Wild Night

Sat in bed with a John LeCarre and a sleepy tom cat: the dish washer made an unfamiliar squeezing noise on its energy saving cycle in the kitchen downstairs . The cat pricked up his ears, the noise was outside, was outside the window in the dark.

I have heard herons call harsh overhead at night and once a saucer faced barn owl nearly brushed my cheek as I leaned out to admire the stars.

I opened the window and the sound was loud, high and ethereal. The sound was in waves, something was passing over head and then again and again. Finally the wonderful calls were fading towards the church in the distance.

I have been known to rail against technology and it’s intrusive, reductive nature, but tonight I loved it as a bird call app allowed me to confirm that the calls were cranes before the sound had faded from my memory.

Cranes migrating in the moonlight over my cold muddy garden. Cranes calling constantly to one another as they beat amongst the winter clouds in unknown number. Cranes leaving the cold north for the warm south.

I returned to the cat with their wild freedom ringing in my ears.

When the leaves are gone…

When the leaves are gone you can see the shape of the land,

When the leaves are gone, only wood can hide you,

When the leaves are gone there is no flounce, no pretense,

When the leaves are gone the air moves freely and the dance is over:

For a while.

The last taboo

It used to be that sex was the thing no one talked about and now not talking about it is considered weird, but still no one wants to talk about death. My theory is that somehow we consider that just by thinking or talking about it, this will make it more likely to happen. Well, just like taxes it is the only inevitable thing in life and I do think about the practicalities of it occasionally.

I don’t want my last action to be pollution of the earth, or sky so I am delighted to find out about Dutch mushroom coffins that turn your body into compost swiftly and with style!

I also love that the company calls purchasers of their idea ” future trees”.

The future really can be green!

Here is an article to

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/11/17/europe/loop-mycelium-mushroom-coffin-eco-funeral-spc-intl/

Sit back?

The dahlias are dug up. The gladioli that just out flowered the first frost, but never put on any weight around the corm, are drying in the sitting room and hoping that the cat won’t wee on them.

The pumpkins are now safe in the cellar. I thought the cat had weed on one of them, but in fact I had maligned the poor cooped up beast and the unexpected moisture was just the result of rot. The other pumpkins are fine and soup will soon be made.

The last beetroot are being eaten cold with vinegar and flower seeds are being distributed to any one that I can persuade to take them.

It may seem time to sit back and do nothing as the year rolls in, but there are vines and roses to prune; bird feeders to fill; pine needles to sweep and that bag of onion sets that is about to sprout, to be finally planted out.

“Haa, haa “, crow the ravens as they pair up in the cooling November air.

Small World.

There are so many environmental problems facing the world that I have to admit to feeling often overwhelmed . The news gives us the big picture and our own eyes and ears show us the reality in our own backyard. My safe place is the garden and so I nurture it and I celebrate it, but it is so very small .

I can’t even protect the hedgehog that feeds in it, or the blackbird that sings over it, as they need more space than I can ever provide . When they leave my garden they can be strimmed or shot or just go hungry. The moths that I identify so diligently need places to pupate and leaves to eat. The red kite that soars overhead needs voles to eat and the voles need rough ground to burrow in and the bats that weave the night together, need old trees to sleep in and safe roofs to bring their babies up in.

The sky and the earth do not belong to everybody, what ever magical thinking we may indulge in. The earth can be covered in concrete, sprayed with poisons and ploughed to dust. The sky can be emptied of the trees that should be swaying in it and the clouds can be full of unbreathable pollution.

So, shall I just plant taller hedges? Stay sane by staying small? Plug my ears to the sound of encroaching construction, chain saws and crop sprayers?

I have started with my husband and very knowledgeable neighbours to catalogue every hedge and tree in the village . We hope this might eventually stop the grubbing up and chopping down that happens on daily basis in the name of tidiness and profit.

We have to have faith . That is all we have.