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When the fields are brown

There is a sense of quiet settling across the once-busy fields, now shorn of their wheat, barley and rape. The flowers in the ditches are no longer as riotous or plentiful in colour and variety and the birdsong is somewhat muted.

The cereal harvest is gathered in and there is a sense in the air of that pause that comes after frenetic work to get a project completed by deadline, that moment of relief that it is now done and the opportunity to take a moment to breathe and enjoy the sense of completion. There is satisfaction in the air but also a kind of melancholy, knowing that spring has gone and summer is nearing its end, the days still have the upper hand but they are now perceptibly giving way to the nights.

But the year is not yet done with colour and fragrance and song. Still rosebay willowherb, knapweed and tufted vetch are abundant in the ditches, the set-aside is full of speedwell and scarlet pimpernel and butterflies still flit from flower to flower. But this not just a tale of…
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Relaxing river rippling

One man and his dog - and the healing power of nature

She’s staring intently at the ground, eyes fixed, body rigid, ears up, head slightly cocked to one side, the occasional swish of her tail brushing the dust.
I’m looking back towards our small white fluffy terrier-like dog from further up the farm track, having realised she is out of sight - she’s usually well ahead of me, jumping through hedges or grass, or nose hoovering up smells along the path or verges. But not this time. Something has grabbed her attention, and held it, so I wander back slowly to have a look. She doesn’t move. I peer at the spot that seems to have her transfixed. Nothing. What is she staring at? I peer closer and there, hidden beneath the early blades of grass is a tiny, wiggling, furry red bottom poking out of a hole in the earth. It’s our first bee of the year. We both stay watching, transfixed by this miracle of nature - tiny and magnificent.


And this experience sums up the nature (excuse the pun) of the following weeks and months as I use this sudden gift of re…

The Power of Small

I've always said, whenever asked, that environmentalism is more about saving people than the planet; the planet is perfectly capable of looking after herself. The Earth has gone through many transformations over her lifecycle and will continue to do so into the future. Whether that future includes humans is, in part, up to us, and in part dependent upon cosmic forces beyond our control (whatever we do, a meteor strike would wipe us all out anyway).  In political circles and the media, there seems to be little interest in the environment. And, frankly, in a capitalist society, until saving the planet makes money, business is not going to be that interested either. And yet, much has been achieved. Renewable electricity generation has increased dramatically in recent years, recycling has gone up, the number of plastic bags going into landfill has fallen. Environmental issues are taught at schools - especially at primary school level. The government's attempt to sell Britain'…

Happy Solstice!

The forecast was cloudy with sunny intervals, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect as I set out early this, very warm, morning to celebrate the Summer Solstice sunrise. It was cloudy but broken by slivers of clear blue lightening sky that grew as I walked the path through the fields that leads directly towards the summer solstice sunrise. The wheat, still soft and feathery, and more blond than golden, wafted in the gentle breeze, heads bowed by ripening grains.

At last, I found a spot which felt welcoming and was in good view of the horizon and set about creating the space, giving thanks and making offerings (bread, a peach and some peppermint tea), and welcomed the sun as he rose behind a slim stretch of cloud across the horizon, then peeking out above the cloud into view. The timing could not have been better nor more captivating. A perfect moment in a perfect space in place and time, surrounded by birdsong. Beautiful.

After a few moments of contemplation and offering thanks a…

What is magic? Part 1 - First musings

Magic. Does it work? Oh yes. Of that, I have no doubt. Does it always work out the way we expect? Not necessarily. Do I use it? Yes and no; never and always. But what is magic? The magic I do is all in the mind (no paraphernalia) but is perhaps better described as active prayer. Prayer in the sense of asking a deity to do something for you is what I call passive prayer - and sometimes we get what we ask for, but mostly not, because that kind of prayer generally involves too much asking and not enough listening. Magic is prayer in which we use our imagination as a channel and our emotion as the fuel to manifest what we need. And, most importantly, we listen, we listen with our whole being - we establish a relationship with what is more than our small and illusory egos in order to bring about a particular outcome, through us, in the world around us. It changes us so that we can act in a way that effects the changes we need. Magic is a two-way relationship.

In order to effect those chang…