“The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But that is the best of all” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ve had a mini crush on hedgehogs ever since I read the books by author and illustrator, Jan Brett to my grade school class. The kids were so jazzed about hedgehogs that we did a whole unit about the little critters.
After reading an article in The Ecologist, Why Only Hedgehogs Can Make Us Love Nature, I’m surmising that kids love hedgehogs not only because they are cuddly, but hedgehogs are so much closer to the ground than adults. The kids can relate. I think we all loved the cute fact that a group of hedgehogs are called “a prickle” too. I digress a bit from the original premise of this post and article, and that is: There is a lot we can all learn about nature from hedgehogs.
British scientist and author, Hugh Warwick has been studying hedgehogs for 25 years. He suggests that since the connection humans have towards nature has been documented to make us happier and healthier we need to get closer to nature to heal the planet. The more intimate that connection, the better. We don’t generally live in the woods, scavenge for food or avert advances from predators. So, we need to find ways of falling in love with the natural world, as he feels it is the only way we will be truly moved enough to alter our behavior and stop its destruction.
Warwick describes his experience of connecting with nature through hedgehogs:
“One of my most profound experiences began with a hedgehog called Nigel. I was working in Devon, radio-tracking hedgehogs to see how well they coped with life in the wild after time in wildlife hospitals. They were doing great (apart from badgers and cars that is) and one of them, Nigel, had become my favorite…At four in the morning I had just finished work and stepped outside to do my teeth. Nigel sat looking up at me, and then he headed off towards the narrow lane…I ended up lying on my stomach just a few centimeters away from my busy friend…What dawned on me was that there is no other wild animal that most people can do this with…By being nose-to-nose with a hedgehog I was able to see his world from his point of view, and I was also able to see into his world through the glint of wildness. And once we have seen that spark, it is hard not to be drawn into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the natural world.”
Have you ever fallen in love with the natural world through the eyes of an animal? Are there other ways of connecting more with nature that will help us heal the earth?