1 August 2017


On Sunday morning it was –3oC here in Hamilton, New Zealand. That's about as cold as it gets, and it usually means that it will be clear and sunny and there's a southerly breeze. Outside there was a frost, and it was absolutely beautiful.

Having not slept in a garage or out in the open, as no doubt at least some people had, I could just enjoy the beauty of the morning, with a warm fire at my back. He who had chopped our firewood (my husband) was twice warmed - or would have been if he wasn't out surfing. (Henry Ford quote: "Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice.") The water, he reported, was quite warm - at least, compared to the air.

Cheap thrills

A few weeks ago I heard a kakapo scientist on the radio say that each time a kakapo female lays an egg it uses 10% of her body's calcium. As a chicken-keeper, egg-laying is close to my heart. I don't know which percentage of her body's calcium a domestic chicken uses to produce an egg, but is spectacular how the three scrawny feathered things in our back yard can lay one ALMOST EVERY DAY for at least three years! One of ours is struggling a bit this winter - she's not as young as she was. But this feat of nature, helped along by a lot of selective breeding, is truly something to be appreciated.

Another of nature's feats that I notice is the ways trees branch. It's just like blood vessels in the body. The trees are maximising the amount of light their leaves get, and the blood vessels are maximising the tissues they can deliver oxygen and nutrients to. Same design.

I am the zillionth person to love this stuff. And the more you know about nature - the biology, chemistry or physics of the natural world, either because you've studied it or lived closely with it - the more there is to be thrilled by. It is truly the art of the earth.

Wanting too much

So it saddens and amazes me that here we are, these creatures who can intensely appreciate and admire nature, and understand so much of it, and yet we are unable to just enjoy it. Instead need a bigger house, a flasher kitchen, a newer car, a foreign holiday, more ease, more ease and more ease ... the list goes on.

And directly because of that insatiable list of wants, much of what makes this planet so spectacular has been and continues to be destroyed.

Please, can we all just want a bit less, and enjoy a bit more? Note: this will also make us happier!

(The New Zealanders living in garages are definitely allowed to want a bit more. They need roofs over their heads).

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