Heard about people celebrating the Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire? It’s simply the longest day of the year (21 June) when the Earth is tilted farthest away from the sun. Despite the image of ‘hippies’ arriving there, in fact the local authorities have ordered many to leave, as they keep leaving too much litter (so much for being earth-friendly). There is also a winter Solstice on 21 December. Wildlife are all affected by both, as they are out foraging and eating in summer, yet have to conserve their energy in winter when trees are bare, and there is only 8 hours of daylight.
The Time Nature Keeps is a visual guide to hep you set your clock to the natural world. From nature’s longest sleepers to the lightning-fast communications of bacteria. How far do birds migrate, and for how long? How fast do viruses spread in towns versus the countryside. And where are you safest? Do dogs really need more sleep than humans? How long does it take an immortal jellyfish to die? Take an infographic journey of discovery through the animal and plant kingdom, and become an expert on the rhythms of nature.
As nature draws our attention to its plight, these pages shed light on the truly remarkable range of the natural world: how plants and animals grow and age, sleep and migrate, and reproduce and die. Spanning ideas big and small, this is a visual trove of nature’s clocks that explain our world’s cadences at a glance. Dr Helen Pilcher is a science writer, with a PhD in cell biology. She was shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation. She lives in Warwickshire.
Many people who celebrate the solstice identify themselves as pagans. This is a pre-Christian religion that likely was authentic at the time. The problem is today it is associated with everyone having to buy trinkets like unethically-sourced crystals, and the names Wicca and (God forbid ‘witchcraft’) makes many people shudder, that the love of nature has to be associated with putting spells on people! Of course there are good witches (like that nice woman in The Wizard of Oz). But don’t play around with energies you know nothing about, and just enjoy God’s creation of the natural world, no covens necessary!
Wicca is a slightly made-up religion, along with a lot of other new age-ish things. It’s a mash-up of all sorts of different things. You mix it all together and the whole thing is an excuse to worship in the woods. I felt like I was physically dragged out of Wicca, like I was being told ‘You’ve got to get out of here because this is not good stuff you’re doing’. There’s all sorts of strange forces at work. Paul Kingsnorth