Life’s a beach


Sticks, logs, salted beams, tiny shells, great clumps of seaweed: people, places, events. Storm-whipped breakers and ragged gusts in place of time and chance – apt.
Dark mounds strewn down the years, the sandy strip at dawn stretched out, as if to walk it until dusk; else cut down at midday, gulls’ pickings.
A black shape flashes by, takes my breath: seaweed. Then the beach lifts whole, is hurled, blasting all. Collar to the storm I edge ahead, eyes clenched, searching the biting, thrusting world.
A whale!
Dark, deep flesh, singular, silent. Beset by a galaxy of grains.
One eye to the sky, one to the sandy grave, gravity has wrenched it from the waves, cast up, laid low, headlong, side-on.
Alone I cannot save it. Only wait for the sea. Pray.


Cows and clouds and angel hair

OK, they are bulls – fans of Joni Mitchell will be equally outraged either way by my unpoetic license with her lyrics. I like these spiderwebby clouds, seen here over a friends farm where I was working today. Hard to really get the effect in a photo. Soon after this a norwester gale came up and really blew away the cobwebs. Another pic before that:

It happens to blackbirds

I’ve heard it said the future can be whatever you make it if you put in the effort. Try telling that to the blackbird couple that made this nest. (OK, they won’t understand, but anyway..) Unfortunately by the look of the last remaining chick just before the nest became empty, I doubt it flew out of there. But the nest is beautiful. How do they do that? A little unconventional perhaps, on the concrete outside the tearoom.. Maybe they had a bad experience with a tree? They put a lot of effort into those chicks too. Check the other post with poor mum in the pouring rain, babies warm and dry underneath. Anyhow, seems there won’t be fledglings this season. So much effort just to produce some feathery compost or a quick takeaway meal for a passing cat. But if its like that for a blackbird, how can we pretend that people are always the authors of their own misfortune? That we owe no one anything, they all had their chance? One morning it was cold and the last chick was there alone shivering, I thought, oh no, where’s mum? I can’t rescue the chick, can I? How long will it suffer if she’s gone? Should I even put it out of its misery? Why couldn’t it just disappear in the night? Then she came back and my conscience rested. When the chick finally did disappear it was much easier, I saw nothing, whatever nasty thing happened was hidden by the dark when I was nowhere around. Like some child in a slum on the other side of the world, or where shells explode and adults lie bleeding, children wait in vain for them to return. No one’s life is in their own hands alone. But we can make a difference.

Majesty of midges

I was sitting in the bathroom when I noticed a tiny speck hovering nearby. It appeared alive, but it was so small I could hardly tell if it was a tiny fly or a spider hanging from the ceiling. It was in fact a fly. An impulse to clap it between my hands flashed in my mind, then passed. If it had been a mosquito probably I would have. I have been known to spare mosquitos in philosophical moments, but not often. Then it occured to me – imagine if human beings were the only living creatures known. If we were surrounded only by inanimate natural and manmade objects. How precious would that tiny hovering creature be! I would be overwhelmed by a desire to catch it, then horrified that I might hurt it. It would infinitely surpass the most sophisticated manmade object – and indeed it did. This tiny being that I might destroy by a whim. How unthinkably marvelous and majestic is our world, and all its creatures!