I've just returned home from a small trip to Cumbria, staying with friends, a journey taken to attend a conference at Preston. The conference focus was on animist understandings of landscape and I had the joy of listening to Gordon the Toad's presentation, and others one from Graham Harvey and Linda Sever, as well as sharing some of my own thoughts and words on North European Shamanism and some of the other-than-human people with whom we share landscape, homescape, space and whose time and consciousness may sometimes merge with ours.
Having brought 'The Wild Geese' - Violet Jacob's poem - into the preparation for my talk, I heard the calling voices overhead and looking out saw the largest skein I've seen for years. Then on the journey down there was a flight of lapwings, with later a wonderful joining of flocks of waders merging with the swarm shifting shape in the air, crows playing with the wind, and one single swan in flight. Then rain, of course, lots of it. Today, in Cumbria, again I heard the crying geese, and the skein going over was nearly as large as the one seen before I left. The journey back was about sun and showers, and colours, the changing greens, golds, russets and rich browns of autumn, with soaring buzzards in many areas of the Borders and Lothians, though no geese.
Somehow this all reminded me that this blog has been neglected - since the last addition I have moved house, town, and indeed country, going back to my 'roots', and the summer has involved amongst other pursuits starting to make a new garden, and watching the wildlife come to it from the woods behind my house. Rather than writing about places, I have been shaping my own place here, and trying to listen to the landscape and learn the patience that gardening demands, as I learn or re-learn the movement of the seasons on how this little piece of earth responds to the whole earth's turning, and the movements of air and water above and within it.