I don't find it easy to reach the grass on account of my mobility issues, but during the last few days the grass in our garden has practically reached me, particularly when I am sitting down. This extra growth is because we attended last year's Suffolk Wildlife Trust Nature Summit and made a pledge to 'say no to the mow', with the exception of a walk-through trail, which has been invaluable during lockdown for my shielded exercise.
A couple of days ago I was sitting outside, scanning the blades of grass for signs of ladybirds as we have more blackfly than ever. I was not exactly richly rewarded, but I did find a couple of 7-spots, like the one in the photo above and below.
We often imagine a bird's eye-view, but what would it be like to be half a centimetre long and surrounded by a green jungle of stalks? Authors like Lewis Carroll, Jonathan Swift, 'B.B', Beatrix Potter, Hans Christian Anderson, Richard Adams, Kenneth Grahame and numerous others have, to one degree or another, given this question some kind of thought. A number of these writers were creating imaginary landscapes: others had political messages to impart. Some have helped us to adjust our outlook and perspective, enabling us, in Blake's familiar words, to see 'a World in a Grain of Sand'.
Would I write a poem myself to explore the nature of the ladybird's grassy wilderness? Well, I might, but I haven't just yet. Instead I decided to have a play with one or two of the Photoshop and Photoshop Elements filters, bearing this thought in my head. These are a few of my resulting images, some more fantastical than others. I hope they will make you smile, but perhaps they will also help you to share my ponderings...
This last ladybird, the one above in a mosaic-filter style, is possibly my favourite of the experimental images. I think this is because it reminds me of an exquisite stained-glass window in Alloway Parish Church in Scotland, Alloway being the birthplace of Robbie Burns. The text accompanying the image is from verse 22 of the eighth chapter of Genesis.
You can see these Alloway stained glass ladybirds above and below. They are part of the Four Seasons Window, designed by Susan Bradbury.
Next time you see a ladybird in the long grass, why not take a moment to wonder what its world must be like.
Grass features in a surprising number of poems. I am posting links to three that you might enjoy...
- A Blade of Grass by Brian Patten
- In Tall Grass by Carl Sandburg (beautiful, and elegiac in tone)
- On Not Mowing The Lawn by Mary Oliver
* * *
This post was written in response to Dr Miriam Darlington's #30DaysWildCreativity Facebook prompt. You can find Miriam on Twitter: @MimDarling