Welcome back to the garden. Today’s Lockdown Poem is a small piece about our small and rather scruffy pond. It’s raised, and I’ve built a staircase of broken pots so that creatures can get in and out. We’ve had frogs, and toads, and a couple of species of newt in the garden, but it takes real patience and dedication to catch them on camera – I haven’t managed it yet.
As I was trying to watch the frogs the other day, I couldn’t help thinking of the observer effect, and the uncertainty principle. I am sharing lockdown with people interested in physics, so these things do come up from time to time. Of course, these effects are very different from the difficulty of observing and counting frogs, but they do help shape how we think about looking at the world. We know that there are things it’s hard for us to know for sure, and that our attempts to know things can disturb the things we wish to study.
And so the number of frogs in the pond remains a mystery, if I wish them to remain in the pond. Like so many things, we know in part, and see in part. And that’s good – for the frogs, and much else.
Metaphysical speculation aside, I hope you can take a moment to enjoy the garden, and the frogs. Maybe one day I’ll be able to take a picture, and add it in here. For now, here’s the familiar bench, to sit awhile, and think of frogs and uncertainty.
Frogs – uncertainty. Lockdown 8
There are frogs in this tiny pond
I should have cleared it,
made more room.
I have seen one, two, three maybe,
but to look, to try to count,
is to disturb them,
and I want them to stay.
I lean back, so my shadow
The presence of frogs,
the knowledge of the
presence of frogs,
is joyful, so joyful,
I hang back, and give
I shall come back tomorrow,
early, and look again.