Showing posts from February, 2015

Owl And Leaf

Friday Afternoon:
In daylight, I saw the owl. White, the colour of ghosts and beginnings; deep in purpose, flying over a road.
Tired, I was, but in warm clothes. The sky was rinsed blue, the roads wet.
How the old car still rolls is mysterious.
But, there I was, driving rust through road-spray, struck admirably dumb.

Saturday Afternoon:
Rain span out from the edge of a storm.
From inside my polytunnel bubble I hear it.
I am smiling, tidying up, making ready.
My running shoes mud-sodden, left on the porch step. My legs feel good.
Earth browned hands untangle roots.
Here and there budlets burst from a stem.
Here: peeping from a pot, the pretty faces of winter pansies.  Put into my pocket rich leaves for soup.

Spring Fortitude

What a show this is, the Weather Spectacular!
Hail strikes and sheets of lightening - gripped we are in the drama of it - agog for thunder which rolls elsewhere - where did that thunder go?
And when the sun strikes up the wind cuts ice cold through unwary bones.
And then rain, heavy  rain that would flatten a rainbow. How can water be so cold and not ice? The sky so dark and not night?
And if there were a time to venture tender petals, would this be it?
A time for buds to birth from bark?
But here they are: vulnerable, with fortitude. The miracle of reoccurrence. 

Sadness And Brightness

This urge to write is to let words follow a course.

To think of Granma Grace, 85 years collected, armfuls of flowers, roomful of family, all fetching more flowers till the vases are full. Sat, adored. Lauded. Looking at her cards.

To think of home where a crocus appears in the lawn and rats are infiltrating the compost. We are outside, clearing up, working on deterrents, finding a blocked drain, a wall of calm spiders.
And one starling, deceased.
Mr calls me to it, thinking it is injured, breathing: it is not. A sharp wind ruffles the feathers, makes illusory movement.

To think of Dear Old Clarice: how like a hedge bird she was, the same spark about her, the same work ethic, the same amused head tilt.

We had come home to find an ambulance parked outside her house.
‘Did she fall again?’
‘No,’ the paramedic says. He has a perfect pitch of calm. They must wait for the family.
The sky warm blue; the air blows ice.

We busy ourselves making space. Drag out a pile for the tip, a pile o…


I do not want to get out of bed.
It is the right weather for hiding in bed with a book.
Mr does not want to get out of bed. He is sure he has more sleep to attend to.

But if your Granddaughter requests to see you fly, out of bed you get.

Dog does not want to get into the car.
What if there is a vet involved? An injection?

Reluctance and rain, that’s how the day begins.

To the Eden Project we go, park up, send Girl, Grandchild  and Dog to the viewing platform with all the bags.
Mr and me jump on a bus to the Skywire shed office and hand over cash for wrist bands. We sign forms to say we are unlikely to die of an existing complaint.
(Nothing on the form about a restrictive fear of heights, luckily.)
We are put into harnesses and weighed in kilos, which I only use to buy sugar for brewing and begin to calculate how many gallons worth am I?
The safety talk is simple: Do Not Touch Anything.

Meanwhile Jenny takes the van to the landing site. They will transport bags for you, so Girl’s sh…

Everything Is Painting Pictures

A phone call comes, brings the news in low voice. We knew he was old, of course, not immortal, but our picture of the world has an Uncle Den as a building has a foundation stone. With his passing, a puzzling gap appears. We have stories, of course, like how he loved to paint, he liked rum, he wasn’t so keen on the gout; we paint him back with our words, with our gratitude. He knew the world before we came to it. He knew the world at war. He knew to be kind. He was happy. He was a grand and gentle role model for a flock of children.

Into the car, we go. We fit one granddaughter, one godson. Find, at a train station, one son. Gather at a house; children are spilling everywhere. Sun shines, draws us out. There’s the usual comedy of one car following the other and being lost at the traffic lights and a car park reunion. Tiny ones are strapped to a pram, they kick their legs, sometimes each other. The older three bounce like Tiggers, all the way to the ice rink. We can hold them still for…


Morning sun becomes more than light. Rays of warmth reach sleep soaked limbs. Land mist shimmers.
Daffodils begin their yellow crop, even a crocus has been seen.
Spring runs like a pup through the legs of Old Winter: Old Winter laughs at the circular twist.
It has been the purpose of this dark season all along: to nurture life, bring forth spring.

Late evening, along the line where mist becomes fog, we are driving. The world seems splashed with pale watery paint.
Warmth, we speak of it: we feel it still, this gold promise.
Mist fans out, plumes and plumes of otherworldliness.

Six thousand three hundred and thirty miles from here my brother and his wife settle in to their new apartment. They have other news to share.
A picture of an ultrasound, of forming bones, light as butterfly limbs.
Tiny thing, welcome. It seems to us we feel the warm beat of you and the distance is nothing at all.

New Shoes And The Unsurprising Pheasants

There is an opportunity for extra sleep this morning, even if the ability is lacking.
Sit: at the box room window, watching coffee steam, watching starlings fly through mist, watching fields pastel-green under frost.
A pigeon waddles; that one would suit a bonnet; a crow struts; a top hat candidate.
In a box, left open on the bedroom windowsill, a pair of purple shoes wait for their inaugural run, wait for the ground to melt.
In the eaves house sparrows fuss with nest materials.
From hedges other birds sing: all but the pheasants who hold their shrieks, their wingwhurs, their comically paced walking, for now.
Perhaps they are watching the horizon appear: a series of block shapes undraped as the mist wanders elsewhere.
The sky could be porcelain, this morning.

Bright new shoes glow in the grass, looking good, running clumsy.  It is more learning how to run than actual running.  Every muddy puddle, every mud patch, the part-frozen wetlands of the lower fields that spray up mud-frappĂ©,…

Wide Eyes For Everything

Hills are okay.
They have an easy goal: get to the top, eye the view, then it’s downhill, legs follow gravity. On the flat, goals are the next tree, the next corner, always a succession, not like the one easy hilltop. Flat running is not my favourite.
Today, between markers of gate and tree, the road is obstacled with iced mud, the air uncomfortably chill. I lose grip, underfoot and in mind, breathing cold irregular air, shoulders tensed solid. Unsure if I am shivering or shaking, a screaming noise arrives, or I think it does; I am dropped in fear and sinking.
At the point where sanity seems to have deserted me, Dog leaps into the hedge, flushes out a fox with a mad rabbit in its jaws. Fox drops Rabbit, Dog is making a decision, Rabbit runs, right across my boggled path, into a hole, Fox streaks up the lane, Dog chooses: she chases Fox; returns shortly, tail in a wag spin.
‘Can you do that every time I doubt myself?’ I ask her.
We round the corner and run. Dog has her nose to the h…

Snow Moon And Furniture

On the day of the Snow Moon we bring the lime tree indoors. 
In the polytunnel plant pots were huddled and coddled; still some had frozen; the broad bean was stricken, it may not recover. The lime had dropped fruit and leaf.
Our house is not capacious. Fitting the tree in makes a puzzle of the front room furniture: for if the tree goes here, where does the table go? And if the table goes there, does the sofa fit?
Dog curls on the sofa for refuge before she gets brave and in the way.
She finds that, in its new position, there is room to accommodate her habit of sneaking under the table to look out for dropped food. A mat is laid under the plant saucer to keep outdoor dirt from the carpet: she is determined to lie on it.
Shooed back to the sofa she keeps an eye on us, an eye on the interloper.

Outside Dog and I have the run of three frozen fields. Sun throws light, it breaks into a thousand icy splinters, right under our feet. Every old puddle changes; there are micro landscapes, mi…

The View Before Breakfast

Snow dabs the contours of a squinting face, fleeting, fleecy, light: the fingerprints of a curious element. Footsteps press markers around the lanes, leave an easy pace of clue.
We took the longer route today.
Mr is cycling, another circuit that will cross with this.  Will he make it back unscuffed?
Dog pads at any pace she pleases.
Under the snow flat ice hides.
At Treniffle we see his tyre tracks, they make a snake print.
Dog follows scent clues, down the steep dip, up the long steep other side.
Slowly running is easier, should that be a surprise?
Not in theory but this is not theory, it is experience.
Laughter flows openly, it curls warm and visible and here is the very top of the hill, here is the view to stop for. Dog sniffs, pulls a face like smiling.
The tyre tracks pull in under our feet. Exactly here.

At home, coffee brews; heat seeps from the Rayburn’s bright coals. Mr fries two eggs.
‘Did you go round the triangle?’ He shakes the pan.
‘Did you see my footprints?’
He nods, re…