1 March 2017
Rain, falling, hurtling down; drums on glass and tile and tin; whispers onto grass; swims into streams with the silver sound of a knife; spits onto stone knowing that eons will let it wear through; and splatters onomatopoeically into mud creating castle walls to be demolished by the next drop.
2 March 2017
Earth full of water, releasing it as silent mist into the rising sun and as sound and fury into stream and watercourse. Puddles, one time pig wallows and collapsed river rat tunnels; all sit and wait for dogs to play. The nine-men’s morris is filled up with mud.
3 March 2017
Fluffed or fat the two for joy stride about the lawn like lords surveying their domain; a seeming casual glance to either side precedes the dip of head, one to take a worm struggling from the soft damp earth, the other a beetle wandering between the stalks; a look betwixt then off into the air.
4 March 2017
Small ones tweeting and twittering in the hedges and the trees, an unseen orchestra that suddenly flies up and away. Rooks caw and cry claiming their nesting places for the coming summer. A buzzard drops from high and alights upon the ground, not a kill but a perusal, an examination, all in silence.
5 March 2017
Paddington weather: swapping and chopping from drizzle and dew to downpour and torrent; from cats and dogs and stair rods to a sprinkle and a spit; from stream and scud and sheet and shower to mist and mizzle and monsoon; even the dogs prefer to stay in.
6 March 2017
After rain there are puddles and the world doth squelch. Each several fold and crease of earth glistens with moisture. Rain returns and we turn for home to see our outbound footsteps begin to fill.
7 March 2017
After wind there are shattered twigs and broken branches; a limb wider than my thigh torn from its trunk; a broader tree bursting into bud untimely ripped from the womb of earth as if by a wrathful titan, umbilical roots thicker than my wrist rent apart.
8 March 2017
Debris scattered right and left, bequeathed by the whirlwind of an intoxicated teenage squall gusting and blustering and achieving its first ever gale. Stillness and sober reflection see twigs that litter the ground and hang on surviving branches. Contriteness not enough for the downed trees.
9 March 2017
The smallest flit from twig to twig, wings flying faster than the eye. The mid-sized flap and dive and swoop as birds are meant to do. The falcon hovers high and stoops to kill then tears its prey asunder. The buzzard glides for miles riding spring time thermals, wings wave rare and slow.
10 March 2017
Sun bright, giving warmth to neck and face and hand, warns of Spring. Saw slices into a fallen ash, wild winter’s victim, sputtering wooden slivers and spitting sap. Hidden Spring has worked this trunk to feed the buds that lie and will not bloom.
11 March 2017
Birds dance and sing in bright sun. Spring’s yesterday attempt to take control of earth and air with General Sunshine’s cannonade of warmth smacked down by Field-Marshall Frost’s ice warriors. In cold sunshine, birds gossip of fat worms and tasty insects and eggs and fledglings.
12 March 2017
Winter holds the air, chill under an ashen cloud. Yet Spring is underfoot; in swarms and streams, rivers and lakes, violets have visited themselves upon the land. Impossible to avoid, their perfume wafts back and forth adding a hint of coming warmth to the passing season’s air.
13 March 2017
Last year’s leaves are lost to wind and rain and step. Summer’s greens have been dried and crisped then re-moistened and turned to mud. Browns and golds have lost their colour and their texture and faded to a uniform earth. Foot and paw have crushed the remains into soil.
14 March 2017
The monochrome grip of Winter’s fingers are being prised apart. In amongst the green floor, purple and yellow appears, small flowers push through the base displacing olive and khaki with emerald and lime. Golden buds mark the ash and chestnut; white and pink the fruit. Spring is poised.
15 March 2017
Year is budding. White explosions cover trees that days ago were naked skeletons; clothing shouts fertility. Pink surrounds deep blood red centres that hold full stamens, ready for the off. Even storm damaged sloe, trunk twisted and roots barely in contact with the earth, offers its blooms to a new conception.
16 March 2017
Spring’s start-up spiders have left haphazard threads and dangling filaments and smidgeons of webs as if designed in a drug induced coma or from an inner artist struggling desperately for a voice. They may catch no flies but they do hold the night mist cradling it in their silver silken strands.
17 March 2017
Heavy mist mingles with the dew draining all colours into pale silver shadows. Pinks and purples, yellows and greens are faded to a point where they are little more than shades of shrouded grey. Even white blossom appears dull and dispirited, carrying a sadness on its shoulders.
18 March 2017
Blossom too, but mainly green advances along the paths and byways of the trees. The green is sparse and small but shows up the branches that are bare and will not bloom again, the dead wood; wood that was hidden in the dormant boughs. Once green expands, these lost lanes and streets to nowhere will be veiled once again.
19 March 2017
Song of the Green Wood
There is a sound that most will never hear
Will never know a voice is possible
That hums and haws through every length of wood
And for a very few will smile and sing
Some hear the chainsaw’s rip and rage and roar
It has no quiet tone nor gentle hum
The distant thud of axe on splitting wood
The ring of hammer hitting metal wedge
Most will never hear the song of the green wood
Not the first impact of the swinging axe
That forges the beginning of a crack
And not the grunt that settles in the wedge
Not the swish of air marking hammer’s flight
Nor the chime as wedge is struck by sledge
An after sound that may be barely heard
Or yet stretch out as nature’s aria
The sappy green wood sings beyond the blow
As fibres tear and cells begin to break
A tranquil sound may grow toward a snarl
A deep low rending may become a screech
Each bole of wood holds a different air
A ballad that reflects its annual growth
Warm summer’s rush melodious and low
Tight winter fractures with a harsher note
The green wood’s song is the magic music
Of the forest giving up its harvest
A song played to an audience of one
A song of beauty most will never hear
20 March 2017
Almost drizzle not managing to fall, it rests against the skin and strives to grow into a drop. It greys the day and thins the light stealing sunshine from the sky. It gathers on new growth refracting what light there is within the curves.
21 March 2017
Rain falls to different sounds; not only as it lands on tin or tile or glass, on earth or mud, on grass or water; but on how far the fall has been; from leaking gutter or low hanging branch, from high amongst the trembling treetops, or plummeting at terminal velocity from the damp eyelids of a crying angel.
22 March 2017
Growth on growth. New growth pushes aside and swamps the elder leaves stooped with experience. Those ancient ones that know the seasons and their fatal flaws are engulfed by gangs of bright young things going they know not where, but going with new found energy as swiftly as they can.
23 March 2017
Thin mud cloaks the ground where anything has trod. Footsteps, paw prints, the feet of birds and the casts of worms mark the soil. Which of these are territory and which merely passage cannot be deciphered from the earth.
24 March 2017
Whilst young Spring, exuberant and exhausted with all this growing stuff, slept innocent, ancient Winter, gnarled and looking feeble, gathered all its strength to slap down dreaming youth with a spit of frost; just enough to jewel grass and rime metal, giving sunshine and birdsong an extra task as they struggle to drag the fresh season from its slumber.
25 March 2017
The birds are up and sing and sound, conversing in an endless round or claiming territory and ground; tales of worms sought and stretched and found, of insects that at last abound, and rain and wind that sing unbound.
26 March 2017
Sea and sky seen in a single sweep at the shoreline. Not the loneliness and solitude the poet taught but a wonderful companionship of raucous sea birds wooing mates, silent fish circling in the cold waters, snuffling dogs seeking creatures of the undergrowth and most astonishing of all, you, still with me after all these years.
27 March 2017
On the woodland floor each single yellow flower, small and struggling to survive, and there are hundreds amongst the green, each captures sunlight as it falls and turns into a warm bright point of life; a life that persists through its vulnerability to night frosts, pummelling rain and running hoof and paw.
28 March 2017
Green has a texture at least as complex as its colour, emphasised and exacerbated by night’s rain, as if the fresh water was absorbed specifically to change the edifice, strengthen some parts so they swell with pride and bearing whilst others, loaded with the world’s cares, droop with sorrow and with weight.
29 March 2017
Even as Spring bursts forth, tossing birth and life and growth with gay abandon, there in the midst is death. The flower broken by a passing animal that now will never seed; the blossom frosted by the night that will never fruit; the tree untimely ripped from its roots by the last gasp of Winter; and the ancient companions who having breathed all they ever can, succumb to rest.
30 March 2017
Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s death. His 43 years as a civil servant culminating in five years as Deputy Secretary of the Northern Ireland Office at the height of the troubles. This morning I passed through Enniskillen and Omagh. It flags the poignancy that the UK Government chose that anniversary to put so much at risk.
31 March 2017
Grey dawn over rocks and sea, colours held deep within the waters, greens and yellows shifting with the blues, sparked by white tips of gentle waves; stretched and smoothed by the hunting camera’s eye, pin-pointing small precipices whilst turning the spray to misted milk.