I was not in a good mood already. I am not going to explicitly talk about monarchy, and the passing of the Queen of England, but I am ok to say that I’m against all of it. Which is fine cause I’m not British and so many out there may think I am no one to care. I live in this country cause I want to. And that is fair enough. This context is important because it was thanks to the passing of the Queen that we were given an extra Bank Holiday. A very unexpected one, that surprisingly did not make me happy. If anything I feel guilty, for taking advantage of a day off given so the subjects of the Queen can watch the funeral. Grieve her. And whatever.
So when I woke up on this extra day off I was a bit meh. I did not feel like leaving my bed. I forced myself. Sometimes you have to be tough. I cannot fall into a certain state of mental health sometimes I get into… so I thought I should spend some time in nature. That always helps me. To clear my mind, to feel human again. I got dressed, picked up my camera, and left the flat. The crispy morning air welcomed me and made me feel refreshed. Already glad that I had left the house.
This Summer I didn’t go to the parks as often as I’d like to, because of the scorching heat. The parks themselves were dry and dusty. Right now is the best time. So I headed to Hampstead Heath.
I was intending, as many times before, to take a photo of a robin (once again, unsuccessfully). When you’re trying to photograph the little animals of the forest you need to listen very carefully. I was avoiding the paths with people, especially noisy children, and the dogs – really trying to get into the heart of the forest and stay still. While photography is merely a hobby for me, it has helped with a skill I really lack – patience. And to capture any sort of wildlife, patience is key. And you also need to move with the lightness of a feline – again nor my forte.
I was walking in the Heath and reached a clearing where no other humans were around and all I could hear were the whispers of the forest and the chirping of different birds. But then, a noise stood out. Looked like someone was smashing some sort of plastic bag. And that’s when I saw this squirrel, who seemed to be intent on licking every single last bit of salt from the bag of crisp someone had left behind. And while the scene was indeed comical – to the point that not even my close presence made the squirrel give up and run – I could only worry about the health of the squirrel.
Surely these amounts of salt and fat wouldn’t be good for its health. But also how much microplastic was the squirrel consuming, alongside other chemicals in this package? And how long, after the squirrel has finally given up on this piece of rubbish, this would stay in nature, slowly decomposing, gradually contaminating its soil and who knows how many other creatures, some that may not be as pretty or photogenic as this squirrel, but do so much work, the unsung heroes of nature?
I’ve done many, many walks in the Heath, but today I simply saw too much crap lying around. Cans, bags of crisp, cups of coffee, deodorant sprays… likely the result of a jam-packed summer in the park, as the UK saw temperatures rising to historical levels. Ironically, precisely because we are not caring for our Planet. And while the politicians, the big conglomerations, the oil industry and so on and forth are definitely to blame, each one of us can do at least the bare minimum. Just fucking take your trash. Dispose of it in the many bins you’ll see around. And if you don’t see any, just fucking take it with you. This is the BARE MINIMUM. This is in your hands – is it hard? Too much work? Are you too important to carry the rubbish you created for a while longer? The squirrels don’t need these toxic leftovers. Just do the fucking bare minimum and do not pollute our parks with your shit.
This post is a bit of a rant, a bit moody. Yet, there are things that sometimes just need to be said. And this is also the bare minimum I can do.
2 thoughts on “The Squirrel & the Bag of Crisps”
Hey, Nic. Hampstead Heath is a park we did not explore properly while in London this winter. The weather was awful and the ground boggy, but it is absolutely a gloriously green area of London. Nature is, as you say, soul-soothing and we felt so much better last week after spending two days exploring the Botanical Garden here in Batumi. You trying to photograph a robin made me smile, because Sladja considers that one of her greatest failures in life, ha ha (not managing to catch a clear shot of a robin while in the UK). The plastic bag and the squirrel image is beyond sad and troubling. Your anger is understandable. Taking away your trash is the bare minimum, however, surprising numbers of people are unable to do this.
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Hey Leighton, thanks so much for reading and commenting! Oh robins, they are sooo hard to catch! So funny she has the same goal… I’ve only managed some dark and blurred images, the little creatures always manage to fly away when I’m almost, just almost getting the right shot! But I won’t give up 😀 I did get quite angry, it was so much dirtier than what it used to be… Hampstead Heath is definitely a heaven in the city and I lose some faith in people when I see such things… there is simply no excuse!
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