Last week Stacey DeAmicis took advantage of the lovely weather we’ve been having and ran the Nature Writing workshop outside for some added inspiration.
‘Wall’ by Alice Boydell (1st year Marine Biology student)
This piece was written during the Nature Writing session on 11/03/14.
A large skeletal tree stood central to the far end of the garden, its spindly arms were outstretched and reaching up high into the vividly blue sky. I was immediately drawn towards it, mostly because I wanted to see if it was ‘climable’ but also because it appeared to be watching over the garden, protecting it, and it seemed rude not to go and see it up close.
A towering stonewall stood to the left of the guardian tree, a barrier from the noisy world on the other side. It appeared to be extremely dull and uninteresting. Besides it is a wall, and walls are made to separate things, compartmentalise, they are not open to beauty or sharing. It was covered in a stick-like plant covered in intricate twirls, frozen in time, appearing to be grabbing at the air, searching for a handle to hold. Upon closer inspection, between the large greying stones and the crumbling concrete holding them together were small cracks and crevices. If enlarged they would not be dissimilar to large caves, and like caves they contained a variety of mysterious creatures.
In a particularly long, thin crevice, snails hung from the roof, bat-like and silent. A small insect carcass laid crunkled on the floor below among the tiny stones and lichen. At the forefront of the crevice is a complex web, spun so delicately and it gently dances in the breeze. Everything here is still, and quiet, almost like there is no life here at all. In the far corner I notice a very large woodlouse. Its body reached to the ceiling of the crack and its extensive length meant that only half of it was visible. It was motionless. My curiosity overwhelmed me, so I carefully prodded the creature with a stick. Suddenly the crevice erupts into a flurry of movement. A group of tiny woodlice scurry out from behind the bigger one, as if they are ready to protect their large friend. This was not the case, in their panic they scatter themselves across the wall and move as far from the giant as possible. An ant scuttles along the wall and a small fly lands briefly at the entrance, as if they are checking out the situation, but they both decide it’s not worth the time and leave the scene swiftly. I notice the web starting to move, and I can see a small spider bouncing up and down, pouncing on imaginary prey. Having caused enough confusion in this crevice, I moved to the next.
This was smaller than the first, and covered in green lichen, which leaked out of the crack and ran down the wall. In the centre was a circle of iridescent stones that glistened whenever a rare ray of sunlight kissed their surface, mimicking small diamonds. It looked like a tiny fairy tale scene. A group of woodlice huddle in the corner and small cocoon like structures cling onto the wall. They are more snails, so delicate and tiny. There is no movement here. Everything is still, basking in their small paradise. I cannot disturb this setting, so I leave having realised that this wall doesn’t separate the world from beauty. It is beauty.