Wallowing in nature

These are noisy, scattered, uncertain times. Now and again, some stillness is called-for – and that’s a challenge. Even before the pandemic, I was terrible at doing nothing.

But I can wallow endlessly in nature. Put me by a plant and I can lose myself in its miniature community of wildlife.

Sketching the tiny creatures I share my plot with takes fast work, mind you… bees have things to do and even snails can be surprisingly speedy, so I have to look at them, properly, and make a shorthand sketch in case they make a run for it. That focus is its own kind of respite.

I don’t always draw what I had in mind. The main sketch was supposed to be of the innards of the tulip, all classical swagger even with petals dropped. But a bee joined me, busying itself around the three cornered leeks, so bee it was. Below left: snail central, after the rain. Then the sage, a great big Spring squabble of species, here, aphids and a ladybird. And a smaller, paler bee working its way around the lonicera as energetically as the lonicera has spread out in its new home.

So in Mental Health Awareness Week, here’s to the little workers in the garden. Even the snails. Thank you for the wonder.

Biro, watercolour, fineliner, on waste paper.