Today I looked low and noticed some lovely ground-hugging wild flowers – all delicate and petite.
Here are some tiny, blue germander speedwells, and some yellow birdsfoot trefoil, and the delightful white field mouse-ear. It would be quite easy to miss them, but when you do notice them, they are joyful sprigs of colour at this time of year before summer’s bracken towers over and conceals them.
Looking low reminded me of a wonderful essay written by the Norwegian philosopher and ecologist Arne Naess about the place called Tvergastein which he called home. Home was a place of belonging; it was part of himself. And many things comprised home, least among them being the building that housed him. Home for him was the landscape – the mountains that cast their shadows, the animals – especially mice and reindeer that frequented the area, and the flowers. And because this place was so far north and so high all the flowers were small, and to see them you really would have to squat down and observe carefully. It might seem that they were huddling together to hunker down against the extreme weather, but he thinks that is to misinterpret them: ‘they are probably having a very good life together.’
This home, this environment, belonged to him, and he belonged to it. It was a place-person which had the power to draw him back, and where he could put down roots. He said that what was remarkable about Tvergastein was its capacity ‘to furnish the basis of a life of simplicity of means and richness of ends’. And the richness of ends was the transition of the place from being just a location, to being a ‘very special personal place’.
[Arne Naess Ecology of Wisdom, Penguin Modern Classics]