The Messages are Clear

I have been reading, or my husband is reading to me (he does in the evening) books that relate to climate changes, earth changes, changes in the movements of peoples related to climate change, life during and after the last glacial maximum, life during the little ice age, life during the Mediaeval warm period, how big business is sabotaging any efforts to control climate change.

The messages are clear.

They cannot be denied or avoided if we are to have any sort of liveable and habitable planet in the next 30, 40, 50 maybe even 20 years now. I am 66 and I will not live to see the worst of what the projected effects will be, but I still care deeply that life remain viable on this amazing planet on which we live. I cannot imagine what life will be like for children born in the last 20 years when they are my age – should they live so long with antibiotic resistance, superbugs, micro-plastics in the food chain, besides climate change.

The messages are clear that things are not good now.

The signs are there for all to see and yet there are those who refuse to admit there is something radically wrong with the way we are exhausting the earth’s resources, at an alarming rate. The signs are there for all to see and yet there are those who refuse to acknowledge that we are abusing our fellow creatures and condemning them to famine, disease, war and extinction. The signs are there for all to see and yet there are those who self-interests and their desire to continue piling up money cause them to ignore what is obvious to those of us who are not so motivated. The signs are there for all to see and yet governments are dragging their heels and burying their heads in the sand in the face of the facts that daily are more and more irrefutable.

The messages are clear that things are not good now, and are set to get a whole lot worse.

Every morning and evening I open my bedroom window when I get out of bed and before I retire for the night. I look at the sunrise. I look at the stars twinkle. I look at the wind ruffling the leaves of the trees. I see bats swooping. I see birds flying. I hear the dawn chorus – solo, duet, trio or choir. I sniff the air and since I live in the country take a deep breath. I reach my hand out if it is raining. I say thank you for the amazing world that I share with all the other precious life forms here.

We cannot run away to another world and think that will make everything all better. Humans are human after all and all of our proclivities will go with us. We will not instantly become creatures who will cease being greedy, cease wanting to exploit resources, cease wanting and thinking we are somehow granted the right to dominate the weaker (be they be human or plant or animal). It may take a long time, but the same problems we have now will manifest sooner or later in any world those with enough resources to flee may colonise. Those with the resources are the ones whose actions in acquiring more resources here are a huge part of the problem now.

The messages are clear that things are not good now, are set to get a whole lot worse, and we cannot run away to another world.

At some point someone has to be the one to say enough is enough. Not in 30 years from now. Not even in 10 years from now. But now. Right now. Someone has to be the first. Someone with real authority, real clout, real power and prestige to back it up. Someone. Some country. The UK where I live is itching to get free trade agreements after Brexit. Free trade means nothing, however, if our food is poisoned or otherwise compromised, if the goods come from places where exploitation of people and resources is rife, if getting cheap is best at all costs. If we do not look at these issues then free trade is going to be way too expensive both the long and short run.

We need to rethink everything. We need to know that our individual actions mean something. That what I can do as one person, what my husband and I can do as a couple means something. Otherwise it is too easy to try, and in the frustration as it all keeps getting worse and worse, just throw up our hands and say why bother.

The messages are clear that things are not good now, are set to get a whole lot worse, and we cannot run away to another world; we need to rethink everything, now.

Time is running out here. The young people are rising up and challenging all of us. We need to listen, not just pat them on the head and tell them we admire them and carry on doing all the things that are wrecking their and our world.

Strike for the Climate. Act for the climate. Change for the Climate.

Now!

Robin Sang for Willow

All day you sat,
on a branch of a hawthorn
at the edge of our orchard,
Robin, and sang.

The magnificent old Willow
was being taken down,
limb by limb,
branch by branch,
and finally,
segment of trunk by segment of trunk,
all day.

And . . .

All day you sat,
on a branch of a hawthorn
at the edge of our orchard,
Robin, and sang.

The louder the chainsaw
roared
the louder you
sang,
so she would know
you were there
singing to her,
singing to ease the pain
to honour her living
mark her dying,
so she would know
she was not alone.

And . . .

All day you sat,
on a branch of a hawthorn
at the edge of our orchard,
Robin, and sang.

You sang when the squirrel
fled its drey
moments before the chainsaw man
ripped it out of its place
nestled in between
two strong branches,
and threw it on the ground
like rubbish;
it had been a good place for a drey,
the squirrel now has
no bed for the night.

And . . .

All day you sat,
on a branch of a hawthorn
at the edge of our orchard,
Robin, and sang.

You sang as the wood dust
spewed from the whirling saw
and fell sparkling in the sun
like snow or rain on a sunny day,
but it wasn’t rain or snow
it was part of a life
being cut down;
and as the parts fell,
thudding after they were
too heavy to tumble
crashing earthward,
the sky opened up
bright blue
on a sad day.

And . . .

All day you sat,
on a branch of a hawthorn
at the edge of our orchard,
Robin, and sang.

You sang farewell
to an old and noble
being who had stood
where it could not flee
when it got in the way,
got too big and had to go,
like so many of its kin
right now around the world
lost to clear cutting,
lost to fire,
lost to greed,
lost to commerce,
lost to progress,
lost forever
and we shall never know
the weight of the loss
until it is far too late.

And . . .

All day you sat,
on a branch of a hawthorn
at the edge of our orchard,
Robin, and sang.

A Deity of the Land Where I Live

I have wondered for the year we have been living in a small village in Avalon who the deity/deities of the land here might be.

On Saturday I got the answer. I was waiting for a gathering of our Village Hall Committee, of which I am a member, to decide on the new paint colours for the Hall. Across the road is the Village Green that not only has over a dozen apple trees, but it, like our property (which includes a very wee orchard) abuts the Great Orchard. I was just looking and enjoying the quiet of the morning before the grass cutting commenced in the fields around the village.

All of a sudden Pomona arrived. It makes sense, the Romans were here for a goodly while. They seemed to have left Her here, or She decided to remain after they up stakes and returned to the continent. I’m not sure when the apples trees arrived in Avalon, but they are all over the place. Mostly, I have to admit, cider orchards. Ours was part of the Great Orchard and the cider trees were taken out and replaced by eating apples. Our trees are young so our harvest was not huge. We got half a dozen Bramleys. There were over a dozen Howgate Wonders and one Worcester Pearman. There is one tree in our garden of an undetermined variety, but has many sweet red apples. We also have a pear and plum tree, the former is laden with fruit and the latter had a dozen or so plums that were added to some others gave us for my first, and unsuccessful, attempt at jam making. The resulting plum sauce is yummy though and I have since gotten the hang of jam making.

Today I looked for images of Pomona as part of wanting to create a shrine for Her, and found a nice one on a prayer card that I ordered and, as a project for some time in the future, a very complicated cross stitch pattern based on the famous image by Bryne-Jones. I took a glass dessert bowl shaped like an apple (I have a set of five of them so it won’t be missed). I took some artificial apple blossom from a bunch I have and a plastic red apple I’ve had for ages and placed them in the bowl. Behind it is a postcard of the Apple Pavement at Hereford Cathedral. This is special since my husband was the Project Manager at the quarry that provided or sourced the stones for the pavement and he did the drawings used to construct it from the original design. It’s quite stunning, if I say so myself, and worth a look in on if you are ever in Hereford.

Pomona Shrine

One of our projects after the leaves fall, to the relief and with blessing of the owner of the Great Orchard, my husband and I are going is to tackle removing the mistletoe from the trees there. You might think this is not something a Druid would do, but sorry. Mistletoe is a parasite and has already killed one tree in the small orchard right next door to us. I really think they ought to remake the classic image of the Druid with the golden sickle taking the mistletoe from the oak and replace it with a Druid with a golden chainsaw removing the stuff before it kills the tree. If you are all warm and fuzzy about mistletoe I suggest you read about how it grows and what it does to the trees infests; you might begin to think about it differently.

Our orchard tending is one reason that I think Pomona arrived. Even my husband who thinks I have way too many altars is nonetheless quite happy for there to be a shrine to Pomona where we can both engage with it. The photo of it here is not in place it will ultimately reside, that is still to be figured out, though I have some ideas.

Grief Like Water

Grief like water
breaks
on the shore of the soul,
a storm of emotion crashing
from the deep sea of emptiness
pain heaving and coursing,
pitching the heart,
battering reality,
undermining normality.

Grief like water
surges
in spate ripping through
the exposed flank of the self
uprooting any attempts to hold it back,
unable to restrain emotions too strong,
constrain nearly unendurable pain
of remembered words of love unspoken,
of recalled words of frustration unretractable.

Grief like water
trickles
in dribs and drabs
when it feels as if too many tears
have been shed already,
a catch in the throat
an unexpected and unguarded thought
at the echo of absent presence at the sharp
edge of longing.

Grief like water
laps
at the threshold of awareness softly
frothing on the grains of memory and loss,
arriving and retreating,
ebbing and flowing
the tide of surviving,
the unrelenting motions
in the rhythm of being
and life carrying on.

Grief like water
meanders
flowing through the empty days and nights
after the losing, beyond the parting,
until in months or years it comes into the delta,
the estuary, the outlet
of life into further living
where softened it becomes a gentle aching
assuaged by time.

Home

Today is a special day for me. Seventeen years ago I arrived in the UK never to leave again.

After I fed the cats at a little after six this morning I went up to my study and looking out the window I saw in the field behind the house across the road a sight that brought tears to my eyes.

The Mists of Avalon – the wisps of misty cloud that rest in the early morning on the Somerset Levels this time of year. I was overwhelmed by the knowing, deep and resonate well beyond mere knowledge, that living in the house we moved to four weeks ago was finally home.

Feelings of intense gratitude swept through me. After living in places from one end of the UK to the other,from the Devon coast to the farther reaches of Orkney, I am a last home.

Home. The place of my deepest truest belonging. Home. The space to set down proper roots. Home. Where I will welcome friends from all over to share with me the magic and wonder of Avalon. Home. Where the dining table will see feastings. Home. Where I will at last know the settled rootedness I need to do my work. To write and to create. To be fully myself. Home. Haven. Shelter. Harbour. Anchor. Home.

Therefore, on this anniversary day of my coming to the UK and at last having come my settling place, I say to the gods, ancestor and spirits of the land who brought us, led us, here to this wondrous place: Thank you. I will endeavour to the best of my ability to fulfil the tasks you set before me.

There is joy. And there will be more.

Packing to Move House

We are in the process of packing to move house. For me it’s my tenth move in nearly 17 years, for my husband it’s his first in as many.

I have more little, fiddly things to carefully wrap, preparing them to be boxed up until the place for them is ready. These will not be the things in the house, but in what I am calling my Sacred Shed at the bottom of the garden. I am hopeing it will be in place by Winter, it will be insulated and have power so myself and my special bits will be comfortable.

What is striking is finding some little thing that sets off a cascade of memories, some happy, some sad, some bittersweet. People and pets gone, dreams shattered and ways convoluted to get to where I am now, where I firmly believe I am meant to be. The ways have not been straightforward, many twists and seeming doubling backs, yet here I am.

The place we are going is wonderful in a magical place, the place we most wanted to be but had begun to doubt we would end up. Nevertheless, we perservered and in the end we were led to the place, or the place opened up for us. I am not willing to take a stand one way or the other as to which it was – that is was is all that really matters.

So, the response is one of deep and abiding gratitude. Even in the midst of all the upheaval for us and Wyntre, Nocturne and Purfling. We are all a bit fragile and on edge, off our feed a bit and due to the weather a bit hot and bothered. As I wade through packing paper and weave around the boxes of books, bits and bobs (I’ve not gotten to the crockery yet!) I hold in my mind the house we are going to.

In leaving here I give thanks for the shelter is has been for me these past two and a half years, for my husband, his late wife and their family in the nearly fifteen years before my arrival. It has seen its share of angst and sorrow before my arrival, as well as joy and hope. It is now time to pass this house on to another family as a place to make their memories and live their life in what I trust will be joy and gladness. I wish the same things for us as we move into our new home. I trust is will be a haven of calm and a safe harbour of all who pass through its doors. I trust we will live long and prosper between its walls and know when we leave it that we have honoured ourselves and the space to the fullest extent within our powers.

It will be guarded and warded by the spirit animals who companion us, and by the gods who have called us into their service, and the spirits of the land whom we will seek to honour by living gently and working with them in the years ahead.

Now, I’d best take up my tape gun, wonderful invention, grab some more packing paper and see if I can figure out the best way to pack the rest of my study and sacred space this weekend.

The Piano has to Die

It is an odd feeling, sending a musical instrument to its doom.

I had not really bonded with the piano I got a couple of years ago for free, well plus moving costs. For a lot of that time it was in the hallway covered over whilst the house redecorating continued. Last year I moved it from the hall to the snug. A lot of pushing and shoving on my part was required.

Still it was not like my Jemima, the old Blüthner whom I gave to a friend with a dance studio two moves ago. This piano did not give me its name. It lived in a house, the one my husband and I are moving from, that did not like music. I havep layed my concertina now and then, but only for a few days running and never in a consistent way. The drums remained silent because we live in a city. Nor was I able to overcome the treacle energy here to bring my double bass out of the corner.

So, the old piano, who did not have the pedigree to make it financially viable to refurbish to sell on, was taken away four days ago to die. It should be able to donate its ivory keys to an instrument that is getting a makeover, at least I hope so. But the instrument that has been in my house all these months reached the end of its life.

Before the removers arrived that morning, I played all the keys. I played the white ones up and the black ones down. Then I played notes and chords. When I sensed the piano had had its last song, had sung its last, I let the final notes fade.

It is bittersweet because musical instruments have a soul of a sort and this one’ left as the last note faded. I knew because I told it the fate that awaited it. I was glad that its soul flew with the last notes.

Farewell. Your last note’s song escaped into the aether and will resonate somewhere, always.

Farewell, sweet musics.