top of page

A good world

This is this week's picture in the desk diary, that I don't use as a diary, but for the surprise of a new picture each week - well almost every week - some don't have a picture. The diary showcases the work of one Charlie Harper who was born in 1922. I have never heard of him, but I find his pictures, whilst not great works of art, satisfyingly simple and somehow neat. This one's a cheery sort of picture is it not? Which I think comes from that bright red and the green of the leaves. And it has a cheery title - A good world.

And yet.

In some ways it demonstrates the horror of trying to grow fruit and vegetables. It is full of pests. I suppose the plant is a wild blackberry, and therefore not to be mourned - after all it takes over if it gets in. But all of the animals are busily attacking it. The bird and the squirrel - I assume it's a squirrel - are eating the fruit and the butterfly, or it's offspring, are busily chewing away at the leaves, so this particular blackberry plant does not have the upper hand. But then again, blackberries are delicious - grown commercially they cost a fortune - and some of my happiest childhood memories are related to seasonal blackberries. So delicious, in fact, that we were prepared to brave the multiple thorns to get to them.

Now if this was a plant in my veggie patch it would be very distressing. My fruit gone and the plant destroyed. But here it's feeding beautiful creatures and restoring balance - preventing the plant from taking over. Well then again maybe not - because the animals will excrete the seeds and more will grow. So whilst this particular plant may suffer, its offspring will multiply elsewhere and the animals will survive.

We all love butterflies for example. They are beautiful and yet they lay eggs from which emerge caterpillars that eat the plants they find themselves on. Squirrels are cute but an enormous pest in America - here we have possums which are much the same. And then there are the birds - all beautiful but all destructive in one way or another - either to plants or to other animals and yet helping to disseminate seeds far and wide, and to pollinate too. There's good and bad in that as well of course, for as well as helping our fruit and vegetables and flowers and trees to grow, they are also spreading weeds.

And yes - it's a balance is it not? The structure of that picture is circular - the squirrel's tail, the curve of the blackberry twig, the curves of the bird and the round berries themselves. Good things, bad things, good things, bad things, so it goes, on and on and on. To quote yet some more clichés, 'you win some, you lose some', 'there are two sides to every question' ...

And that's where we are today. It's a really bad situation. People are dying out there.

And yet.

People, on the whole, are being kind, innovative, creative and are reaching out to others. Even some politicians (not all - they just can't resist can they?) are trying to do the right thing. Are actually trying to help. They may not get it right but they are trying.

I don't know what the shape at the bottom of the picture is. A rock, a tortoise, just a shape? I admit to being mystified. As I am at the outcome of our present situation. Will there be thorns, or roses, or some of both. I suspect you can't have one without the other, so let's concentrate on the roses.

Yes, I know - very corny, but I liked the picture and it's topical.

bottom of page