Monday, 27 July 2009

The Circle Game

Sam holding on tight ... his first ever carousel ride
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

The circle of the year has turned many times since I first heard Joni Mitchell's song on the Ladies of the Canyon album. My sons have both grown into men and, in spite of the odds against, are well adjusted, hard working, fine people. This weekend I had the joy of spending the weekend with them both in celebration of my little grand-daughter's first birthday. We met on Brighton beach near the carousel and young Sam (who reminds me so much of his father as a child) was shown how to fly a kite by his uncle. We left father and uncle untangling the kite and wandered over to the carousel - up Sam climbed, fearless. 'Hold on tight, little fellow - don't let go'. He held on very tight.

This blog has been partly about internal landscapes of musing, ideas, favourite poetry and the remembering of loved ones. I consider myself fortunate indeed to gather together with on a chilly beach in Brighton with the my grown up children, their friends and several small people - who are just starting out on the great adventure of life.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Liminal places - dimensions in time

Stonehenge today - visitors come by coach and car. A busy road, fences, carpark, and visitors centre keep this most mysterious of monuments fixed in the material world. Stepping away from the modern day trappings, it is easy to imagine that time stays the same moving in a seasonal cycle - we on the other hand move through time like dream walkers.

Walking towards Stonehenge along the route of the Avenue - the magical moment when it first comes into view, without visitors, cars or carpark.

The river Avon at the start of the Stonehenge Avenue

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.
Then round into Woodhenge to stand and stare for a bit ... before a shower blew over.

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.
There is a quite long article on a similar theme at the link below - "Why Christopher Robin wouldn't walk on the cracks"
Many thanks to Pete Glastonbury, the friend who took me on a magical mystery tour through time ... a memorable few hours indeed.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Summertime in Wiltshire

"Fields Of Gold"
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in the fields of gold
Ripening barley field
Walking with a friend on a hot summer summer afternoon in Wiltshire. A profusion of butterflies everywhere, a buzzard flying low between the trees, a muntjac disturbed takes off through the undergrowth - not sure which of us was more startled. It is good to be back in my familiar woods, waterways and fields. We wandered through the shady forest, made our way along a section of the Kennet and Avon Canal coming out by a green-gold field of barley. A meadow of wild grasses stood five feet high as we walked into it, reliving the joy of childhood for a few moments (when everything seemed taller than us).
My trip to Scotland and the northern isles of Orkney and Shetland was memorable in so many ways but the ripening grain fields of this southern county will always beckon me home.