THEORY: David Attenborough’s vocabulary can move you
David Attenborough isn’t always enthralled almost to the point of ecstasy, but when he is, he is watching nature from a billabong in northern Australia. From a recent interview with The Guardian, ostensibly about his new series, Frozen Planet:
In Life on Earth, his first series that told the story of evolution in 12 hours of groundbreaking television, [David Attenborough] referred to Darwin as being “enthralled almost to the point of ecstasy” by his discoveries. Does he recognise that feeling?
“Again, it’s a bit highfalutin but there are occasions, yes. The process of making natural history films is to try to prevent the animal knowing you are there, so you get glimpses of a non-human world, and that is a transporting thing. A displaying blue bird of paradise is one of the most mind-blowing things you can imagine, but I suppose if I had to pick one I would say I remember getting up before dawn and going to a hide we had built by a billabong in northern Australia.
“Going there in the pitch dark and just watching dawn, watching the animals coming to this billabong in front of you, seeing the birds arrive and the kangaroos coming out and then seeing the crocs gliding across the top, and pythons snaking through the water and then these wonderful ibis and magpie geese and the sun coming up and the whole thing, I mean you suddenly saw a kind of prelapsarian, paradisical, Rousseauesque, Breughel-like world of the garden of Eden. Hmm … “
Hmm, time to shut my laptop and reconnect with nature, starting with the big bugs I’ll have squished by shutting my laptop.