A Cluster of Galaxies

This year, perhaps because of the heat, cow parsley has dominated the wildlife portion of the garden. Through the viewfinder, late in the day, I saw their flat heads, arranged at all angles, against the dark of the hedge and I saw a cluster of galaxies, higgledy-piggledy, white on dark. The Universe, it seems, reflects its patterns on every scale.



A Long Visit From the Fire-Spirit

I'm not sure whether I have fallen in love with the desert, or if the desert has fallen in love with me. Perhaps the latter, because its spirit has followed me home. The earth in the Night Planted Orchard has cracked open and the cracks are so deep that I cannot find a stick long enough to touch the clay below. The apples are small but their sweetness sings in the branches. The new mulberry has decorated itself in crumbled leaves and has surely died. The three trees that we planted in the cold, wet, late spring - because they were bargains and we would surely have a poor summer of course - are on life support. The heat is so exhausting that my clauses fall into each other's paths like wilted leaves on a wilted vine. The pond is a dusty wallow beloved of the blackbirds. I spent weeks digging a new drain for the orchard because in the winter it becomes a quagmire at its lower end. It gapes at me like a dessicated beggar and laughs like a loon at my folly. Foxes, badgers and muntjac share the water that we have put in the tree under some eternal truce. Butterflies fill every bush. Columns of whites dance like flames. Tortoiseshells hide where peacocks parade themselves. Commas confused by the early blackberries bask like little burning embers. The blues are in short supply. The gatekeepers are more richly coloured than I have ever seen. The dragonflies are as fat as sparrows and we spotted a rare male metallic green banded demoiselle at the riverside, bigger, fatter and braver than its plain blue brothers. The lawn is as thirsty as I am, running out of moisture as I run out of commas and dashes and colons: the grass has surely died.



English Summer Traditions

The spring has been labile with wet, wind and weak sun. Now we have a spell of fine weather and that has brought a flush of temporary traffic lights – three sets this morning – and eighty four rose bushes in full bloom on a fifteen mile journey.



Whistling the Wind

It is late and I whistle for the Hunter to come back in for bed. He ignores me the first time I call, snuffling after some scent. But the wind answered. A zephyr moved up from the fence where the Hunter was still conducting his investigations. The wind came around the shrubbery, crossed in front of me then came up the trees on the right. It ruffled my hair and fell still. I shivered, deep and strong, touched by something elemental. The breeze died at my feet, but I had no treat to give it.

I wonder what it wanted?


The Hunter and the Cone of Shame

The Hunter has an insect bite on his posterior. Whatever the provenance he's been chewing at it and it's driving him - and us - to distraction. He's a vain sort of dog at times and I'm quite convinced that the sight of a splendid lump on his bum has made him self-conscious. So we resorted to a conical collar to stop him getting at it. This, clearly, was the ultimate indignity and he stared at me accusingly for a long time.

He refused to go out until it was dark. Then, to his immense satisfaction, he made a discovery. His collar is a megaphone, and his bark - already much bigger than his bite - is amplified. He ran to the fence, faced the long garden, and set forth a series of deep, intensely loud, intensly macho barks which terrified me if no one else. Birds fled the trees. Cats backed carefully into the bushes and slipped away into the night. Every fox for a mile ran away in a low scurry. Even the wind grew silent. 

The hunter wagged his tail, which reminded him of his indignity, so he trotted back the house and past me, huffing.