There, I said it.
I also like plants and trees. I’m partial to the odd patch of moss too, and a sighting of fancy lichen will have me positively rubbing my thighs.
In this context, here on a blog dedicated mainly to gentle experiences in nature, it’s not so much of a confession as a celebration. I hope you feel the same about our photosynthesising friends (yes, lichens too).
At school, while I wasn’t bullied, I was certainly teased for my interest in wildflowers rabbits, trees and birdcalls. We didn’t have ‘geeks’ or ‘nerds’ back then. As a nature-loving young boy I was, instead, ‘gay’ or ‘girly’ so I learned to enjoy nature as a mainly solitary, private experience. Not such a bad thing – I have fond memories of spending hours, quiet and alone in trees, studying rabbit warrens, or knee-deep in long, warm grass, chasing the rasp of grasshoppers.
Although things aren’t perfect, I am joyous that times have changed and that young people – boys in particular – can be their true selves. Engaging with nature is celebrated as a fundamental and intrinsic part of growing up, and it is becoming clear that, not only did a little mud never harm anyone, but being a little wild is healthy for mind and body.
To the young writers who turn over rocks and logs in their blogs, who campaign to protect cherished birds and insects – you amaze and inspire me and, perhaps more importantly, present a collective voice proclaiming to your peers: it’s OK to be kind, gentle, and to proclaim your love for plants (and lichens).
One of my favourite blogs is written by a young man Dara over at https://youngfermanaghnaturalist.com/. He is an amazing ambassador and inspiring figure for young people (and young lads in particular) everywhere, with a wonderful story about how wildlife and nature helps him to cope with Asperger’s. Well worth a read, and a follow.
Which young bloggers do you wish everyone knew about? Let me know in the comments.