Monday, March 14, 2005

Nurture to Nature to Nurture

The omens are looking up. The sun shines in freezing air. Whittling away on a senseless repetition of ideas following the death of a wren, which I decide to call, Disquietation on the Death of a Wren, without even knowing if there is such a word as disquietation, I suddenly switch on the radio, lucky and delighted to hear the last 10 minutes of the Book of the Week, Richard Mabey's, Nature Cure, which has been well reviewed: a book I want to read soon. It makes me shine, too, when Norfolk is mentioned: nothing better than to listen to someone talking about or to read of what you already know well.

As the story is read I try to pinpoint where he might be describing with his talk of a house in the upper Waveney valley. What about the radio play (a thriller) - there is a tape somewhere - based on my local market town? What a shock that was to hear the names I knew so well incorporated into a thriller! How I tried to find out who had written this script! I just had to know whether this person was a local and if not why chose here. And also wanted immediately to use my own piece by piece local knowledge to write something similar.

Richard talks in his first episode of a woodland he bought in the 80s - which he later had to sell - and what it taught him. I recognised this at once: my own nature rambles, through local woods or on the famous coastline between Wells and Scolt Head Island had taught me so much more than books. The thing itself: except you always get the books out afterwards for confirmation.

I could not have learnt so effectively about the way salt marshes form if I had not cut a whole through mud sprouting samphire to find the layers of gravel and silt like the rings of a felled oak.


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