Photo by me.
When water pulses through our blood vessels, and through all existence, it branches and converges with an array of forces. By hydrodynamics and changes of state, it braids sky with earth, underworld with ocean.
Seven billion human souls are dependent on water, yet we are a small measure of its flow. Beauty and complexity abounds, in the form of life, in and around it. Beings flourish in the smallest of mountain springs, among the echos of the karst underworld, in the greatest living rivers and down in the deep blue sea. When water falls as rain through a forest canopy, it soaks through the humus, and all awaiting lifeforms spring up, out and, importantly, together. … Read more
Statue of Sir Peter Scott, London Wetland Centre, by Ginny Battson © 2014
“The world has gone mad.”
I am hearing this often in my particular sprachraum (the Anglosphere, at least), off-line and on-line, an almost daily occurrence from one quarter or another. Along with a sharply rising global temperature mean, record breaking norm-shattering meteorology and ice-melt across consecutive months, we are witnessing regressive steps in socio-political relationships; intolerance and prejudice gaining traction as some kind of reactive protest against uneven wealth distribution and increasing migration of the dispossessed. The far right have their heads up for the main-chance. This is deeply worrying to those with a conscience. … Read more
“When one has once fully entered the realm of love, the world ~ no matter how imperfect ~ becomes rich and beautiful, it consists solely of opportunities for love.”
~ Søren Kierkegaard, Works of Love
My walking boots have taken me downstream lately, to several water meadows,
where tall, riparian vegetation and dependent insect life ripple to breezes like shallow, verdant seas. As I kick along deep troughs formed by smaller mammals, Skipper butterflies shimmer forward from their lofty look-outs and out to either side. Before they settle, they tussle for the top spots, as butterflies do whether I am present or not, in an extraordinary aerial display of defiance and speed. … Read more
“And our ears tell us that the whisper of every leaf and creature speaks to the natural sources of our lives, which indeed may hold the secrets of love for all things, especially our own humanity.” Bernie Krause
Huka Falls on the Waikato River is a boiling blood-riot of water sound. Pull off Thermal Explorer Highway, just north of the city of Taupo, New Zealand, and the cacophony of this eleven metre high waterfall leaps out, and then sucks you in to its vortices with disdain. It’s an auditory spectacle. If you were curious, and leaned too far over the footbridge, you’d be dragged in and crushed by arms of seething, blue foam (Huka is Maori for ‘foam’). … Read more
“I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”
― Henry David Thoreau
I ought not to be writing this, because academic deadlines are looming. But I’m seeing many beautiful wildflowers coming into show. I feel compelled to make a note.
Imagine it is still early Spring. Picture a wood anemone in flower, if you will. And now a quivering constellation of them, and an overwhelming sense of wonder when gazing at these seemingly fragile starbursts just above the field layer of a temperate woodland. A light breeze blows in from a mild front and they sparkle in the morning dew. … Read more
There are people who know the world
in specifics – not gull, but black-backed,
(lesser and greater), black-headed,
common, glaucous and herring.
There are people who know the woods –
not trees, but oak, willow, hazel,
aspen, and lime, and not oak
but sessile or pedunculate.
There are people who learn the names,
the Latin, the genus, the cultivar,
making lists for countries and years,
and the life-list with all the ticks –
the bbjs, and the gaps they need to fill.
And then, there are other people
whose hands and eyes know everything,
who taste the wind for salt or coming rain,
who find the right leaf or root or berry
for health or flavour, without a word spoken. … Read more
I am at Monknash SSSI on the South Wales coast, protected for its abundance of special geology and rare species. A handful of humans and our canine companions are wandering the beach towards Cwm Marcross, beneath magnificent Liassic cliffs just West of Nash Point. We are all separate in our own worlds, though sharing the common experience of listening to the cackling of fulmars on narrow ledges and tracing our way along the shore. The steep, stratified layers of the cliffs are a rhythmic repetition of limestone and mudstone, and formed as a late Triassic desert was inundated by ocean. Molluscan faunas found here by paleontologists have provided a surprisingly detailed record of environmental history, particularly in rarer tufa limestone deposits. … Read more
The term BIODIVERSITY is used to describe variety and population of non-human life here on Planet Earth. Biodiversity includes everything from tiny microbes to blue whales.
Global biodiversity is in decline. A recent WWF report, for example, shows non-human vertebrates (that’s birds, fish and non-human mammals), have declined by 50% in number since 1970. Freshwater life has been particularly hard hit.
We are part of nature, and so rely upon what it provides to us, like food, drink, medicines and materials. We need to protect and encourage life and habitat upon which life depends, not only for our own survival and the survival of our descendants, but also to give back what we, and generations before us, have taken away. … Read more
‘Medusa.’ What image comes to mind at the mention of her name? I doubt very much if it is one of renewal and wisdom.
The Hellenic myth of Medusa remains as metaphor for all that is wicked and vendictive in the world. Homer, the ancient Greek poet, drew her literary character as the epitome of ugliness and danger, with large glaring eyes, into which no-one should ever look unless wishing to be turned to stone, and hissing snakes for hair, each one ready for that lethal strike.
But the root of the snake symbol is more ancient than any Greek myth or religion: The Egyptian Ouroboros, represented as the circle of a snake devouring its own tail, was a common emblem of cyclicity, the seasons, the eternal return, death and the renewal; the Minoan Snake Goddess was worshipped as a symbol of naturalism and grace; the Celts and early Pagans used the image of a snake in a similar way; before that, an hypothesis stands of a Neolithic Great Mother, with multi-functional powers of priest, ruler and warrior, and of plant and animal cultivator and protector. … Read more
“One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.” Aristotle
I’ve just returned from a short stay on the Channel Islands. We made our sea crossing in a fast catamaran ferry which departed from a distinctly sunny St Helier to a particularly cloudy Weymouth. About mid-journey, mid April, as I leaned on the portside railings to brace myself from high winds, I noticed we had just passed a small sailing yacht also bearing north, bobbing in and out of a medium swell. Just above the inky water, between the two moving vessels, I glimpsed a pair of small dark birds, wing tip to wing tip, flying faster than the yacht and slower than the ferry. … Read more