Eyes of a Child

Definition of a naturalist: Someone who has never grown up, and shows no inclination to do so.
That’s me, at any rate. I still retain the inquisitiveness of a four year old. The child within is present in all of us, but sometimes the annual layers of age hide the heartwood like the successive layers of bark on a tree. So, come with me for a walk by a small stream in the foothills of the Thriptis mountains, strip away the years, and view life through the eyes of a child.

What’s that? Is the first question that a child asks on seeing something new, and identification is the first step in looking at the natural world around us. This flower, for example is a St. John’s Wort, Hypericum empetrifolium. Why is it called that? Is the next question that follows rapidly. ‘Wort’ is an old English word (pronounced wert) used for plants that can be used in cooking or medicine. St. John’s Wort, particularly the sister to this one, Hypericum perforatum, is an anti-depressant, which can be used in place…