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Lodge, Reginald B. The Story of Hedgerow and Pond

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Lodge, Reginald B. The Story of Hedgerow and Pond
London: Charles H. Kelly, 1911. - 332 p.
I WONDER how often children say, and bigger people too, that there is nothing to see? Perhaps they are told to go for a walk; and they say, "Oh, that is such an ugly way; there is nothing to do, and nothing to see".
Then another direction is suggested, but they don't like that one any better; there also, they say, there is "nothing to see".
But are there not the hedgerows, which give England its chief charm? In my opinion a common hedgerow is more beautiful and more full of interest than the best-kept garden. In fact, very often the more pretentious a garden is, the uglier it is. But the hedgerow is full of life and full of surprises for those who take the trouble to look for them, and the more you search the more there is to reward you for doing so, while the changing seasons provide a constant variety.
If you were to start to-morrow to collect, or only to count and keep a list of, all the different plants and flowers which you could find in the hedges and growing on the banks and sides of the ditches wherever you happen to live, you would have work enough to keep you busy and interested at every season of the year for a very long time; and then if you added to that list other kinds of plants in different parts of the country " when at school, for instance, or on a visit, or at the seaside " and then took notice of all the many living creatures which live and find shelter and food in our hedges, you would find that after all there is plenty to see in the hedges of the most ordinary part of the country, even close to London and other large towns. To show you that you need not feel hopeless of seeing anything near London, I may tell you that during the last few years I have myself seen one hundred different sorts of birds in the suburban parish where I live. And a large proportion of these birds live chiefly in the Hedgerow Life hedges and bushes.
The hedgerow to many small creatures is really like a forest to larger ones; in it they can hide, and live in their own way, and obtain food, without exposing themselves to danger.
But if you want to see and understand all the varied sort of life which is going on in the hedgerow, you must look for it carefully. Half a dozen boys and girls racing along a road after one another, and shouting at the top of their voices, will see nothing. For one thing, they are so occupied with their games, and talking to one another, and larking about, that they have eyes for nothing else; and for another reason, the noise has given warning to all the roadside creatures to fly away and run into their holes and hiding-places until all the disturbance has passed. Even the snails think it wise to draw in their horns and shut themselves up in their shells in case they might get trodden upon and squashed flat.
If you only knew it, there are hundreds of bright-eyed, timid things waiting for you to pass before they can come out to feed; and I should think it very likely that they wonder sometimes why children make such a lot of unnecessary noise. Now, play is a very good thing indeed. But suppose you have nobody to play with, and don't quite know what to do. Then it is that you will find what a blessing it is to have something you can do by yourself, and do it better than when you are with others.
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