Here is my first blog. And my first website. I hope you like it.
After chatting for a while with a friend's son, a few months ago, he asked me the question that most people get asked in my situation. Why springtails?
It's a fair question. I get asked it a lot.
What he really meant was, why on earth would you waste your time on that stuff? But at its heart, the question leads on to another question. Why anything?
Some people obviously know a lot about stamps or diesel trains. They've got little books of coloured, perforated squares and train numbers and I genuinely don't understand how something that seems so cold, pointless and boring to me could hold someone's interest. But at the same time, I also have to accept that my Collembola-spotting anorak is even bigger.
Being obsessed with tiny micro arthropods isn't lifted up by any mighty, humanity-saving purpose either. Of course it isn't. It is what it is. But, importantly, the pursuit of your passion doesn't need to be meaningful to anyone else. If trains turn out to be the thing that makes you feel, that makes you want to get up in the morning and breathe it all in, even if it's diesel fumes, then I'm right there with you. Stamps too. Passion is of itself, enough. It doesn't really matter about its form or even lack of obvious function. But it's certainly important to find yours. It's an essential part of our humanity.
I know that 99.8 percent of people, and I'm being generous, would find spending six to eight hours a day on their knees with a hand lens and camera, decidedly brain-deadening. And yet, here I am, sure of the fact that nothing could be more fun. My passion for collembolans, my little springtail friends, has made me give up my job and my home and set out on a journey across the world with a backpack, camera equipment and bug spray. And I have not once regretted starting or felt the excitement of discovery diminish as the journey has continued.
So, why springtails? My reply is the same every time. I just love them. I think they are amazing. It makes me happy just to watch them going about their tiny lives.
And honestly, my friend's son had the same reactions as I always get. Initially confused, as I seemed pretty normal. Then a little taken aback while reassessing his initial friendliness, finishing with a slightly saddened for my loss look.