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. … Read more
I am in my new, rented, Victorian back yard, refreshing the pot garden and pond in the fading light, though there’s a spectacular beauty who already presides here, and I acknowledge I am in her realm. She is known by the taxonomists as Araneus diadematus, garden orb-web spider, but I call her Queen. Queen has made her home inside the head of my sea horse wind chime, and I have to remember to avoid her incredible web at all times as I carefully potter about in her shadow.
White markings on her abdomen in the shape of a cross are made from cells containing the protein guanine. … Read more
Coal spoils at Llanbradach, South Wales. Photo by me. Please click on the photo for more information from the Wildlife Trusts on the nature of Llangwellas known so far as Brownfield Sites.
A while back, I was asked by my good friend, Jo Cartmell, @watervole and @nearbywild on Twitter, to think about creating a new word instead of ‘brownfield’ when referring to abandoned industrial or waste land after development. As she rightly points out, some of these places can be buzzing with the most amazing wildlife, often small and beyond of our consciousness at first, due to the exquisite evolutionary process of primary succession. … Read more
The Wye, Autumn. Photo by me.
Manchester Metropolitan University
Working Research Title: Love is the River; ecology, emotion and resistance
Faculty: Faculty Of Arts & Humanities ~ Manchester Writing School.
Director of Studies: Paul Evans
Proposed Supervisor(s): Gregory Norminton
I am honoured, daunted and yet excited to share this with you all.
At 50, after a type 3 cancer diagnosis and treatment to lengthen my life, if only a few years…
If this is the last project I’ll do, I’ll be content.
And to have such an esteemed team! I am so, so grateful for this chance.
… Read more
I haven’t been to Bodenham Lake for a few years. Last time, I sat with my little girl in a bird hide on a cold wintry day, with Bendog at my knee, bewitched by barnacle geese feeding and preening. Today, Gracie started sixth form college, so I decided to mark it with a wilder walk on my own.
My intention was for a quiet moment of reflection. But, ah, to wander the old quarry lake worked hard by the Wildlife Trust for the benefit of gentle waders, with their stick-thin legs and crackable eggs. With internal combustion engines at full blast, and the other crushing, whiny sounds of bulldozers and chainsaws travelling loud across an expanse of flat, steely grey, there were no water birds to be seen. … Read more
Wye at Hereford – mute swan paddles through reflections of the Bishop’s Palace. Photo by me.
From our big sky vista to a small Victorian brick yard, my pot garden is ruffled, but not dead. Plants, some bagged for ease of carry, are limp over algae concrete sloping to a small drain cover I already cleaned.
I couldn’t face a last fare-thee-well to my Cardiffian birds. I looked up briefly through the crack in the door, hand on steering wheel, as I lowered into the driving seat. A few gulls and pigeons peered down at me from the balcony wall, and I felt rightly judged. … Read more
Flame quick, then saunter-scinter
I am light and quiet, until I am lonely.
Hear me yap
In closed trees; minds
Pad-foot through wood bush
Or big, barley acreage,
And fluffy clouds.
I lick when hot.
Strike when not.
I am always here. Remember me.
Play-dance in moss, then burrow
I am low and slow, until I am busy.
See my shoulder
Strong under boulders
In berrylands; hands
Bare among the ramsons, digging
Or wormeries under oak,
And gentle rain.
I sleep when hot.
Dig when not.
I am always here. … Read more
Photo by Italian photojournalist, Antonio Masiello. Please click on the photo to go to his FB page for many more critical images of our time.
We are bearing witness in the English Channel and other places around the world to the natural movement of living beings, often with young, who are fleeing from their homes, from distress, seeking a flourishing and safe future in new bioregions, places.
I feel it’s time to recognise the HUGE event it will become. I wish not to describe any difference between refugees, migrants, alien species. But the reasons for this historical event are vital to the Anthropocene itself, and dripping with searing questions/answers. … Read more
Pebble art by Gracie and friends. Photo by me.
If you are already nawoke, what was your gateway in, your epiphany event?
… Read more
A for average, in nature, is rare! Photo by me.
The word average has an interesting etymology. It originally seems to have been derived from an Arabic word, ‘awariya ” meaning damaged merchandise.
Since the Middle Ages, the shipping and insurance industries adopted the term, I guess due to the high risks of damage from voyages on the high seas. If a ship were in trouble, and cargo, or ships masts, or other material goods, perhaps even crew or living cargo (human or not), were thrown overboard in order to save the vessel, then losses were calculated by producing a mean ‘cost’ for each claimant for Insurance purposes. … Read more