Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind

Parrot looking over its shoulder

Though I remember going to see the film, I had no idea what the number referred to, so I looked it up. A mere sighting of an alien ship – a close one, mind – is the first kind. The third kind that gave name to the film means seeing an alien. If you speak directly with one, it’s the fifth kind.

It baffles me why we don’t have the same avid fascination to talk to the wild creatures we have on Earth, to find out what they can tell us. You can pooh-pooh this, but if we spent the money collectively invested in looking for the man on the moon to achieve a close encounter of the fifth kind with intelligent life on our own planet, dolphins, say, would we have had a breakthrough by now? Continue reading “Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind”

Rare Breed Pigs, Nose To Toes

Black pig sleeping on straw

Posting a picture always involves looking at it anew, so now I’m confident that though this black pig seems to be asleep, she’s more alert than she appears. She’s got that Sunday feeling: she’s feigning sleep so as not to be bothered.

I have a lot of admiration for the ear that gives her away. It’s got a sci-fi character, it’s streamlined, and it looks perfectly designed for its primary function.

It is hard to place her expression. Continue reading “Rare Breed Pigs, Nose To Toes”

The Art Of Bonsai

Twin trunk style bonsai (Acer buergerianum)
Maple and fern | Mendip Bonsai Studio

Bonsai trees provoke mixed responses, although well grown, they can be as beautiful as one of nature’s giants. This Trident maple (Acer buergerianum), grown in the twin trunk style, is around 120 years old. Its eggcup sized companion is some kind of fern. Techniques to keep plants so small include wiring them into shape, then pruning roots and branches while restricting them to very small containers.

It’s tempting to see them and feel torn. Is it unnatural? If so, is going against nature cruel? Continue reading “The Art Of Bonsai”