1 September 2018
Returning matters and is felt as feet feel acorns underfoot most fresh this year and others ancient surprisingly unrotted; acorns that fell upon this earth from these trees in these woods of this ground of which I am one steward; acorns I may crush with one clumsy step; acorns that will feed birds and squirrels and their young through winter’s coming cold; and acorns that might grow to mighty oaks that may outlive me by an hundred or a thousand years.
2 September 2018
Old dog I do love you so; and so is complicated, so so complicated. There are paddocks and rough corners lanes and woods where you could go; but you choose, advisedly I admit given our mutual move to ancient age, you chose that green sward twixt door and lunch table that my mother so desperately wanted to call lawn. Language too is complex; should I stick with euphemisms such as business or poo or poop; perhaps the greater precision but lesser delicacy of shit or crap or merde; or that French one word wonder word, which when pronounced correctly consists of but a single syllable, and is only used for the truly gargantuanly horrible, the magnificent shitmerde. That seems fitting; no more need be said.
3 September 2018
Summer tires and allows a coolness to the morning air but at the top of the long walk there is a spot that catches sunlight and holds the warmth; and it is there where wheels of woven webs are spun amongst the grasses and the twigs of fallen branches; rank upon rank as if designs were being tried and tested before being taken out to capture flies.
4 September 2018
River runs thin yet there are still deep places on some meanders and on one such bend a shadow flickers as we approach and a pale brown shape slips into the water as a coypu returns to safety leaving nothing but a ripple in the dappled sunlight on the surface.
5 September 2018
Round and fat and sleek and wet the ragodin (being the local name for coypu) does not appear to hear us so intent is she on what is in her claws; perhaps yesterday’s all too easy escape from we three interlopers has given her courage so now she pauses momentarily; but it does not last and ungainly she run across the earth and dives smoothly beneath the waters.
6 September 2018
Face stares up at me from out the earth mainly eyes nose and mouth; expression changing day by day as shallow animal tunnels dry out and roofs collapse; mouth twists as earth falls in; eyes widen as if in surprise; when rains come changes catastrophic and climactic will be rent upon this visage; is this me in some past or in some future or a mirror of an eternal now.
7 September 2018
Leaves gather on the ground; summer’s work is done and the long evening of autumn heads toward winter sleep; oak and ash beech and poplar elder and alder; orchard trees too inaugurate the release of their thin veined greenery; cherry and peach damson and apricot; apple and pear and quince will follow later; leaves cannot be sustained through the cold and dormant time when even mighty oaks curl in upon themselves.
8 September 2018
Sun has work to do today to wake the birds and warm the earth; birds there are that speak across the chill but most offer only occasional advice such that we can hear a rooster half a kilometre or more away. Counterpoint of rippling river is almost silent as it has not the water to let it run and must tiptoe for a time. High on the lake the ducks laugh at us.
9 September 2018
From dust to dust; path is dry and wearing from our feet sending up small clouds; larger billows from the dried remains of ragondin hills; grasses have left hazes of pollen that can be raised by any movement; short-lived butterflies have left their papery wings to turn to powder; and early summer’s cast off leaves begin to crumble adding to the mist. Each step is vapour trailed, each slight stumble – that’s old dog or me – puts up a plume; and as we leave the particles resettle in places new.
10 September 2018
Autumn gives a different light not the overhead bright warmth of summer nor the cold low paleness of winter but slanted subtle and deep. It is on the trees as we approach and once within the wood is dappled and broken and draws out the beauty of the changing leaves. Whole vistas appear from inside the wood as light spills across the hillside silhouetting the trees and secret sunshined spots are built between the trees. The river low and quiet reflects the scenes around turning and twisting them when obstructions rise up ripples.
11 September 2018
Chickens and ducks are released from night time protection to wander in their hundred metre space, to peck and scratch and bathe in dust. We drive away and pass the great grey egg hangers with birds in tens of thousands daily laying. A few miles on a truck waits to cross our road; six high ten long and four or more across are crates stuffed with living birds destined for I know not where.
12 September 2018
Nature is not just out there but in here inside the human family and inside the personal family and inside the person; the person who is my beloved daughter and currently carrier of twins. Time is short so changes to the house are urgent and my contribution of constructing shelves and furniture and painting walls and ceilings takes precedence over all other thoughts.
13 September 2018
Urban squirrel hops along; grey which is unfortunate if she wants to be loved by the many; turns at the pelican crossing looks right looks left and all being clear crosses. A man strolls past oblivious and a woman with a toddler and a baby all engrossed in other than this visitor from half a world away.
14 September 2018
Soon to be three your old instructs me on the alphabet gently singing A B C D E and onwards. The joy of this conversation is in the trust mutual and instant and open. However we have to disagree on whether P stands for Poppy or Papi.
15 September 2018
You’re the flavour in the food
You’re the stars on the coldest night
You’re the colours of the rainbow
You’re the height of the bright of the light
16 September 2018
Sunlight peeks onto suburban trees banishing thoughts of the green and blue and pink ones that shine there in the evening. Either side gardens vary from neat and clean and set for formal use to tumbled jumbled toylands fit only for playing and pleasure.
17 September 2018
There is a world in Cherrios when you are almost three; and a near Trumpian powerplay as only a thirty five month old can exercise when they refuse to eat them; especially when a not quite Brexit deadline of required parental departure looms; smoothed into a smile as a Papi stealing said cereal suddenly makes it much more munchable.
18 September 2018
Saturday morning my extended family extended in mourning with the help of Lemn as he spoke of his fostering and his moving into care at twelve and all his family disappearing down a black hole of nowhere in no time. In the decade his high-born Ethiopian mother birthed him in a mother and baby home and lost him to the system, the mother of my youngest brother James came from Ireland to birth him in some other but similar home. Lemn found his mother, James chose not to search so she will never know him see him grown or feel his story. But thank you for your story Lemn as it made me cry for James’ mother and with never meeting her or knowing her know she is herself and she is family.
19 September 2018
Mist and sun compete for morning’s glory; layered veils hang between the trees slowly dwindling as they distance; light wispy but distinct at each demarcation; but sun is working quietly on each and every individual droplet prising apart the tension that holds the surface round and firm and dismantling the bonds that hold the molecules of water in their places; and within an hour the haze will have lost its way until a cooler day.
20 September 2018
Sitting in the sunshine young dog raises his head attempting to bring nobility to his bearing; mist which spent the night time gathering forces to control the sun has failed once again and laments her loss; old dog lumbers after me around the rabbit hutches hoping to steal some food; and feeding done as I turn and walk away they both prick up their ears and follow me on our walk.
21 September 2018
Fed up with being bullied from the day mist sent her friends to challenge sun; so cloud and rain arrived and filled the sky; cloud filled but not that deep and rain let loose some flurries but nothing serious; wind had refused to come out and play but sent her cousin breeze who danced about and flirting fluttered with the leaves and grasses.
22 September 2018
Stumbling and fumbling the creature struggles from the river; stick like legs clamber up the bank; overlong wings unbend and scrabble at the air; the crane rises amongst the trees and unfurls those wings to lift south above the grass for a hundred metres. She turns to look at us safe in our environment and wonders if she has missed the migration. Head turns as if to look for fellows.
23 September 2018
How mere must something be to not exist? Small insignificant vague a hint a touch an insinuation inference or indication? A smear of relish on a restaurant plate designed for decoration not for flavour. And so this morning’s rain if I dare use the word suggesting water implying liquid evoking a tinge of dampness on the leaves and earth an intimation on the skin that something not quite dry is in the air. Mere cloud lying low, mere haze hanging in the air or mist merely meandering?
24 September 2018
Sun bright in a clear sky radiantly warm upon the skin; in the shadow the cold air is supreme. Autumn is coming, slowly and with fairy steps, silently tiptoeing across the land; taking leaves from off the trees and turning them from green to brown so that they stumble and fall to earth; withering the edges of flowers so they loose some magnificence; and yet without rain to damp the dryness and the browned grass.
25 September 2018
Steep banks scraped out by years of winter’s surge hide sound as well as vision so we were close upon the crane when she heard us; no stumbling today but a swift graceful rise into the air wings spread and beating hard to lift away from we intruders. Are you the bird we saw but days ago? Are you lost and lonely having missed migration and must linger here and almost certainly not survive the winter? Or are you standing sentinel for others embracing this spot upon the route to guide those who missed the wave and might need some guidance of the way?
26 September 2018
Autumn is spider time. Small cobwebs gather in the grass and between the twigs of fallen branches all jumbled in their weaving. There is structure stretched between the dahlias forming more conventional webs circles binding circles with occasional unexplained tangents. And from tips of blooms drift long silken threads unattached to anything else and moving gently in the air.
27 September 2018
Gemstones dropped by a terrified traveller spilling possessions as they run for their lives from vagabonds walnuts lie scattered across the ground. Raw nuts dropped from their pods are quartz dull agate or even clouded garnet; oldest lie hidden their skins gone to black onyx Apache tears and dark laced opal; and full nuts in their fleshy coats are jade tourmaline and shady emerald.
28 September 2018
Adolescent oaks of ten or twenty years stand now in groves amongst their older brethren; thin branched as they have struggled for the sky and light. Are they competing for the sun? They speak through chemicals and fungi shared by roots. Are they working as a team helping each and every one? If so, does oak help ash and ash help chestnut and on and on?
29 September 2018
Wind and sun come out to dance; the dappled sunshine through the trees sways back and forth as tops are tossed and tumbled; and vistas open full of blazing light enough to curl your toes then close as swiftly leaving us in darkness that takes time to tune our eyes anew.
30 September 2018
Competing with dark red squirrels and other nocturnal creatures I have long accepted that the walnut crop is a mutual asset and will be shared. But now old dog who is prepared to eat anything from fruit fallen and low hanging to tomatoes has discovered how to sniff out walnuts; and young dog never quick to learn commands has joined him; so as I bend to collect these jewels I hear the crunch of those now lost.