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

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Jurassic moment (it's a long one)

Golden day; late summer lies on the fields. Tractors, ploughing. Tractors bringing in rectangles of deeply-shining straw. Tractors making a final late cut of silage – that must make three or even four cuts this year.

The hills towards Dorset start to heave up towards that pinnacle of Golden Cap. The broadleaf woodland is just on the cusp of turning. Here I am travelling towards Lyme Bay, planished gold too in the glimpses I catch between the spurs and scarps of the Devon/Dorest border, to do what I love: a poetry workshop for the third day running. Sunday was poetry and Zen mindfulness here at home; yesterday was an intense session on the poetry of James Wright in Exeter, and today I'm working with 13-year-olds on writing creatively about the Jurassic Coast, to form a chapter in a book on the JC.

A flock of motorbikes passes me, all the riders wearing nylon jackets into which the wind has puffed until the men look huge. The ostriches and alpacas (yes, this is England) in a field next to the road swerve away in alarm.

As I crest the steep hill down to Lyme Regis a trawler's coasting in with its entourage of gulls. Even though I'm vegetarian and I know the seas are overfished my heart does a little – ok not quite pirouette, but at least a little twirl of pleasure that there is still a small local fishing fleet (fishing's in my ancestry).

At the end of the day I'll head towards Monmouth Beach (presumably named after the Duke of, during the flight of was it errr Charles 11?) at the foot of the Undercliff with its millions of years of history. The dog will love it enough as to forget she's ill; the flints under our feet will tinkle sharply, like dense glass, and may also conceal an occasional fossil and a holey 'hag-stone', and I know that with the light the way it is the sea now will silver over towards evening, as the wind from Cornwall just fingers the surface. We'll sit, dog and I, and breathe the good sea-air, with no agenda, no rush; we in our brief moment, the cliffs in their long dreaming.

And if I hadn't dropped my mobile in a stream I'd post you a photo - amazingly almost all of the other functions are still working, but I'm having to find creative ways of scrolling, I can't actually switch it off (which I prefer to do when not actively using it), and nor, sadly, at the moment does the camera still work...

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