A video popped up on my Facebook feed from BBC’s Big Blue Watch Live. Unusually for me I decided to watch the video. This video showed the presenter Steve Backshall interrupting someone he is interviewing to talk about a rare sighting of a blue whale that had just surfaced nearby. Click here to see the video.
The excitement in Steve's voice as he discusses this rare occurrence and his first encounter with this giant of the seas is palpable. This feeling of discovering something previously mysterious and unknown is one of the most amazing feelings you can have when exploring the natural world. I have had a few equally exhilarating moments. My experiences have involved the chance finding of rare plants, very close proximity encounters to rare birds and animals or discovering somewhere that is just so beautiful that words cannot fully express.
Two recent experiences involved me manically driving to particular locations to conduct surveys. The time constraints of these surveys left me little room for thought or contemplation. Both times I was suddenly faced with an immense landscape that struck me as the most amazing thing. In both instances time was forgotten, all stresses and concerns immediately vanished and I was directly connected to my surroundings in a state of complete amazement.
In these moments you are also reminded that as a human on this planet you are simply a small component of a much larger system. Nature can be more beautiful and more frightening than anything man can ever conceive and this builds a form of humility.
For most people these moments occur rarely, but when they do, they can change the way you see the world and the way you live your life.
Is there any better reason to go out and discover the natural world?