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.
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
tongues of autumn lapping at the land
Autumn is dropping her stories, already, all over the moor.
Each year I think I've never seen the rowans such a perfect shade of pumpkin-red, the light quite so enchantingly golden, promiseful. There are stories in the juicy 'whorts', the wild bilberries clinging to the rockfaces; in the ancient granite boulders; in the steps I take in the steps of others on this oldest of drovers' tracks.
In the west, against a hazy sky, Pew and Vixen Tors are cutouts. As I think the names of the tors, ahead of me on the track something flashes a shout of russet against the goldgreen light – vulpine and voluptuous with summer.
I notice with a heart-murmur of pain the new young badger's freshly-dug latrine: it's tonight the badger cull is due to start. I can barely let my mind go there – the cruelty, the stupidity, the insanity, the demonisation that, against the science, is to pacify farmers about TB.
I lie back on a mossy boulder. The grove holds its stillness as a chalice bears wine. I still too to earth-time.
Across from me new tongues of fern emerge from stone speaking their own green language; descendants, perhaps, of the ones that have died in the season since I was here; since we were here. Or maybe the old crown simply died back, and these new Fibonacci spirals are re-emergence from the same strong rootstock.
Once we looked into the mouth of this history of rock; its tales, its long journeys and transformations. We wrote for it then, in its language.
At the edge of the grove our other selves flicker in the trees; die away; re-materialise. Perhaps nothing is ever truly lost.
I wish I could upload for you the stories of the unknown unseen yous. I wish I could upload, too, the yaffle of the green woodpecker as it undulates away southwest; the song of the unseen wren by the granite gateway; the sharp taste of wood sorrel leaves bursting on my tongue. From somewhere comes a tang of pony on the breeze; warm, sweet, good.
Now, homewards, the late August sun slides over my hair and neck, my shoulders, my back.
The lanes are dusted with handfuls of golden chaff from the barley harvests.
Later, darker, waifs of cloud float down the Princetown road, slow me to a crawl in case of ponies, sheep, cattle in the road. The other side of each wisp is astonishingly clear: the Milky Way shawling the sky.
I don't know, suddenly, if I find myself drifting among the stars, or if I am myself the drifting stars.
From Thursday, I'll be off in France leading a writing retreat in the wild Cévennes (one place left for anyone wanting a last-minute adventure!).
I'm not taking my computer, so more after 9th September.
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