Hurt No Living Thing
Our wonderful world of insects.
Living in the middle of a forest for a number of years has made me change my attitude towards my fellow creatures, and above all towards insects. I have never felt more strongly that our world is shared , and that we human beings should adopt a greater responsibility towards its preservation. Where once I might have shuddered on seeing a large spider, and stamped on it, my instinct is now to either gently remove it or, if I dare to admit, even leave it where it is. How can one watch a spider weave its web with such care, often over and over again in the same place , and not admire it? I well remember watching a yellow orb spider over a number of weeks, as it set about trapping prey outside a bedroom window. Its ornate web was a thing of great beauty.
Every summer a tiny spider chooses to weave its web across a gap between two cypress trees close to our pool. If I should forget to take an alternative route, I may barge into this and ruin its day's work. Shame on me! On such an occasion it is admirable to watch how the spider starts all over again. We humans can learn a lot from such resilience.
Our forest is abuzz with insects , too numerous to mention. The longer I live here the more I am filled with awe and fascination. I do not pretend to know much about them, and can merely describe them. Of course butterflies are the most flamboyant, from the beautiful swallowtail to the tiniest common blue , and whenever I see one it takes my breath away. Sadly, where once we saw clouds of butterflies in summer, they only appear in ones or twos nowadays, although the real test will be when the lavender is in full flower. I love to watch them as they gather nectar, each variety of butterfly working in complete harmony with the others. Again , we humans can learn a lot.
But nothing can match the industry of bees as they gather nectar from dawn to dusk, long after the butterflies have retired. This year we are keeping our grass long and it is full of flowers for the bees. We are only too aware of diminishing bee numbers everywhere as modern agricultural methods endanger our world . We cannot do without the bee and his valuable work. Every spring we smile as the masonry bees arrive to make their nests in our Ikea shelving, laying eggs in the tiny holes, and stuffing these with pollen . Sadly, their numbers are declining too. Throughout the summer I love to watch bumble bees , and honey bees gather nectar , and the big lumbering , harmless carpenter bee, whose black body shimmers with blue when caught by the sun.
I could not possibly list all of the insects that dwell in our forest .There are flying beetles in iridescent shades of green,blue and red; striped and spotted beetles; tiny beetles no bigger than a pinhead, and large blundering ones with waving antennae. Here are just a few of the insects that we have seen in our garden over recent years.