Monday, 22 September 2014


The year continues to turn - between the inhale and the exhale of the breath of life there is a moments stillness and in it today a winters-coming coldness in the air.  The birds have turned to look inwards to the ancient ancestral maps of interior stars that guide them on their migratory flights, they follow threads that are part of the warp and weft of their very being.  Most of them have gathered and gone on the long autumn flight that will take them far from here.

Having fattened their bellies and preened their feathers in readiness.

I love this time of year (I love every time of year - let's face it) and it seems I am not alone in this - almost everyone I know has proclaimed at some point in the last few weeks that this is their favourite time of year:  The soft September mornings,  half hidden and only half awake.

The seemingly endless bounty of the hedgerows,

Mushroom gathering in the fields and woodlands and the still blazing sun of short but perfect afternoons.

Chanterelles, - I've never been lucky enough to find these for myself.  These were a gift from a friend who guards the secret of their location so closely that apparently even his best friend will only be told of it upon the mushroom gatherer's death bed!

I have found lots of delicious Parasol Mushrooms and the usual Field and Horse Mushrooms.
We've even had our own figs - grown in a huge pot in the very sheltered yard behind our house.

I've come across some never-before-seen-by-my-eyes marvels in the fields just recently.  I had no idea that slugs mated in September!

Today is the Autumn Exquinox, the time of 'reckoning' they say. Time to tally the books, settle the accounts.  Time to feel the balance of the year; half way between the light and the dark, between life and death, between the tick and the tock of the planetary clock.

 Time also for our own migration, for turning inward. Time to stoke the fires, inner and outer, and to create:  Art, stories, songs, anything.  Time to count our blessings.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Dylan, Son Of The Sea

On Wednesday we went fishing.

Or rather more accurately, Fergus went fishing and I went along as the paparazzi.  Tootling about on the rocks pointing my camera at everything that would stay still long enough to be photographed and a few things that wouldn't.

I wasn't the only appreciative audience he had, there were gulls a-plenty hoping for a catch.

I love the smell of the sea, the way the air is full of salt and seaweed and magical tales of mermaids and Selkies or far away places and pirates treasure.   We felt incredibly blessed when Dylan, Son of The Sea, popped his head out of the water to see what we were up to.

In the most ancient stories of these lands - preserved in the collections of stories that have come to be known as The Mabinogion (a must-read for anyone who likes a good Myth)  - Dylan was the first of the two sons 'born at one birth' to Arianrod (and there are plenty of tales to be told about that too).  He and his brother Lleu are generally seen as being symbolic of darkness and light and all the powers that are held their-in.  It's the dark depths of the sea that I both love and fear.

Dylan was named 'Son of The Sea 'or  Son of The Wave' and no sooner did he have his name than he dived into the waters and swam like the most agile fish any man knew of.  To give a thing it's name in Celtic mythology is to give it it's power.

It is said that if a woman wants a Selkie man for her groom she must weep seven tears into he sea, and there are reasons a-plenty, it would seem, for wanting a Selkie man, for they are said to be devastatingly handsome and generous and considerate lovers.

There are stories for all over these islands about fishermen who see Selkie women dancing on the rocks and hide their seal-skin so that they are forced to remain on land and marry them.  Usually these tales end with the woman finding her skin and going back to the sea, perhaps leaving him, if he's lucky, with a child.

Here's a telling of the tale that I found on YouTube.

The Sea was very generous that day, giving us three shiny, iridescently beautiful Mackerel.

So we headed, happy, up the hill with our precious haul.

There were three hungry people to share the mackerel for supper and hearts and bellies full to the brim we all agreed that there's nothing quite as delicious as fresh caught fish and home grown vegetables eaten in the last rays of evening sunshine in the last days of a golden summer.

This was clearly a sentiment shared by the menagerie who each made valiant attempts to persuade us that due to their extreme cuteness THEY should be the one to have the scraps.

Luckily there are three of them too.