Hazel expressed things she knew nothing of as a blackbird does. For, though she was young and fresh, she had her origin in the old, dark heart of earth, full of innumerable agonies, and in that heart she dwelt, and ever would, singing from its gloom as a bird sings in a yewtree. Her being was more full of echoes than the hearts of those that live further from the soil; and we as are all as full of echoes as a rocky wood - echoes of the past, reflex echoes of the future, and echoes of the soil (these last reverberating through our filmiest dreams, like the sound the of thunder in a blossoming orchard). The echoes are in us of great voices long gone hence, the unknown cries of huge beasts on the mountains; the sullen aims of creatures in the slime; the love-call of the bittern. We know too, echoes of things outside our ken - the thought that shapes itself in the bee's brain and becomes a waxen box of sweets; the tyranny of youth stirring in the womb; the crazy terror of small slaughtered beasts; the upward push of folded grass, and how the leaf feels in all its veins the cold rain; the ceremonial that passes yearly in the emerald temples of bud and calyx - we have walked those temples; we are the sacrifice on those alters. And the future floats on the current of our blood like a secret argosy. We hear the ideals of our descendants, like songs in the night long before our firstborn is begotten. We, in whom the pollen and the dust, sprouting grain and falling berry, the dark past and the dark future, cry and call - we ask, Who is this Singer that sends his voice through the dark forest, and inhabits us we ageless and immortal music, and sets the long echoes rolling forever more?
Thursday, 11 February 2010
Saturday, 28 November 2009
So this is not goodbye to wrens-and-hedgesparrows, just perhaps a break for a while. Meanwhile I thought I'd pick the three posts that mean the most to me - 'life's teachers'. I could, and perhaps should, include parents, sons, small grandchildren, other life-partners and friends though I would have to start a whole new blog ...
For now this is my choice:
i) Christopher - my best friend for a decade until he died, far too young. He opened so many doors of knowledge though I wasn't ready to walk through them back then. He never judged or gave up on me and he remains one of the best people I have had the privilege to know.
ii) Michael - another dear friend, who didn't make the full distance.
iii) The Real Middle Earth - this is a thread that is woven through my life.
Thank you for reading - hopefully we will meet again soon ...
Friday, 20 November 2009
We started our walk up Green Street towards the chalk track that leads to the Ridgeway, what followed was a memorable day for all present. Somehow time seemed suspended - the enthusiasm of the Yorkshire three was energising and inspiring. We walked to the Polisher again, then onto the rare cup-marked stone (see photo above) courtesy of Pete who must be one of the most knowledgeable people around when it comes to the Avebury landscape. It is doubtful that I could find it again on my own.
Monday, 9 November 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Visiting yesterday with a few friends, we had walked to the end of the barrow when we saw what we thought was a sparrowhawk hovering over the entrance of the barrow. One of our small group quickly named it the barrowhawk as apparently it makes a regular appearance. I have since been told it is a kestrel as sparrowhawks favour wooded areas whilst the kestrel always hunt over open farm or heathland. This kestrel seemed to track us as it moved from its position at the front of the barrow to where we were standing at other end. I had put my camera away and was reluctant spoil the moment of the kestrel hovering in the sunlight ... as you can see my photo doesn't do the moment justice. More and more I find nature is best observed fleetingly and captured in the mind's eye.
Friday, 23 October 2009
Saturday, 10 October 2009
I am the gentle autumn rain.
(from the poem 'Do not stand at my grave and weep' - author unknown)
Just returned from a week in Pembrokeshire - arrived by train then relied on feet and the small buses that ran to most places at hourly intervals. The coastal path walks were spectacular, a pair of ravens spotted on one occasion; the tiny city of St David's and a visit to St Non's healing well -another coastal walk before going to look at the beautiful 'hidden' cathedral; a ferry across to Caldey Island, one of the Celtic holy islands. Such a lovely week, out of season in Tenby, itself built on and around a medieval castle. The place that moved me most though was Manorbier and the Neolithic burial chamber of King's Quoit on the coastal path up from the white sand cove.
I am the shining tear of the sun
I am a hawk on the cliff
I am fair among flowers
I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke
I am a battle-waging spear
I am a salmon in the pool
I am the hill of poetry
I am a ruthless boar
I am a threatening noise
I am a wave of the sea
Who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?
(This version of the ' Song of Amergin' was taken from White Goddess by Robert Graves)
To reinforce the sentiment that life goes on and is all around us, on the second occasion of visiting Manorbier, while waiting for one of the small buses in the village centre, a flock of goldfinches appeared on the railings and grass verge. Completely unfazed by human presence, I believe these foraging flocks are called 'charms' and charming they were.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Autumn is very much in evidence as squirrels are seen collecting and hoarding the shiny brown conkers lying under the horse chestnut trees in the local park.
It is time to get ready for October Gold again ...
and so the year turns.
Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17, Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832)
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
There it was though; no camera with me today so I just watched. It took off across the green and landed by the club house. I watched it hop over to the glass door and tap on the window with its beak. It must be almost tame, alas however, the clubhouse was closed and locked so the woodpecker returned to the centre of the green, unearthing insects from the well-watered lawn.
I walked around the perimeter fence to try and get a clearer look - the woodpecker had now been joined by a pair of magpies and a squirrel … completely unperturbed by each other. An unusually relaxed green woodpecker out for an evening hop, skip and peck on a well manicured bowling green. What a joy!
Friday, 4 September 2009
Monday, 31 August 2009
I took some photos then asked Pete to take one of me by the large triangular shaped stone nearby, with the Polisher in the foreground. A couple of photos and then Pete said excitely 'look behind you'; I turned to see the legendary Red Arrows fly past … they were on the flight path to RAF Lyneham where an air display was taking place. Eventually, we walked back down; me … hot but happy at having finally found the Polisher.
Monday, 27 July 2009
Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when your older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captured on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round
In the circle game
So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through
From the song 'Circle Game' by Joni Mitchell
first published 1966
Monday, 13 July 2009
Today a friend from the Avebury Forum, took me into the Stonehenge landscape; it was a wonderful elemental sort of day, the sort I experienced on the Orkneys, only right here in Wiltshire. We went to Durrington Walls and walked across what had once been a Neolithic settlement, the hairs started to tingle on my arms, a strange sensation.
I was thinking it couldn’t get any better when my friend showed me a hidden spring by the river Avon right at the start of the Avenue to Stonehenge. I am trying to find the right word for such a place apart from the usual mystical, sacred; it was both of those things. Walking across the Avenue, which is still intact as a raised grassy ‘road’ the word liminal came to mind. Limen is from the Latin meaning ‘threshold’ - it was that sort of place.
The same experience occurred walking back towards Stonehenge in the long wild grass of what was once the Avenue. Wonderful … it was a day I will not forget.
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Monday, 29 June 2009
Seascape: The Camera at the Shore
In the rockpool a child dips (shrilling)
The lost sea rose.
Then, drowning rose and reef and rockpool
The west inflows ...
The Atlantic pulse beats twice a day
In cold gray throes.
Shy in a rock-caught crumb of earth
One seapink shows.
Scotland, scattered saw-teeth, melts like petals
In the thin haze.
Lucent as a prism for days, this shore, until
A westerly blows.
Then stones slither and shift, they rattle and cry,
They break and bruise.
Shells are scattered. Caves like organs peal
Tangles lie heaped in thousands, thrust and thrown
From the thunder and blaze!
Silence again. Along the tidemark wavelets
Work thin white lace.
Among that hoard and squander, with her lens
George Mackay Brown (1921-1996)
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Seabirds on the cliffs - Sumburgh Head
Common seals with pups - Mainland, Shetlands
Looking down on the beach with seals
The Ring of Brodgar on Orkney - looking towards the nearby mound
Friday, 12 June 2009
As I looked up I spotted a tiny pipistrelle bat flying around in a circle just above my head, it flew into the branches of a nearby lime tree which stands in the old cemetery behind my house, then out again and around again. A twilight ballet went on for several minutes as I stood transfixed ..... just quietly watching and listening to the almost indiscernible swish of the tiny bat in flight. A magical few moments which made the minor irritations of the day fade into triviality. I have seen flitting bats before but have never had such a close up encounter as this evening ..... and in my own back garden.
Leatherwing fluttering, cut-outs in black ink
Against the fading fluorescent sunset sky;
Leaf-spiraling with purpose and hunger,
Cries shrilled out of hearing, sketching their world.
Replacing the swallows, the night-shift pours forth
From crevice and eave. The host of shy hunters
Fills the middle air with their dance.This show
Is unseen for the most part, yet the insect-seekers
Are not invisible. It is our lapse of attention:
How few of us look up for quiet wings at twilight!
Friday, 5 June 2009
The legend of the FisherKing is in some ways symbolic of this quest. It concerns the legend of the 'Holy Grail', a mythical concept; some think it is the lost chalice that is associated with the life and death of Jesus. For myself, I think it is the quest for something allusive, just out of reach. It is the coming of spring with its blaze of light, blossom and birdsong. It is the kingfisher swooping across a stream; the call of the swallows when they return in May; wild swans in flight; my one and only sighting of a pair of goldcrests (the tiniest of all birds). It is so often hidden in the ordinary .....
And a man stood there, as still as moss,
A lichen form that stared;
With an old blind hound that, at a loss,
Forever around him fared,
With a snarling fang half bared.
I looked at the man; I saw him plain;
Like a dead weed, gray and wan,
Or a breath of dust. I looked again--
And man and dog were gone,
Like wisps of the graying dawn...
"Wasteland" Madison Cawein
The Fisher King is the guardian of the Grail, which, in medieval legends, is the cup used by Jesus at the last supper and which was used to collect drops of his blood at the crucifixion.
The Fisher King is dying, his kingdom is dying around him, he's a man who's probably seen too much of life - he's experienced betrayal and tragedy. His life is slowly crumbling, and his kingdom goes barren. He has also lost the Grail. It's the one thing that can save him, but he's lost the ability to see it and experience it.
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
I could write many words about the willow, would have no difficulty in finding a poem to quote; though may well be repeating myself, as I know I have written about willows before. What I love about them is that when you see willows you know there is a stream or river nearby.
The life-force and song of the land - a silvery breeze whispering through shimmering leaves.
Sunday, 10 May 2009
Summer is finally here.
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long."
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Blue, songs are like tattoos
You know I've been to sea before
Crown and anchor me
Or let me sail away
Hey Blue, there is a song for you
Ink on a pin
Underneath the skin
An empty space to fill in .....
I love blue of all shades and hues but perhaps my favourite is the indigo of the evening sky followed closely by the deep delicate blue of the bluebells in the peaceful wood where I walked this morning.
Later in the day, I went out with the intention of buying some wood preservative for my rickety little shed. However, I somehow managed to avoid going anywhere near shops where such a product is sold and came back instead with a lapis lazuli necklace. Now how did this happen, I asked myself as a wave of guilt washed over me, it usually does when I buy myself some non-essential item. As I fastened the string of small lapis beads around my neck they felt instantly right and I knew that for some reason they were a more essential purchase than wood stain (that will wait for another un-bluebell day).
(taken from one of the many internet sites on Lapis Lazuli)
The woman in the Crystal Shop told me that Lapis Lazuli represents enlightenment (the third eye) and my own book on crystals says it is associated with all forms of communication, expression and learning. It is also known around the world as the stone of friendship and truth.
Sunday, 19 April 2009
A lovely, therapeutic and physically tiring walk - I ache a bit as had to go off elsewhere after I returned home but it was all so very worth it.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Monday, 6 April 2009
This little blog has almost done a full circle, I started in May last year and now it is another spring - perhaps I have completed what I wanted to say, perhaps not quite yet.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
One of the esoteric writers I hold in high esteem is someone called William Sharp who used the pseudonym of Fiona Macleod, he writes of the luminosity of spirit in nature. Here are some of his thoughts on Spring.
The tides of Blossom have begun to flow. The land will soon be inundated. Already a far and wide forethrow of foam is flung along the blackthorn hedges. Listen .... that chaffinch's blithe song comes from the flowering almond! ... that pipit's brief lay fell past yonder wild-pear!
The shores, the meadows, the uplands, on each there is a continual rumour. It is the sound of Spring. Listen ... put your ear to the throbbing earth that is so soon to be a green world: you will hear a voice like the voice which miraculously evades the hollow curves of a shell. Faint, mysterious yet ever present, a continual rhythm. Already that rhythm is become a cadence: the birds chant the strophes, flower and blossom and green leaf yield their subtler antiphones, the ancient yet ever young protagonist is the heart of man. Soon the cadence will be a song, a paean. The hour of the rose and honeysuckle will come, the hour of the swallow hawking the grey gnat above the lilied stream, the hour when the voice of the cuckoo floats through the ancient woods rejoicing in their green youth, that voice which has in it the magic of all springs, the eternal cry of the renewal of delight. [from the Silence of Amor 'The Awakener of the Woods' by Fiona Macleod aka William Sharp]