Today has been glorious, causing me to dust the mouse droppings off my lounger and spend a happy hour or three sitting on the patio listening to the grass grow and the birds and insects hum, whistle and buzz. I have been mostly serene, but at one point, while watching the antics of my garden Dunnocks, a sudden irritation arose in my bosom at the people who say: “I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.”
Dunnocks can do that to you. The Dunnock ( Prunella modularis) is, relatively, plain and unassuming, mouselike even, a nothing-in-particular bird in shades of brown and grey.
But: Dunnocks are really really special, because they are the only species in the genus Prunella which occurs in Britain. The other 6 or 7 have ranges stretching from the Pyrenees to Siberia. Knowing this adds immensely to my enjoyment of the Dunnocks in my garden.
Thank you for listening. If I were you, I would go for pizza and lovemaking: nothing like a bit of yang to round off a spicy bit of yin.
Now, before you leave me for a peperoni pizza or a torrid session of lovemaking, just list a sec while I tell thee about the Wren. Our Wren (Troglodytes troglogytes) is the only representative of the genus in the Old World. Essentially, wrens are New World birds (about 9 species with vernacular names like Cactus Wren, Canyon Wren and Bewick’s Wren. Ours appears on the American content in winter as the Winter Wren). Knowing this adds immensely to my enjoyment of the Wrens in my garden.
OK, tell your partner you will be there right away, as soon as you have served up the pizza or perfumed your parts, but stay with me long enough to consider how much we are enriched in our AESHETIC enjoyment of things by our INTELLECTUAL appreciation of things. Not either-or, but both-and: yin and yang: “I know a lot about art, and I also know what I like.”