If you haven’t heard Melissa Harrison’s The Stubborn Light of Things, you’re missing a treat; it is a salve for our times. It began at the start of lockdown here in the UK, intent on bringing the natural world, at least in audio, to those more unable to get out. This week (number 25), I’m honoured to be taking part.
Melissa is an award winning nature writer, novelist, diarist, and now podcaster (with a wonderful supporting team), and I possess all her books. I look forward to adding her latest to my shelves, a collection of her beloved Nature Notebook columns written for The Times, now to be published in hardback this coming November by Faber & Faber, also named The Stubborn Light of Things.
This week, after a long time away, I return to the woods in North Herefordshire where I grew up, and recount the story of my most painful loss, that of my mother, and in flow with ecology and love.
I adore unexpected connections, one being that my mother’s name was Iva ~ Melissa visits an ivy in flower, one full of bees. I also worked as a junior paragliding instructor at an ex-WW2 aerodrome in Herefordshire in my twenties, and remember the joy of discovering skylarks nesting at the far end of the runway ~ Melissa visits an old Suffolk WW2 aerodrome and finds skylarks as well as kestrels.
As for the poem you will hear, it is “Into The Hour” by Elizabeth Jenner, and no better a poem to voice the trauma, acceptance and light from such loss, as I now understand Melissa has felt too. It is like sharing an artery.
Please, do listen and enjoy.