Embracing the child in nature.
Words associated with childhood: play; exploration; discovery. My guilty secret, I still indulge in this activity. In a modern society that paradoxically creates an infantile population through overzealous management of every aspect of an individual’s life, the ability and opportunity to become childlike has become discouraged and denied by control and regulation in society. There is no economic or practical advantage to society if free-spirited individuals enjoy simple, selfish and free pleasures in nature alike to a child simply enjoying splashing in a puddle of water.
The mantra is work and spend, yet last Sunday I choose to do neither. On impulse, I get on my bike on a beautiful warm day, and I cycle ten miles to Mersea Island. No map, no plan; I become a child, exploring, discovering and playing, armed with a bottle of water, a packet of digestive biscuits and a camera.
I head down a road I have always wanted to explore. I become lost, but discover the beautiful world of Friday Woods. I accidentally find my way back to civilisation, and then the road to Mersea Island. I look for a notorious haunted rectory called Borley, but end up at the wrong rectory. I cross the causeway into Mersea Island, neither knowing when the tide will come in to cover the causeway, or what to do if it did, trapping me on the island. Of the two turnings, I choose the wild side of East Mersea. I discover red squirrels live on Mersea, my goal to photograph one.
I find the impressive Mersea Tumulus. Such burial mounds are a neolithic or bronze age practice, but my ancestors were still burying important people in these burial mounds two-thousand years ago. Mersea Tumulus is Roman dated around the time of Emperor Trajan. A Roman villa was found nearby and people say ghostly music emanates from the burial mound.
I go exploring round the rear of the burial mound. I discover dozens of red-tailed bumble bees hovering all over the ground, seeking to hollow out holes into the mound to raise their young. Here is a place of life and death. I leave the bees and travel on to places I have never been, down roads I have never travelled, a child on an adventure.