Posts

Summer Solstice Sunrise

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Summer Solstice Sunrise looking out towards Winter Hill and the Pennine foothills it's going to be a long day :)  a summer solstice barn owl

Half Moon High Tide

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half moon high tide washes up a morning, message in a bottle heron

A music that couldn’t be played.

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A music that couldn’t be played. There was a music that couldn’t be played. It was overflowing with beauty, life and colour. But there was nothing to play it. It pervaded every corner of the universe. But it couldn’t be played. So it remained a potential – the possibility of music. And the universe stayed quiet, not a note of it sounded through the cold, silent aeons. Until the Earth. Like an orchestra at the beginning of a piece it started quietly, tuning up for a time. Then it played. How it played! It played with symphonies in trees. Loud joyful songs in birds. Insect concertos. Choirs in the oceans. And exultant crescendos where all of nature sounded together. At last the music could be played. The music could play itself – through the Earth and everything living. The Earth had given voice to the music and it rung throughout the universe. The music is playing now. Can you hear it? You are one of the players. Don’t let it stop.

A Box of Letting Go

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let go of holding on fly let go of flying fall let go of falling be  let go even of being then let go of  letting go ------------------------------------------------------------ a box of letting go I bought a box of letting go from a pet shop in Greece horizon-eyed goldfinch inside scooped off a sky, stuffed into cardboard took it to the town's edge a suspicion of locals watched opened the lid, then jack-in-a-box that kept on going as cloudward rocket hallelujahs in its wake, bicyle bell expletives me down there holding on with a box I paid good money for just to watch it let go

The Spiral of Honesty

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The Spiral of Honesty Yesterday was the first sunny day with a sunrise since I made the Spiral of Honesty last Friday (seedpods of Honesty stuck onto a framed glass sheet). So I took it onto the patch to take a photo with the sunrise behind it. I probably looked highly eccentric walking down the road and across fields in the dark - large, framed, square thing inexplicably tucked under my arm. Luckily I had an entirely plausible - not at all odd - response ready if I bumped into anyone. "Don't worry Sir / Madam / officer of the law (delete where applicable) I am merely taking the Spiral of Honesty to a place where I can point it at the sun to see if it's telling the truth"  

When birds saved my life

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The amazing sight of 100+ Goldfinches, just outside the window This is something I wrote on my first 'blog' Birds in a Cheshire Garden. Though back then - twenty years ago - blogs were still a twinkle in the internet's eye. I spent ten chairbound years looking out of a window onto a garden and a its birds. I was seldom down or bored - because of the birds. They kept me going. Finch Charming I can still remember the first Goldfinch I ever saw . A roadside of thistles glimpsed from the car held two excitingly unfamiliar birds. The sparks of colour brought a touch of the exotic to that urban scene. I knew I'd seen something like it in my Observers Book of Birds. Then came a flash of recognition as I mentally matched the painting of a Goldfinch with the finch-of-paradise I'd just seen It's funny how birds seemed more brightly coloured when I was a boy. Even so, many Goldfinches later, I still get a frisson of pleasure every time I see that combination of red, bla

This Skylark will change your life

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This Skylark will change your life - no really! 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. 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 cli

My A-Z of the Patch - part 1

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Aborlith Abor (tree) + lith (as in megalith - stone) A tree like a standing stone such as this ash tree on the patch. In April when I stand by the lake the morning sun climbs up the side the trunk, then for a moment seems to be embraced in its lower boughs. Perhaps this is how standing stones were first sited by our ancestors - they noticed a certain tree / solar alignment which developed meaning for them and so made this more permanent with a stone in the same position. A couple of years ago I compiled an A-Z of the Patch using existing regional or specialised words and focussing on the patch ( Word Magic ). This is a follow up in which I've come up with an A-Z of my own coinages and this is part one - A to M. I think for anyone who pays close attention to single area - a patch watcher - it's fairly normal to invent their own names for certain corners of their plot that stand out. I have 'Stonechat Fence' and 'Wheatear Ridge'. The

Li - Patterns in Nature

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"the  asymmetrical, nonrepetitive, and unregimented order  which we find in the patterns of moving water, the forms of trees and clouds, of frost crystals on the window, or the scattering of pebbles on beach sand.”  Alan Watts The Chinese word - 'Li' refers to the patterns in nature that are continually forming and re-forming around us. fixed patterns dynamic patterns patterns within patterns patterns in time patterns in space patterns that we create in our own minds through our unique perceptions of these patterns The li can be seen as the ever-changing, ever-present set of patterns which flow through everything in nature.  And they flow through our perceptions of the world. There are several ways of categorising the kinds of patterns found in nature These are the 24 from the book 'Li: Dynamic Form in Nature' by David Wade (link below) with examples from things I've photographed Aggregation – collocation of elements (fungus spore print) Anfractuous – winding

Perfect

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This morning I looked out of window debating whether to go for my walk on the patch or stay in bed a bit longer. ‘Nah’ I thought, I don’t fancy it. Last week’s crisp, bright winter wonderland had given way to that unholy quintet of gloom - wind, mud, rain, grey and cold. But what perversely swayed me to step outside was the fact that it wasn’t just horrible it was spectacularly horrible, comically horrible, perfectly horrible. The word ‘perfectly’ to describe a bad thing is usually used for emphasis - ‘horrible indeed’. But what if it literally is *perfect* in its horribleness. perfect wind perfect mud perfect rain perfect grey perfect cold No less a morning than a bright snowy one, a birdsong-filled spring one, a lazy hot summer one. The morning, the day, the weather – they just get on with things being themselves – oblivious to our labels, our likes and dislikes. This reminded me of the story I’d heard about the writer Henry David Thoreau - author of Walden. He died of tuberculosis

Where Birds Were

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  There are a lot of really excellent bird photos on the internet. I've got to say though - it's been done to death. People are getting bored with them now and are clamouring for photos of where birds WERE, not where they ARE. So here's a photograph of where a Yellowhammer (Emberiza non-citrinella) was before it flew off. I'm rather proud of the total lack of bird, no feathers whatsoever in detail - glorious or otherwise. I feel I've captured the very essence of its absence. Its 'gone-ness' if you like. A lack is so profound it seems to infuse everything around it with total not-thereness. (if you're unable to make out where it isn't - it's not on the post in the middle) Bird photographers ask yourselves, do you really want to be part of the problem - or are you going to be part of the solution? #wherebirdswere

The lights are on

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The world, the universe, is full to the brim with wonders. The most amazing of all, to my mind, is one that everyone has access to every morning as soon as they wake up - consciousness. It's a puzzle that continues to baffle science. How does matter come together in such a way that suddenly the 'lights are on'. How does the collection of atoms in our brains become aware - so that it's 'like something' to be us. And just what *is* a sensation? Take the sensations of hearing a bird singing. The physics and biology of the process are well known. The bird uses energy - originally from the sun - to move the muscles in its vocal organ - this in turn moves air molecules. Some of these enter our ear, vibrating the eardrum and causing nerve impulses to be sent to the brain where they are interpreted - sensed as bird song *Sensed as bird song* - this final part is where the "miracle" happens. Just what is the birdsongness of bird song, the gree