with blessings. It seemed that she was fine. Her friends had gathered round her. They did this all the time.

Kindness came from every place, it was certainly surprising. Her faith was being quite restored, she felt her strength arising.

To say that she is humbled, to say her heart was glad, it simply isn’t words enough for the friendships she has had. To those of you who stood beside, to you who really knew.This little girl stands on the path ready to face the day because of you.

Thank you for your wisdom and your kindness and your faith. Thank you for your belief in this tired little waif. How do you repay the wonder of the angels who had sung to her that day.

The year of too much 2011…. x