1 June 2018
Long beach walking
2 June 2018
Early rise for airport transfers; final hugs and kisses; fixing faces in the mind.
3 June 2018
Ground hooks on to feet reiterates reconnection the undulation of the one and the movement of the other.
4 June 2018
Water falling from sky and tree; fine sprays settling on the face and great goblets seeking out the backs of necks.
5 June 2018
As sign of summer elderflower blooms white and hangs in hedgerows and in bramble patches. Not wanted for its wood but for its magic; renowned amongst medicine women and as a gateway to fairyland; in rain the flowers sag and some lose their whiteness turning brown and sad.
6 June 2018
Buckets and stair-rods, overflowing gutters and dry hollows by-passing the puddle stage to become lakes. Dogs sit and stare barely prepared to step outside even for bladder emptying. Welcome to summer!
7 June 2018
Spiders have laid trip lines of silk across the path; stretched taut holding leaves and branches in place. Wondering if the world will begin to fall apart as we walk on and break . . .
8 June 2018
Sun bright bird song rings across the ground soft and subtle; a warm blanket of sound as light as gossamer; and as we approach the rocky turn the river adds her melody understated and elusive but richer now with unseasonal rising water.
9 June 2018
All is rush and tumble and the wondrous space takes second place and dogs are barely walked and fed. The beauty of the moment goes unnoticed and we are gone.
10 June 2018
Soft rain soaks into the earth and spends a day or more worming its way unto the river. Last night’s stag party downpour fell for raucous hours; wiped every footprint from the paths; shielded the soil with a skin of mud and swept the water across field and wood into the river. Full with liquid carrying earth and every available loose twig and leaf it lumbers heavily toward the sea; swirling round bends desperately clinging on like an aging child on a wild ride.
11 June 2018
More rain washes summer morning; streams refill and rise reload and ramp up the river. This was a washing rather than plummeting down and sweeping all before it; so yesterday’s twigs and leaves are pushed gently downward toward the watercourses but rest on grass and stone instead of being plunged into the swirling eddies; woodland debris layer begins to build again.
12 June 2018
Voluminous river had let down some layers of her flounces to reduce the swirls and twirls of water in the curves and turns and yet the streams continue to feed more liquid as it oozes out from saturated earth. Ground dries by releasing water to the streams and river and there is much to dry so the river will be full dressed for some time to come.
13 June 2018
Elderflowers lose their whiteness as they turn to elderberries; just as sloes reach a fullness they will hold in their long summer ripening. Birds like both and will take some of these free crops paid for with their songs; and some of each will be steeped in gin.
14 June 2018
Oaks form a hand high stream amongst the grass and where I have mown beside the paths. Unnoticed in previous years or stimulated by the recent warmth and rain, I do not know; but low-lying mini-trees are everywhere reaching their over-large leaves toward the sun.
15 June 2018
Rain again to swell the river; it rumbles on wondering when summer’s gentle trickle will begin; when it will thin and like Atlas with the earth not need to carry so much water; the weight of which wears heavy on the shoulders; especially when bent in deep meanders.
16 June 2018
Quiet of surburbia; fewer birds, if any, penetrate the walls and curtained windows; occasional passing cars Doppler in and out; the building creaks and groans as all buildings do, but in a building rarely slept in by these ears they are strange and unexpected sounds.
17 June 2018
Ashes scattered to the wind and earth, to the water and to the fire; words are spoken to the air; adults stand in quiet contemplation each captured by their private thoughts. Children run and cry; stand still to scatter petals and blow bubbles down the beach, to be carried by the wind along the stones. Some select stones for memory or as toys.
18 June 2018
Clouds cross a London sky making faces at us between the roofs and cranes. One cloud at a time presented on a deep blue canvas – for our endorsement or disdain, much like the pictures we are about to go and see; Emin, Perry and others with lesser status. The clouds we turn down disintegrate and collapse their images as if in sorrow, their life’s work lost because we did not appreciate them.
19 June 2018
Oh Lucky Man
I am alive. And in reasonable health. Lucky man.
Exactly sixty-six years, one day and about nine months ago one of the five of my mother’s four hundred eggs that would ever come to cry was fertilized by one of the billions of my father’s sperm. Lucky to exist at all, lucky man.
I was born beyond the holocausts of the black death, the religious and the World Wars into a society stumbling and struggling into some semblance of equality, of treating human beings not as commodities but as human beings, some possibility of fair and balanced treatment, beyond the fiefdoms of kings and lords and robber barons. Lucky man.
I was born in Europe, not into sub-Saharan Africa, the Far East or some other part of the Third World. Lucky man.
I am a male, not subject to the prejudice, suppression or casual sexual assault males exact upon females. Lucky man.
I was born into a society that was building a fledgling health service for all, not just for the rich. The less than perfect arts of medicine make life less painful and more survivable than for any of my forebears. Lucky man.
I was born to two parents who stayed alive and stayed together, managed to move upwards financially and bought me books, cared for me to the best of their understanding and abilities, did not abuse me, ensured I was educated and eventually apologised for sending me to Roman Catholic schools. Lucky man.
I was conceived with a mix of DNA that was highly advantageous and I was born and lived in an environment where I could utilise those advantages. Lucky man.
My education was paid for almost entirely by the mutuality of taxation. Secondary school especially was unnecessarily brutal, physically and emotionally abusive, but I got off lightly compared to many. I was not brought up and educated in a rigid religious community where my natural capacity to question and challenge would have brought retribution crashing down upon my head. Tertiary education opened and broadened me and helped me realise much of what I am. Lucky man.
Employment was available in fields where I could operate and eventually in one where I could thrive. I was living near one of the greatest cities in the world with its wealth of opportunity and I was able to make use of that. Lucky man.
I lived in the era of the contraceptive pill, allowing me a variety of relationships that might have slipped past my inept social skills. I lived when ‘make love not war’ was a real possibility and the threat of imminent nuclear destruction appeared to be receding. I am part of the first generation in half a millennium to reach retirement age without being drafted into military service with a high probability of having to face someone trying to kill me. During my lifetime my country has not entered a self-devastating war; they have limited wars to those that devastated the families and countries outside of my own. I live in one of the richest economies in the world in an era when the world is financially richer than it has ever been. Lucky man.
And now I live in a country that holds to many of the tenets that were being evolved in that of my birth; broad equality, a legal system largely fair, and a health service that provides for all and is not arbitrarily slashed to ribbons to provide tax advantages for the rich; a country that has a better climate and because I live outside the cities a slower and gentler pace. And we get to grow some of our own meat and vegetables. Lucky man.
I live in a society where I am free to think and feel and wonder at the world, at science at art and at philosophy and whether our universe is merely atoms or extends in spirit and in dimensions yet unseen. Lucky man.
I met and married the most wonderful, gracious, intelligent and capable woman, very much the love of my life. And somewhere in that complicated journey I came to realise this was not the same as all that had gone before. I look at her enduring beauty, wonder at her capacity and genius and ponder what she sees in me. Lucky man, oh very lucky man.
Whilst parents are expected to love their children, step-parents are not. That makes the children that I have been able to come to love in and of themselves very special and very precious; my wife's by blood and mine by love. They appear happy in their relationships and I have daughters-in-law of whom I am proud and whom I love. Their wondrous children are my grandchildren and the fountains of my delight. And I love and get on with that butt of sexist jokes, my mother-in-law. Oh lucky, lucky man.
My mistakes, my indiscretions, my leaps of undeserved faith, my stupidities have tripped me and warned me, have made me falter and made me quail; but they have not trapped me or brought me before the law or ruined someone else’s life or damaged mine irreparably. Lucky man.
Some of who and where I am of what makes up my life is down to me. I can claim credit for working at some relationships, for working hard for financial reward, for throwing in my all to some aspects of mine arts. And most would not have been had chance not thrown the dice the way they fell. Lucky man.
Oh lucky man
20 June 2018
‘Tis the season of the butterfly and butterflies are free and free to wander this little patch we steward; encouraged by the nettles lining every edge. Every colour from black and red to white to green to yellow to copper and to bronze and gold; out-painted only by the dragonflies who with their blues and scarlets have cornered the iridescent market and seem to stand and sneer as they hover in the air.
21 June 2018
Birdsong blasts forth from nature’s boombox as all compete to proclaim the longest day; more sunshine than was ever dreamt of in their imagining.
22 June 2018
Wind rising fluttering and bumbling the insects into unsightly dances; brushing the tops of the water into white caps. And lifting the heavy layers of leaves; a timpani that races up and down the wood chasing shadows; and the trees use the wind to call out and to tell stories from grove to grove, the tales of their long lives told in gusts.
23 June 2018
Climbing up one patch of hawthorn and bramble is a tendril of a plant; diminutive apart from length; thinner than a bindweed; leaves no bigger than a fingernail sparse and single; clusters of five or more small bunches of tiny flowers; each five petalled with a pointed yellow centre standing tall; and this plant climbs alone, no other of its kind about unless my eyes deceive me.
24 June 2018
Bees work all day to strip the last of honey from the frames from which I stole their honey; the spring harvest of hives strong enough to build a surplus. Now the frames knives buckets and even the spinner itself rest near the hives so they can regather what I could not collect. And so they journey back and forth, thousands of insects in an unstately dance.
25 June 2018
26 June 2018
Whilst the carpenter chiselling walnut or the barrister drafting a closing speech can take pleasure in the act, not so the slaughterer. He, for I know only one she, who slaughters creatures for their meat cannot take pleasure in the act; we do not enjoy the kill. Pride yes in the speed and cleanliness of the kill, in the consummation, but not pleasure in the act.
27 June 2018
Butterflies abound fluttering around making no sound; their three score and ten lived in a single season burnt out not in our years but in days or hours; lives lived at a furious pace, the essentials of growth and reproduction take precedence and preclude the possibility of much else.
28 June 2018
Upon the ground the bird lay dead, small and dark, wings neatly folded, legs straight and stiff. No knowing whether it tumbled from a branch or plummeted from the skies; whether it was hit with a heart attack and fell lifeless before it reached the earth or lay in pain as the lengthening night drained its life force into the earth. In life we are in the midst of death.
29 June 2018
The ground is cracking as lines and fissures form in the dry earth leaving fractures that split some insect populations. Others use leaves and twigs and even each other to bridge these gaps and maintain their daily round.
30 June 2018
The hour after summer dawn amidst a plethora of sleeping humans in chalets campers and canvas touching upon the edge of a real world. If the birds are anything to go by in their subdued twittering that world is barely allowed to impinge upon most of the snoring ones.