It’s barely possible to imagine the hem of her black or white dress resting close at the knee of a leather boot belonging to a soldier with so many children borne to another woman.
Metallic scents of expensive ink on expensive paper linger not in her room, but in her father’s office downstairs. She writes by hand, of course, in her bedroom, at a small, crafted desk and seated on a chair that is cut and waxed from some of the grandest trees of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The glories of lilac and generations of bees flavour an ordinary lead pencil, maybe a sharp knife too, laid on the desk to carve a point. … Read more
Bogland, Hay Bluff to Waunfach. Photo by me.
Is it possible to forge a new kind of relationship with the ecological community we in English call, perhaps, unceremoniously, peat bog?
Here in cool Britannic islands, peat has been forming since the last Ice Age, when luminous green mosses took over the quagmire. Fibrous layers of arrested entropy are fuelled by the surfacing of a froth of bryophytes, metabolizing through an exchange of oxygen with carbon dioxide, sunshine for sugar, nutrients, bacteria, and plenty of water. As each generation and their symbiotic partners die down, the decay is slow but sure in locking in carbon. … Read more
Beavers are Fluminists. By Ginny Battson. First published by Zoomorphic October 9th 2017.
Spring 2005, and I peer through my living room window to check the weather. It’s looking good, the sun is out. My husband has left for a day’s work at UMaine Orono, so I lower my baby girl into her papoose and strap her in. We are through the fly screen door and out onto the road.
The residential lots of leafy Gilbert Street are studded with blue and red flags, remnants of last winter’s political war that saw Republican oilmen G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney take charge of the Whitehouse for a second term. … Read more
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
The Emergent Urgent, Photo by me.
I think it’s time we looked at time scales in terms of ‘doing’. The reality is the need for immediate change. Today. That everyone is not participating today is complex, but there’s real truth in urgency.
The use of the word ’emergency’ has been severely compromised. I have read on Twitter a defense of using the phrase ‘long emergency.’ A long emergency is about as useful as a flying brick, a nonviable dialectic – AN OXYMORON. People need to understand the urgency, in mitigation and adaptation.
Western techno-industrial values, competition, fear, consequential life-styles and the general global devaluation of life for markets, that lead to habitat loss, emissions, poverty, racism, failing democracy, dictatorship, xenophobia, North-South divides, nationalism ~ please feel free to add more ~ are failing all living beings. … Read more
On Birdetal being During Lockdown
Feather by me
From my rooftop terrace on a hill in the city of Cardiff, in a vague state of suspended covi-disbelief you’ll recognize, I face due South into the eye of the midday sun. A man-jumble of roof, balustrade and wall contains what would otherwise be a 180 degree arc-view from East to West. The sky is none-the-less enormous, and I love it. Each day, I observe the clouds as if they are hastily evolving species, manifesting the effects of water and sky-physics, and stealing creature-ly shapes, every once in a while, stored deep in my imagination
Everything seems in tension, between closed and open, the constraints of the streets, confinement and grief within homes, yet pinned down by the freedoms of the sky. … Read more
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
Terra-UK is one of the most densely populated land areas in the world. The concept of wilderness seems overly ambitious here upon our heavily burdened soils. We are sold as such a well-groomed and culturally domesticated species, at least in public, and it’s way too fashionable to tame our surroundings to a sparkling manicure. We even wash our soils down with pesticides to scrub away the wild. Every last square inch of land is property ~ accounted for and stewarded. Markets induce us to gaze upon all through neoliberal-tinted specs. Always questions of economic materialism… how does this land earn its keep? … Read more