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Everything is new all the time

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I’ve walked on the small corner of our planet – the one I call ‘my patch’ – maybe a thousand times. I’ve crossed this unexceptional parcel of land nearly every day for the last few years. The same path from the cemetery on to the old abandoned golfcourse - nothing to see here. The track that becomes muddy in autumn’s rain and seems want to stay muddy long after dryness has come back into fashion. But wait... It’s never been muddy quite like this. I’ve had to skirt round it, clinging to dry parts – but never quite in this way. And look at those thistles, that arrangement of spikey seedheads, one in front, two behind. And the way they seem to slide past the willows at the back, as I walk by – I’ve never, ever seen that – it's a totally new thing.What about that beech tree trunk, with its network of byways made of darker bark as it dries out after rain...brand-new.


I find that the dullest of days, the most uninspiring of scenes can be completely and instantly transformed by the simple act…

The Mist

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the mist
the mist came down last night, came in softly
a drowned world between here and Winter Hill just spires and tree tops jutting out above;
archipelago in Pacific fog grey but lustrous - has eroded edges
all the gaps are filled with mother of pearl the middle-willow distance gone over,
lightly stippled with a softening brush so watercolours run, bleeding into
tump-grassy nearby and all that's behind words are becoming detached corner first
shaking free, the children are leaving home what used to be a branch is shedding nouns
twig, leaf, acorn and bark have now all gone borders dissolved and separation smudged
all of it replaced with a sea of this the sun comes at last pooling rosy mist
white whips tilt and float up, slow and steady a flock of birds drops down reattaching
returning to things, the birds are words














"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower"

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A trudge becomes a treasure hunt

One of my favourite things is to be doing something - it happens most of when walking on the patch - feeling uninspired, maybe bored - then completely turning it around.

...a thoroughly dull and grey, uninspiring October morning with little of interest. Then I noticed something new - the wonderful way leaves were turning autumnal.

The fantastic patterns and combinations of colours were unique to each. Suddenly this beauty was all around. I started looking for the best ones. A weary trudge had become a treasure hunt, I had a autumnal spring in my step.

This isn't hidden beauty in the way maybe some inaccessible wonder deep in a cave is hidden - it was there all along. It's only hidden until we see it.

It's everywhere.

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower" - Albert Camus










This Skylark will change your life

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Yesterday, on my patch walk, I saw a skylark perched on a wall. I stopped to watch it for a while and took a photograph.

It occurred to me that this bird has changed my life. All the subsequent moments after seeing the lark would have been slightly different had it not been there. And all those lark-rearranged causes and conditions will continue to cascade into the future.

But what about the Skylark. It was only there, at that place and that time, because of a host of factors. That insect, would have influenced it – the one that laid its eggs, hatching into lark food….and that insect foodplant…

And so it goes on. A ‘world wide web’ – an infinity of interconnections. Ripples on ripples.

Yesterday a friend on Facebook kindly posted a link to an article he thought would interest me. This reminded me of a documentary I’d seen before, which I then re-watched. My life will never be quite the same simply because of the handful of keystrokes and clicks he carried out on his computer.

And what abou…

Microcosmic!

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You scan the horizon, your view an expanse of hill, field and sky, then you focus in on a detail, maybe a bird or a tree. Does your perceptual world contract to a shrunken fragment?  No, it stays the same size or maybe even expands.  As your attention homes in, so there is a mental blossoming – what was coarse-grained becomes finescale.  Uniform  Mondrian blocks show their true nature as a filigree of delicate tracery.

Like a baby in a pram, whose universe consists of its mother and perhaps some toys, it seems limited,  but this is the canvas upon which the everything plays out – all the sights smells and sounds to feed the baby’s developing brain.

And this is what I’ve found when I’ve concentrated on a ‘patch' - my mind is focussed  - I've gone microcosmic!



My first incarnation as a patch watcher was enforced.  A decade long stretch of chairbound  illness largely confined me to a living room.  My patch was the view through the window.  I had swapped the people, job, relations…

The News

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the news broke around six o'clock
robins heard it first plucked colours from their breasts
then sang it to the dark that coloured the tiny parts exposed
by dawn's needle
etching clouds chinese whispered the light
held on to it for a while
then passed it on leaking ochre rumours
bleeding into flame the hills heard the word lifted the veil
but slowly a star burst the horizon
flooded a piece of it fireworked the fields
crackerjacked through trees fireflied the mist
even glow wormed webs the news broke around six o'clock
everyone knew by seven

Life is great!

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This a lot of life - where did it come from?
I sometimes find it instructive to look at an area and think what it would like without the living things. In short it would look similar to the dead, rocky surface of the moon.

Life has bestowed upon this, would be, barren surface a green cloak of living organisms. The breathing, growing, reproducing, eating, feeding, singing, scurrying, flying, flowering, beautiful exuberance – that is nature...

…and it all originates in space. Green plants trap the sun’s energy by photosynthesis allowing living things to rearrange atoms on the earth into living structures. These atoms ultimately originated in “The Belly of a Star” - almost every element on Earth was formed at the heart of a star.

I put a video explaining this process in a previous post Wren Song an Echo of the big bang

How were these numbers arrived at?


Birds
I know the numbers of birds on the patch more accurately than any other group as I’ve counted them! So I can say with a reasonable…

Biodiversi-tastic!

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I set myself the very enjoyable challenge of trying to photograph and, where possible, identify all the species of insects I found along a short stretch of path on my patch – in the space of a couple of hours.

There were a lot!

Once you get your eye in it’s amazing how much diversity there is – everything you look at seems to be something new.

And you can do this almost anywhere – a flower bed in the garden is perfect.

These are just the ones I managed to photograph, the actual number of insect species that make this plot their home will be several times this.

And these are just the insects, if you broadened it to the spiders, worms, molluscs, plants, higher animals etc, etc - and even the microbes - there will be way, way more.

Then think about individuals, not just species – astronomical numbers in this tiny fragment of planet Earth.

We hear a lot these days about wildlife numbers being depleted, this is true and very concerning.

However numbers are often compared to a supposed gol…

Gleaming lances of shivelight pierce the canopy

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Gleaming lances of shivelight pierce the canopy - dawn’s first rays threading their way through the outstretched arms of a lone ash tree. Just before starlight meets the ground it illuminates a patch of morning mist. Solar spotlights pick out an ever changing fragment of the new day with a shimmering band - shot through with essence of firefly... Many thanks to the sun, mist, trees and grass for the morning display they put on!