Tuesday, 11 September 2012


      Oh these pensive days!  At the end of them, if there is an end, there is only the absence of thought.  Every strand of reasoning and every hue of emotion has fled and maybe not much is remembered, the way it is when a song is over.  The mind moves like the sea, sometimes churning and frothing, other times calm... only the sea is greater.

But there are places, heron-haunted, where the air is big and fresh and blows through thoughts and moods and lifts them up, up, far from earth.  Bee-buzzing, plant-perfumed places of tansy, snap-dragons, and sweet cicely.

Forget yourself and talk in a loud voice if you like... but who needs words? There are blackberries, rowan berries, rose hips, and the first of the bright autumn leaves.

And then there are minnows at the calm edge of the river, eating the crumbs of your lunch; a crow and a heron that sit together in silent, sheltered places, and fly off together up the length of the river, loudly protesting your interloping; the green light off a low-flying cormorant's wings; a congress of swans and gulls and ducks in session on the river stones where the current runs fast; the quick legs of spiders in their many autumn webs counting down the seconds until the frosts come crawling in.  

Scotch pine, holly, oak, and ivy.  And crisp September breezes against weak, honeyed light. 

I have a love of lists, I treasure them.  At school I studied, among other things, Old Irish poetry, and I think it was maybe this tradition's great tendency toward cataloguing and alliteration that first drew me in.  A sentence might last a page, with all of the things it enumerates artfully arranged and the sounds sweeping on hypnotically with the reading of them until the richest tapestry has been created in the mind.  

So though English does not allow for that kind of poetry, I hope by naming a few of the things I have found on my rambles, to bring them back and hold them up to you, each word a sort of charm, so that you might have a little of the feeling that you have been out walking where great birds sweep and croak. 


  1. "each word a sort of charm"

    it is exactly like that!
    thank you :)

  2. Lovely necklace of charming words and images... especially love the hair and flower. Happy turnings of autumn.

  3. "And there are places, heron haunted" -- what a great phrase. Beautiful.

  4. I did have that feeling by reading the words you wrote! What a marvelous post.

  5. You make lovely lists, 'the quick legs of spiders in their many autumn webs counting down the seconds until the frosts come crawling in' being my favourite. (We have huge numbers of spiders in many varieties here at Ty Isaf, which is OK because I have a soft spot for them.)

    I know Himalayan Balsam is an interloper and is considered a pest, but it's so hard not to tickle the fat pendant seeds until they pop, catapulting their cargoes far and wide with the energy released when their carapaces split into hectic, springy coils. I fear I wouldn't be able to walk that path through your last photograph without tickling a few!

  6. Thanks everyone, it is really lovely to hear these things!

    And Clive, that's so interesting to know about the Himalayan Balsam. I tend mostly to know the plants that I would also have come across in Canada (there are a surprising lot of them!) and I guess there weren't too many of these plants where I used to live. But how tempting to know that they can explode, shooting seeds in every direction. Now that I know, I am not sure that I will be able to resist just having one little go at busting one! If they have to be an invasive species, at least they are pretty and apparently delicious, I suppose. And at least they are not giant hogweed! Wishing you (and your spiders) all the best!