from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Thursday, 23 December 2010

ice, migrant blackbirds, ancient things, missing sheep, more books

Here the ice has thickened. Chances of getting to the heart of the moor to spend Christmas with my daughter are more remote, and walking the dog has become a dangerous sport. But, yes, it's beautiful.

The migrating blackbirds that normally hang out up in the woodland margins feasting on berries are gathering in the courtyard, increasingly less shy, and feasting on the pulp left from some of our apples that we juiced before they went over.

Two news items: a neanderthal family has just been discovered in a cave in I believe northern Spain – Basque country? – from 69,000 years ago... and this morning I hear of a massive skull of a pleiosaur – is that the correct spelling? Can't get out of this blog page to check – oh hang on, could use an actual dictionary, a real book – no, Longman doesn't have it and my Chambers is out in my arctic study in the garden – so that spelling will stand for the moment – found in Dorset, that fossil-county. This reminds me of a fabulous novel: Tracy Chevalier's latest, Remarkable Creatures – the life of Victorian fossilist Mary Anning. No, it's not at all a dry read.

Just had a call from one of my neighbours – yet again the sheep are out (seems to have been happening to several of my smallholding neighbours lately; poor animals looking for food), and he has to go and set up stall in the Christmas market (he sells Palestinian olive oil). So I'll collect the dog and go sheep-hunting.

And there are other books I forgot to mention. One of them, if you're an eco-freak and into Celtic spirituality, is Jason Kirkey's wonderful and erudite The Salmon in the Spring. From Kirkey's Hiraeth Press has just come the solstice launch issue of 'Written Rivers' – at the moment in e-journal form – of ecopoetry. I'm hoping it'll come out as hard copy. It's very beautifully produced (stunning photos) and Kirkey's intro would serve as a mission statement for those of us working in the field of ecopoetry/eco-awareness/ecopsychology/ecospirituality.

And I'm stuck into this book from David Loy: Money, Sex, War and Karma – notes for a buddhist revolution. Clear, penetrating, insightful, economically written.

More about books and writing soon. Now, off to stalk sheep.

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