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, 20 August 2013

august rising from the ground in mist

August. Full moon in Aquarius. Generally speaking, there are three full moons between the date of the solstice and the date of the equinox; if you get a fourth, the third in the sequence is a Blue Moon, some people say. (The Huffington Post tells us this moon's also known as the Full Sturgeon Moon, the Full Red Moon, the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.) Since a lunar year is 13 months, there will always be two full moons in one of the solar months; others say that second one in a month is a Blue Moon, regardless of where it falls in the year. TM says that the original Blue Moon came from a physical phenomenon in 1883, of the eruption of the volcano Krakatoa.

Day seems to rise up from the ground in the wavering thinning river mist, rather than wash down from the sky. Each morning carries the scent of autumn already, and the light is soft, sifted. This morning two hot air balloons drifted over southwards from the moor; I heard the burners' continuous roar as the balloonists struggled to keep them afloat – no thermal lift, despite the heat.

A spotted woodpecker came again to tap at the kitchen door; I don't know why. Last week, TM's cat, who very rarely catches birds, caught the other young robin – just one left now from that little courtyard brood whom I've been carefully watching; who've survived so much. When I went into the house yesterday, the cat was prowling by the dresser, back and forth, pacing. Unusual behaviour, so I shut her out, in case. At that point a tiny baby vole, half the size of my little finger, shot out from beneath the dresser and wove its way in the shelter of the furniture to the open door into the courtyard.

A hammock hour to celebrate the arrival of the cover for my new novel (more anon; am pleased with it). Dreaming under the blue sky by the ash trees: one of the local buzzards; a skitter of young swallows, still minus their long tails, about me, chittering and looping – already they've been gathering on wires.

The bumblebees are the size of hornets. I never thought I'd say these words, but – I find myself actually missing the hornets we've had in previous years – their placid (unless threatened) natures, their aphid-eating ways. A dragonfly buzzes me, curious, then goes to hang vertically, as if in water, on a plantain stalk, its tiger-face turning my way from a yard or two. A bluebottle lands near it and it bounces up into the air. The fly rises too and then resettles; the dragonfly jounces away, as if threatened. The butterflies are here en masse now: fritillaries, admirals, peacocks, orange-tips, coppers, meadow browns, small blues and of course the cabbage whites.

At last our veg plot is cropping – weeks after our friends' with polytunnels, but we've an organic and abundant harvest of early maincrop red potatoes, huge onions, garlic, and the wonderful Cobra French beans are forgiving of elements and prolific of crop, as are the kales. And at last we've enough courgettes coming on to make fritters (try them: grate a couple of fat courgettes and maybe a potato, leave them in a bowl with a good shake of salt for 10 minutes; squeeze them out, then mix with herbs, a chopped onion and some garlic, salt and pepper, a beaten egg, and stir in about a half-mug of flour, then drop flattened spoonfuls into hot olive oil. You can add the courgette flowers too, and I sometimes mix in marigold petals.).

The daffodil bulbs are already in the shops. The wasps are eating our apples. These days. These days of late summer, of fire and water, earth and air...


  1. Your post reminded me of a lovely little 15 minute slot on Radio 4 this week (1:45pm) called Through the Lens which is the commentary by wildlife photographers of what they're seeing through their lens. The descriptions are wonderful. I've checked my Luan app and there are only two full moons between Lughnasadh and Alban Elfen! I didn't know that was what a 'Blue Moon' is but I'll be able to look out for occurrences now. It explains all those old sayings like 'Once in a blue moon!. Oh joy - I've learned something today. Thanks Roselle.

  2. Thank you, Angie - and I've caught that slot a few times - always worth listening to.

    Yes - well lughnasadh is of course halfway between the summer solstice (can't think of its brythonic name right now!) and alban elfed... Sometimes there would only be one in that period, depending on where it fell. Have amended post to include other names, courtesy of the Huff Post!


Blog Archive