1 May 2017
Last night’s rain has flushed the green – some lit bright by sun; young growth is flavoured acid; deep gives shape and structure; pale is how gentlemen prefer Victorian ladies. And all these adjectives snare and fence the essence of the green; they constrain and almost diminish the very greenness of the green.
2 May 2017
Air is cleanest after night rain; it does more than wash out the dust, it adds a vivacity to the atmosphere. Today it is in the song of birds that that clarity is made most clear; they do not have to plough through dirt and grime but have uninterrupted access to mine ear and speak directly to my soul.
3 May 2017
Sun’s slanting glow reveals the chaos of spring’s exploding growth; plants and flowers tumble upwards; saplings push for light and brambles race for space. Some overwhelmed and lost; lucky ones may live a summer or a century; luckiest will breed and seed and feed another picture in a future season.
4 May 2017
Pale grey London sky leaves the landscape flat dull and two-dimensional; shallow like a poorly taken photograph, thinner than the oil on a Van Gogh painting. Time to get to work Gaia; we need heat and light; there are sunflowers that need growing and ripening.
5 May 2017
Leaves: huge floppy sheets pot-holed like the cloaks of drunks after a particularly heavy night; rapier fine blades ready to dance a duel in the dawn light; open hands inviting in the expected guest and the lost and weary traveller; and stubs of green that crawl across the floor, the droppings of small dragons now hidden from our sight.
6 May 2017
Wet and swollen with rain the stems of grasses and nettles stand tall whilst those of brambles and duckweed clamber over each other in their haste. High bushes and trees hang low with the weight hoping the breeze will shake off the drops. All look to the sun for heat to turn the water into the wine that is life.
7 May 2017
Take some spring sunshine early in the day and dapple through this tiny remnant of the ancient forests; stir in the conversations of the birds; add a moment of the silent stillness of the animal behind the bushes that lets us pass in peace; drop in the sound of the creature disappearing under the bank above the water tumbling rocks; and bring the whole to your heart and hold the recipe of the story of world.
8 May 2017
Rains have not fed the stream. It speaks only in ripples, whispering on the bends; its songs drowned amongst the thrown away comments of the breeze and overwhelmed by the scrambled commotion of birds screeched at by their young. But it speaks. It speaks of the stories that happened upstream; stories yet unknown to those beyond where the stream confluences into the river or far far away when the river meets the sea.
9 May 2017
Alarm and phone, laptop and clock and even the oven all claim vaguely different times. The sat nav glares one eyed at me and tells me when we will arrive. She may know the details of the directions, the steps that must be taken but understands nothing of the journey nor the route.
10 May 2017
There is a time and place in each our lives
That when it happens is invisible
A pivot upon which the future lies
A place and time known but from a distance
Only in its future can it be seen
In a present that has become the past
Once known all time divides itself in two
There is time before and there’s time after
We live our lives within that after time
And for we lucky few eventually
We see the time where time began anew
Because we chose to let in something true
I now see that time and place, the moment
I first gazed upon your face and know that
Your being present at that place at that time
Made it the time and place that moved my earth
11 May 2017
There are giants walking through the trees on the other side of the valley shaking the topmost branches as they pass. What? You say it is just the wind blowing the leaves and the turning of the world blustering the wind, driven by a spinning atmosphere, heated by a sun birthed from the remnants of those created by the big bang. And I see giants.
Christianity according to St Teresa and the Conservative Party
Blessed are the poor for they will pay taxes while our rich friends do not.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will have a spare bedroom we can tax.
Blessed are the meek, for they will vote Conservative whatever we do.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for they will use foodbanks and not need benefits.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be polite and kind to the NHS staff despite the appalling service they are forced to provide.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for even though we know Brexit is going to be horrible we can make them believe it is all the fault of the Germans and the French and Brussels.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will make sure all the foreigners are thrown out so we can fight amongst ourselves.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for ATOS will find them fit for work whilst they die on a trolley in a NHS hospital corridor.
12 May 2017
Unlike bindweed and bramble nettles try to stand up under their own power; sometimes dragged over by rain they usually recover. Like poppies they stand in groups supporting each other against the wind and they draw the butterflies and feed their fluttering around our gaze. Yet we condemn them as weeds.
13 May 2017
Amongst the morning birdsong I hear a cuckoo; not a mating call, for this year at least, that season is past. The cuckoo’s young are nestled in with other eggs or hatched they trample over their ur-siblings for their step-parents’ continuous deliveries of food. Perhaps this call is a cry for the pain they feel that unlike so many others they will never see their fledglings, never know them.
14 May 2017
There is a length of bramble that overhangs the path where I must stoop to pass and where when heavy with rain the lower hang sometimes hooks my hat. More than once I have hooked this trailer up amongst its fellows but time and gravity and its sense of humour brings it down again. We have a curious relationship.
There is a wonder to a dog in a dream; the rolling on his back and the haphazard waving of the legs; the mouth that needs to fasten on a hand – more suckling than aggression but still teeth on flesh; the eyes rolling in a void; the need to occupy so much settee before pushing close and snuggling in and staying warm and stopping and just being close.
15 May 2017
Fat-bodied spider strides along the path, intent it seems upon the troop of flies that breakfast on the dropping of a much larger animal. The ultimate recycling system about to demonstrate nature red in tooth and claw and spider’s grip is broken by the hat upon my head that breaks the light, sending spider sideways and flies all ways, leaving me and scat to occupy the space.
16 May 2017
Sun is pushing as if summer were waiting in the wings to make a grand entrance, to take the stage and declaim something profound. As in other years, summer will sidle on and sidle off, have good days where the stand is owned and poorer ones where peeping round the tabs is the best available or clouded hours where shadows allow subtlety for the season’s wonders.
17 May 2017
The world is full of reaching things; of grasses that want my clothes to transport seed; of hawthorn, blackthorn and bramble that would catch me with their thorns and pause for conversation. And there are insects everywhere; the bee that hovers near my honeyed hand; the ant that runs along my arm uncertain for what he seeks.
18 May 2017
Rain is the bramble’s friend; not only does it feed the ground that feeds the plant with water, allowing it to create food from air and sun; it also weighs on bushes leaves and branches changing balances so hanging things and trailing things, which brambles are, can slip and slide and slither into places new.
19 May 2017
There is a fire in the east and darkness to the west; sun and clouds struggle for my attention. Beyond the trees the sun strives to burn away the fogs and hazes crowding up the sky. From all around the cloudbanks gather sneering at the sun; preparing raindrops for when they cross my path.
20 May 2017
Underneath the green canopy there are skeletons; branches without twigs and without leaves that hang in the empty cathedral, whispering to insects that do not hear, the stories of things they did not do; of green that grew and died as their fellows climbed high above them and closed off access to the light; of hopes they held and nurtured and then failed to bring about; and of losses that wrenched them from their sanity and tore the heart from out of them.
21 May 2017
Morning sunlight in the wood adds a dimension. Height is marked by trees garlanded by mistletoe that are taller year by year; depth and distance by the sounds of birds and the startled noises of things that scurry; breadth by the spread of grasses that wave and bow and encroach upon the path to surprise a young dog each day; and time and growth are marked by the constant change of rising fronds and falling branches. Low sunlight dappled through the wood adds a savage beauty that is life.
22 May 2017
They stand and stare do trees. They watch us through their knot holes wondering at the rush and tumble of our lives; the dash and dart; the oh so busy business. Slowly they breathe the air and softly they sip water from the moist earth, roots mingling below as branches interlace above. They stand all year growing leaves then shedding them. They stand for years and from time to time shed a branch or bough. And yet they stand do trees.
23 May 2017
There is a hush, not a silence but a quiet, a pause, a hiatus, a break in the verse marking an ending and a beginning. Few birds sing and those that do more gently, even the cuckoo calls more softly and the dogs walk in muted tones. Or so my senses beg me to believe. And it is not so; the clock of nature buzzes loudly as before; the music of the spheres still plays; the sun is climbing in the sky and tonight the stars will shine.
24 May 2017
An evolutionary conspiracy theory – how come the beetles cornered iridescence? Were the Titan children playing some ancient game of piñata, and that released all the colours as they beat away at this primordial ur-donkey? The birds flying close got some of almost everything. The plants collected green in every shade and hue. The mammals got much of black and brown, some fancy shades of gold and cream, and for reasons none will ever know also picked up dun. I guess the dinosaurs were dancing close and got knocked out but heavy lumps and thus failed to breed again. But how come the beetles got most of iridescence? Did they know something, did they have inside information?
25 May 2017
The wind uses dappled shade to write us verses we cannot read. Not the deep dark shadow of forest nor the light oppressed scrub but on the margins where the grass and trees do dwell. Each breath moves the blades and branches in a way that will never be repeated. The interleaving changing patterns on the ground are love poems to our presence on this earth, sonnets we so rarely see.
26 May 2017
Where the plough turned the earth but the harrow and the seeder failed to reach there are French fields edged with poppies that hold a germ-line with their brothers on the Somme. They stand as solitary drops of red or strands of friends looking to the sky or in great bands laughing at the world.
27 May 2017
Aged worn and starting to dismember there is a jetty that steps out into a lake – man’s mark on nature – except the lake is also made by man, puddled in the ancient way to hold the water where nature would have let it run and seep in deep.
28 May 2017
A copse, I know not how deep, has so much life it holds up trees that died a year or three or more ago. Trunks stripped or left with bark dangling like the skin of a man flayed before they hanged him, broken, twisted and loosing contact with their flesh. Trees whose time has come and should be allowed to fall.
29 May 2017
In a mackerel sky a buzzard circles protecting its nest from a marauding crow that fights for height then dives upon the bird of prey. Each attack is met with a dip and turn to avoid the harrassing beak; the buzzard moves across the sky, keeping itself between crow and nest, drawing the attacker away.
30 May 2017
Each day fresh piles of earth appear within a dozen steps of the river bank; the burrowers usually unseen and unheard. The untidy pyramids then set about collapsing, slowly dismembered by beetles and other insects; and helped by passing animals, including us, who may brush the earth in a faint arc or crush and firm it down again.
31 May 2017
A grey sky forms a blanket that mutes and holds down the songs of the birds. Not the ashen grey of London but a grey that’s lined with white and silver; a monochrome, unpatterned, chance collection that holds behind it the blues and golds of summer; colours that slip and spill between the patches.