Do you love nature?
The chances are you'll say yes, of course! and go on to waffle self-righteously about the iniquity of plastic straws, and your deep nostalgia for hedgehogs, skunks, vampire bats, or whichever other item from your childhood's wildlife register is currently under threat.
But here's another question: is there room for people as well as nature?
I'd hope you'd say yes, of course, to that, too, but there's no doubt there's a strong misanthropic streak among many lovers of the natural world. The most extreme example I ever came across was a lady who objected to the killing of mosquitoes in malaria-infested areas of the world, but even mild-mannered elderly people stomping round suburban nature reserves sometimes give a strong impression of resenting anyone else who ventures to visit them.
This subject has been in my mind since visiting Tyttenhanger Quarry, which is maintained as a Nature Reserve by the owners, Lafarge Cement UK.
Here's the reserve (it's much prettier when the sun's shining):
Photo by Nigel Cox, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9191752
The place has paths round many of the old quarries. These are now lakes, but industrial Health and Safety rules must still be in operation because at regular intervals along the paths there are placed lifebelts.
The sign on each one says:
THIS MAY SAVE A LIFE: LEAVE ALONE
This has left me wondering if the people of Tyttenhanger might be even more misanthropic than the poor mosquito lady.
Word To Use Today: life. This word has been around for ages. The Old English form was līf.