…but earwigs don’t make chutney.
A strange title to be sure, but it’s actually a reference to an essay I wrote in my teenage years for a biology exam. It was a result of having revised the wrong subject and having to sit in the examination room for a minimum of 1 hour. So I thought it would be better to write something if only to amuse the examiner. Those were the days…
My job entails a lot of public interaction, which inevitably involves a lot of “chat” and often includes the subject of the day. Most days the subjects are clearly defined and one has a clear idea of where loyalties lie, which boundaries should be avoided, and which lines should not be crossed etc. etc.
More recently, I find myself bombarded with subjects that seem to divide everyone. Economics/climate change. Johnson/May/Corbin/Trump. EU/Brexit. Oil/Nuclear power/Iran. Hong Kong/China. The list seems to go on and on… I have tried and tried again to form an opinion that seems well informed and doesn’t offend, and have failed miserably.
However there are some things I do understand.
I understand the role of the yellow rattle plant in the meadow. The dodder plant’s strangling hold on its host. I understand that although that wasp buzzing around my pint of beer is annoying, it also has its place in this world. I understand that the tree grows and one day it will fall and die. Wood boring insects and fungi will be part of its decay, and return its power, soul, energy and nutrients to the soil.
But as for the rest of the subjects I mentioned before, I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply don’t understand anymore.
So I find myself feeling like a fish out of water amidst all the current discussions. All the bees around me are very busy making honey, and I don’t feel part of it.
The yellow rattle plant was always considered a weed and something to be eradicated. Now it is actively sown to promote wildflowers and diversity in modern meadows.
Dodder is one of the few natural controls of the spread of gorse across our wild moorland areas, and its seeds are being investigated for their medicinal qualities. And people now buy the spores of certain soil fungi, because it has now been found that through symbiosis, the fungi actually benefit the plants growing in this soil.
So if you feel a bit like an earwig surrounded by all the busy bees, don’t worry, you have your place in this world.
(Incidentally, I can make a wicked chutney)