May 2003 after an arts residency: Crwydro, with 7 other artists, 3 from Quebec.
Some of this addresses individuals, though who is not clear, this doesn’t mean I always sent it to them and I will not use full names.
Now you are back under the same sky a different place home and not the most recent home
As I write you will be loading the car and leaving
Hope you are home safe and the journey was easy in comfort quiet non snoring way
Home again home again separated out alone preparing for work lost lecture notes
I woke to realise instantly that I wouldn't see every one ’cept PB. It hurt somewhere in my body.
All walking away from the point taking our memories and bodies to other spaces, walking upstream, making choices about which fork to take wandering wondering where it will lead.
Spring light morning for the first morning someplace that is not where I was
Dreams full but unremembered
Huffing and puffing the fluffy time tick clock and it all just floats away in separate pieces on the wind, far and wide
Diary from another world
Blue glass sky with
Yellow traffic warden
13th on train, after Carmarthen (going to Caerdydd)
cormorant in a tree over a stream, Hendy-Gwyn.
'red, blue and yellow, the three primary colours should not be put together, especially on you'
'oh ........ well I only put my sweater on because I was cold.'
'Do you notice how the mud banks have a blue tinge? It must be a reflection. See. It's a reflection of something.'
'The sky I suppose.'
The man has a brief case it looks important.
Out comes a large plastic box. Inside the sandwich box are crisps, club biscuits, sandwiches. Then a flask of water, a china mug and a jar of instant tea.
bramble and buddleia tangle down an embankment. city pigeons under the railway bridge. wearing my green trousers, forgetting to check for traffic on side roads. stopping for huge flopsy pink sweet sharp roses, softly streaked in bright pink. wonder if the lime leaves are still soft enough to pop but they are high above my head so I don't know. blue sky cool wind on my arms. cars lorries cars cars cars.
leave 10 minutes later. some roads busier some quieter. can just smell the fresh morning in the fumes. quiet near the school, I can see and hear my swifts flying and crying. lime leaves thick, less of a pop. lunch in a fluorescent orange sandwich shaped box - quinoa, pumpkin seeds, hard goats cheese, lemon stuffed olives, crunch of salt.
Between Carmarthen & Hendy-gwyn on train
the ticket collector/checker smells of pickled onions, big time.
first silage cut. bridal hawthorns.
Rabbits in a field by a rounded hedge
Thoughts on disturbance after earlier conversation:
It is/was not the people, experiences, places that are/were disturbing in themselves, but my feelings, thoughts, emotions and body responses: that is, I disturb myself.
but this is not 'bad' ...
too much undisturbed can lead to stagnation and anyway didn't the frog disturb the pond - still before and still after, to show the stillness?
Mind you continually throwing in stones will delay the smooth sheen returning (though smooth to the eye is not the most satisfactory policy)
Though it be broken -
Broken again - still it's there:
The moon on the water.
As the cuckoo flies
It's singing stretches out:
Upon the water lies.
A flutter of breeze
And the trees shook down on me
Rain and snow showers
16th coppery sycamore with green showers of flowers. Campion, bluebell, garlic, stitchwort, cow parsley. Slow patchy may-blossom.
19th In deep grey rain, green and white hedgerows today, walking from town to college a long slow hill. Plenty of time to get wet to the skin, even with a yellow Pokamon umbrella with ears; white trousers become see through - dressed in linen and cotton coat. I wonder how I will feel when I stop walking and arrive inside. I could keep walking - discard my backpack of food, maybe even the umbrella. Where would I stop - would PB look for me what would happen to all my stuff at college my food by the roadside? Would the students care?
I then think of being a child rain on my skin then of meeting all of you - rather the anticipation of meeting. Remember the childhood/teenage trepidation of new people and places, frozen with fear. I knew how to talk of trees and flowers walks in wood on downs but people stuff was always beyond me (especially people my own age). I felt people, reacted to them but always as colour and texture which doesn't make for good conversation, does it?! It is said that being shy is arrogance - you don't allow for the generosity of others. Sometimes I label myself as a good communicator but I think that's in classrooms and meetings. I so want to know how other people experience/see the world/life.
Walking 6.30 pm: sharp blue sky above with windblown wisps of cloud, to west, north and east vast anvil storm clouds. The bank is a Pinky Way of campion. Yesterday before a violent storm I walked along the coast path, briefly, seeing the thrift scattered everywhere - how did they get to appear so fast? - some of the buds looked blood dipped. Further along sea bladder campions, tucked in more: 'Flowers are male, female or bisexual. Sepals are joined in a bladder like tube.' Oystercatchers bickering. Then heavy rain, forked lightening, dazzling rainbow, doubled and two slim repeats of indigo violet inside. Boiling clouds.
Standing waiting on street in Cardiff/Caerdydd
Sound of bicycle breaks
Smell of after-shave from man running to cash point machine on other side of the road
Piercing alarm from somewhere close. Stopped
Swallows sparrows jacadaws
Coffee after the café door across the road is opened
(car upon car)
door of newsagent's, bag caught against door knob
beeping of large vehicle reversing
keys/change in a man's pocket
two different music sounds from two cars going up & down
dustbin bags thunk rattle - dropped on pavement
starling lots of jacadaws
big skip lorry
(car upon car)
postman ringing post office door and jangles keys/change in his pocket door open
chaffinch; newsagents door (priest & newspapers)
(car car car car..)
zebra crossing beep; flat shoes with hard sole plastic carrier bag against leg
bus slowing down for stop
high heels and carrier bag
(cars always cars)
swifts robin newsagent's door one, two
post office door - latched, open close
postman keys, sack drops on floor; car door open close boot/trunk wheezes open clunks shut car starts quiet squeaks a little smells of petrol
The brambles that tangled last week have now a sprinkling of large white flowers. One dead pigeon, chest ripped open eyes closed peacefully. Did the heart & lungs burst free from the restricting rib cage?
Heavy sycamore blossom, wet in the city, lime/linden leaves folded under the weight of water.
Saw SC last night, back in the city where I always used to see him. Before. Different but same. Same but different.
3 hours on train and home to see laburnum hanging yellow, rowan and elder flowering, more may blossom, mist on Mynydd Preseli.
I'm still wondering whether to attempt a mad public transport visit north. What else is happening or is it just SC’s Panda in Blaenau? Around this time of year I get itchy feet and want to make journeys (I'm going to Spain but that doesn't really count) I may be setting an impossible task. How I get there in less than a day and a half is anyone's guess and my mission to find out...
Think of you all as I make molasses and maple syrup flapjacks, I think in Canada flapjacks are something else, but I'm sure you remember those oaty not burnt cakey things. Damp bank holiday Monday as I distract myself from mountains of paper work, accounts and general organising after 5 weeks of not attending to such things, and a pile of essays on modernity and modernism....
23rd I see the hill near swansea station, burnt black with mist on top creeping down and I think of BS. Why?
24th northwest slopes of Mynydd Carningli
Raven takes flight, wing tips spread
Dance with a wheatear
I bob he bobs I bob he bobs I bob he flies to look at me from another angle I bob he flies back and bobs
We continue our dance for some while in light rain
He suddenly flies away
I think he may have noticed the bluey scarf around my head, the black jacket, green trousers and my size and thought 'that's not a wheatear, I am being trifled with; that is some strange creature'
see cuckoo in may tree
25th Foeldrygarn, sun going down
Can make the sun set and rise again by moving. Surrounded by skylarks shimmering in newly blue sky. They create the space around the hill, the volume of the air.
Am I forming into a chrysalis?
The 3 weeks of Crwydro seem to have created a cocoon or shiny armour cover around me and soup inside: breaking down, flowing round, disorder, greatly disturbed.
I don't actually recall feeling like a caterpillar previously - eating discarding skin eating discarding skin etc but maybe I was and I just didn't know it. I wonder if I was green and sgwidgy or hairy and fearsome wriggly? Did anyone notice? I wonder if I'm a summer or a hibernating chrysalis.
Saw my first foxgloves opened and rosa canina.
Extra information on Blaenau, north wales: I'm still planning trip and wondering about it, bought a map and realised how close it was to all my childhood walking, of which I had a huge image of during Crwydro, so if I don't go now I WILL go soon. Up until the age of 9 we went regularly camping and walking, last year I found slides of such expeditions, there is one in particular of me in which I look so comfortable, at home if slightly dreamy but in that now kind of a way if you know what I mean. I had one moment during Crwydro that as I remember it I saw the same look on my face.... after hours of fighting and tumbling like children, boys v girls. We won, I was the one unwilling to give in. Then ambushed, nearly over, exhausted in last years leaves looking at sky your hand on my forehead, breathing, being.
27th Walk the road, the long way to Foeldrygarn; avoiding (the short route) where you have to crawl under electric fences into the mouths of snarling dogs, even more dodgy if you have a dog of your own with you. This is the way I’ve mostly walked from the age of ten. Then up the steep green lane towards the open mountain. Green lane banked high both sides with damp bluebells. Cuckoo. Rain coming in from the west. I’m above the blackbirds. Robins, chaffinch. Sun disappearing behind cloud, breeze building. Foxglove, stitchwort, campion, bluebells. Can see the sun shining far out on the sea, peachy. See a crow in the distance, 5 rooks fly over, swallows above.
28th. Pen Dinas. Bluebells, guillemots, squat may trees under whose shelter pink campions grow. At night the moan of the forage harvesters.
Dearest FM wishing you a very happy birthday, 10 more than mine: FIFTY –redblueyellowblackgreenwhitwellingtondrawingpaintingboggyfeetedbreathingsighinglaughingcryinggigglingsparklingdeepeyed -YEARS
Had a wondrous dream about you, it involved a performance by a woman with a small secret compartmented box - which I had to show her how to open. Then you made a cake version, a golden brown sandwiched (with raspberry jam and cream) sponge which you covered in white cherries, one red and honey coloured sugar - that would melt into some topping that came later. There was a single candle. Then you sliced one third off in a swift movement (big shiny knife), in which to make a cavity, a secret compartment. The rest gets a bit abstract, and there were many other bits but that is the important part!
Had walk yesterday by sea in dark with the crescent moon shining down on a gentle full tide and me.
Tomorrow I take an adventure, buses then the next day more buses to a windy maybe wettish place that I haven't been to in years. I haven't done adventures in years either.
SC is already there getting blown about - when he reads this he will be back home...
Such wild wind here also, blowing the rosa canina, foxgloves and honeysuckle that have come into flower. The rose scatters pale pink tipped hearts across the hedges, banks & paths.
8th Sunburnt knees discovered on a heavy grey rainy morning in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Sit in my tent in the rain, I want a cup of tea, it’s too early. Instead I fill my mug with all the crumbled edges of flapjack, pour on oat milk, find a plastic spoon and eat molasses crunch muesli
SC and I take a walk up the mountain to find a lake that I think is there. It is - after a steep climb that makes us feel sick.
Along the water’s edge is a derelict house that has had more recent habitation than the others. The garden – monkey puzzle, box, pine trees – on a mountain side. Suddenly I am missing you so much and wish you could be here with us to see the pink blossomed chestnut tree – just scented flowers with custard yellow centres damp from the rain.
Driven down through midwales to south wales and train home – round Wales journey!
On the train in Swansea I hear: ‘ you sound like a homosexual rat shagger’ Pause ‘Fuck you, you homosexual rat shagger’
Spain in June
Didn't get sunburnt in Spain, did get wet in (delicious) heavy heavy (warm) downpour.
on and off through June and July:
lime blossoms, thick sweet linden; at the bus stop the scent rises over, under bus exhaust fumes and cigarettes. I see a row of trees from the bus thick in blossom; I want to hang my head out of the window, not possible.
Foeldrygarn - can't move for the wheatears; sitting around on the paths, on the rocks, flying this way and that, stacks of them.
rosebay rosebay rosebay willow herb pink as a punky pink vest. lakes of rosebay willow herb.
Cardiff: 1. air thick with brewery hops a muggy damp day with nothing moving, full of scent: cars linden tarmac.
2. hot air too thick to think in and full of flying ants. a city FULL of flying ants, fine food for swifts.
3. sit under a small lime tree thinking of all the ants that have lost their wings, where the air was filled with them yesterday the floor is covered today - can I love them all?
4. early, early blackberries, green red and shiny black, on the brambles that hang from the railway bridge, tumbling down with buddleia flowers.
5. from the train I see a hay field fresh cut, crows checking it out; bordered by bramble, vetch, nettle and St. John’s Wort.
6. from the train I see a heron take off from the river side and drop a log streak of shit.
Streams into rivers are thick and fast after a night of rain.
July 25th I walk to Pentre Ifan Centre from Newport. Taking (probably) the Cilgwyn road then the ford track then to Fachongle to see Jess then down the road and into the woods that end at the field with the pond.
Big green shiny metallic dragonfly by the church heading up the road.
It gets warm. I make a phone call at the red telephone box. JH passes me; I wonder why, afterwards, why I didn’t give her my rucksack as I am going to house.
I get the view that I wanted to start the weekend. Stand on the road near the Brithdir oak grove and look across the stretch of the woods behind and up to Carnedd Meibion Owen. I can see someone spreading slurry on a field near Pentre Ifan farm. Down the road up to the horizon and there is Cnwc Y Hydd.
Rowan berries filled out and yellow orange, some with a green tinge. Like miniature apples.
Down to the ford, the stream is full and rusty coloured rushing under the tiny walk bridge – with a pallet (tied with bailer twine) as agate. Put my handbag in a puddle. Speckled armoured beetle, that doesn’t want to be watched. Up the road I get to the house of the howling dogs. Oh how they howl to the sky, moaning.
Arrive at Fach ongle. The girls are turning up a pair of trousers. Tessa is bewildered by the sewing machine; Naomi much more confident and practical. JH reminds T not to ‘bit the hand that feeds her’ – they are T’s trousers and N is offering to help. I see Jack the tame jackdaw that next door brought back from Cardigan. The black and white cat really wants it. It nearly had it yesterday, Jess made it release it before an injury was done.
I walk on my way. Hogweed flowers with what appears to be three or four types of hoverfly on. Walk further – all the hogweed have hoverfly. Hear a gigfran in the woods. Buzzard and five swallows soar above. Red Lammas growth on the oaks. Take the path into the woods; much wetter than April. Smell the slurry spreading. Tiny frogs scat and jump across the path. Shiny black beetle. A spider attaches itself to my left knee – there must be a saying. My orchid guard on the path, from the spring, still shows some remains! Two fine orchid seed heads – seven years hence …
Later I walk to the field in the woods. Bright almost sun flashes in a puddle as I stride on. White moth on alder. Then the sun dapples through trees and makes its own, dry, puddles. Find the reed rattles that I made in April still on the oak tree. Field full of soft grass and bracken and crickets/grasshoppers chirring and biting flies.
I pop an alder leaf.
SW’s walk: The low red sun through the trees. Branches glow as if with internal fire. A thin hazel upright shines like a torch stick.
We walk past the stile that leads out of the woods to Carningli, back into the woods above the valley that grows the raven’s nest tree. The sun low and full red, streaking through leaves illuminating branches here and there. They seem to glow red orange from inside; down the valley side a straight hazel pole glows like some Star Wars weapon.
Just past this point, during a very wet early, early Spring walk, SW, PB, SC and I concluded that we had found just the spot for a grizzly bear to appear to ‘The Canadians’; though we weren’t sure how to actually arrange it. Though perhaps there are more dangerous things in those woods than bears.
Sat: The smell of the yellow honeysuckle at the fork in the path, so dense for so few flowers; sharp wren song, robin with a hint of autumn.
Red under my eyes from eczema
Should I have been crying?
Red over my face from eczema
Should I have been angry?
Should I be crying?
Should I be angry?
Dead shrew belly skyward
‘sky I am all yours’
silvery fur belly.
Was he caught then dropped from the sky? we wondered
Caroline suddenly decides to discover what it is like to fall into bracken: down she goes.
SW decides Maura needs to know what it is like to fall into bracken: down she goes.
Gorse seeds crack where we saw a young goldfinch. Foxy Loxy’s field has good growth on it now. I am out of breath yet I was walking all weekend. Sky stretched out blue above the land. I sit on the outcrop surveying the world: Carningli sharp to the east, shining sea around Strumble Head. I fancy that I can hear the sea but really it is the small plantation below catching the breeze and Carson the distant main road. I want to refuse the feeling of wanting you here, of missing you. A butterfly that earlier danced tumbling in the air with another, flaps ferociously after a bumblebee – sees it off.
Did you walk to the Llyn? North Wales isn’t visible today, the clear blue sky is softer than it first appears. Down to the iron bridge I look. The reed bed – someone told me recently that I reminded him of reeds or rushes on a riverside. I am going to miss the Hiroshima remembrance ceremony.
4th early cliff path walk, Trefdraeth/Y Parrog
a mole torn open at the throat, beside birdshit so white.
Later a vetch goes pop
I sit on a pebbly beach early in the morning. Ten juvenile seagulls sit on the water’s edge. I’ve just walked through thick meadow sweet, heady scent blowing on the breeze along with bees and flies in chaotic flight, ripe for picking by martins and swallows. Alone enjoying alone; my hands are swollen. I could get rained on. Pink globed yarrow as the sun comes out full, to fit neatly in my palm. Lightening
5th yesterday was flying ant day in Trefdraeth so today is crawling ant, squashed under foot ant day.
Along the coast path early morning wanderers who have lost their wings. On the rocky path ants who where stepped on by walkers, the still attached wings flutter in the breeze. Some still seem to be alive but are stuck to the rock. The wind blows strongly now, thistle down hurls through the air, catches on bare old sorrel, catches on the fence like sheep’s wool, the rest flies out to sea.
Travelling to Waterloo
Slow river with lily pads on quiet edges.
He must be newly blind
A glider in a cut wheat field.
The air conditioning has broken down.
Mon 11th waterloo to dorking
Such a moan deep in the train. At stops a groan like the wookie in Star Wars but a bit quieter. Windows thick with condensation on this hot day.
Full moon fox at Greenwich north in the car park as I board a very late bus.
Wanderlust: ...created the spare pair of limbs dangling from the upright body, seeking something to hold or make or destroy, the arms freed to evolve into ever more sophisticated manipulators of the material world.
September 4th, estuary Trefdraeth
Perfect September morning. Unexpected clear blue sky, not so sharp that there is a hint of winter, soft at the edges over an estuary of moaning birds. Hazelnuts and pink roses on the road down. A scamper pants dog with a stick in mouth and a windmill tail. A hedge of thistles with sun shining through the fluffy heads the breeze failing to release only but one or two.
Swallows and martins scatter in the sky. Japanese knotweed wit creamy flowers stands high above blackberries – a mass of red unripe blackberries. The mud clicks and flickers and I wonder how long I can sit here. A money spider on my left knee – surely there is a saying for that one
Hawthorn tree rich red berries rambled all over with scarlet hips. Hips and haws.
A robin ticks loudly, ferociously, so I stop to see why. I stand still and see the fledgling.
6th A perfect enormous fern at the stream side in dappled sun. Sloes so thick I wonder the branches don’t break. Foxy Loxy field plantains stand high above the long stretch of rain-flattened grass. I turn back through the gate into a rising cloud of butterflies. I think of Simon in Lord of the Flies.
A dragonfly leaps from gorse to hawthorn and back and sees me, and the camera, coming every time.
Sunday: rain collecting on the tarmac to make a slight puddle, finding a fraction of an incline, starting to move downhill so slowly.
Dark basset hound sniffing the air. By the time I reach Nevern the puddles are deep enough to splish and splash, even make bubbles, those perfect half spheres that have filled me with joy since I was a child. The river is full of them, and ever increasing circles. As I look back up the long thick run of water the drops and bubbles flick and dance like faerie sparkler dancers.
Fill your heart
Journey by bus to north wales and back starting September 11th
Llanbadarn Fawr Historic village
Llety Parc Aber
Tiles R US
Mega clear car wash is here
Crow tumbles out of the sky onto a post. As the bus travels up the slope I see it is a telegraph pole. Big black cows in the bracken. Porth Madog: black puppy stops to smell artificial flowers. 97A: small beech tree, brassy vivid on the heather grey rocks. Capel Curig: I sit where I can hear water tumbling, a gap in the mountains to the west. I comb my hair through and through into the wind. I take my hair from the comb and release it to the sky. I do this three times, the last time with my left hand. The air comes thick and mild from the west; the sun is on the edge of clouds, now just coming through. The sky changes so fast, what was dark grey becomes blue in minutes.
Rachub: sun shines on three rain drops on the window pane, brighter and brighter like three stars on a cloudy sky. I move, change my position in relation to the sun: sky full of new constellations. Bright setting sun through my hair. I slowly rotate: a thousand faint rainbows.
brave the waves
watch the ravens
tumble and soar
Rachub: shrew pushes his snout deep into the grass wiggling twisting, back legs often briefly coming off the ground, on and on. When he is still – invisible.
Porth Madog: He stands on the pavement, pale periwinkle blue and denim, soft and lean.
Trawsfynydd – Dolgellau: see the horse and foal
White white with pink noses
It is not going to go anywhere is it? Even as the kiss was blown from his fingers I knew, but hoped otherwise.
Last night as I am due to meet a friend some geese fly overhead. I have the urge to go down to the iron bridge – I give myself 5 minutes – so I run. The tide is full in and the geese are floating on the river. Far out beyond the sand bank the sea is rough, I hear the roar and the horizon is mountainous.
Saturday 27th September – Trefdraeth (to B)
The kindly old lady across the road has opened her windows for to air the bedrooms and in doing so catches the sun and shines it through my window.
I leave the house about 9.30 a.m. to walk to Parrog then to the wholefood shop then to home – I get home at 3.50 p.m. and travelled no further than I intended, perhaps less.
Down to the Parrog along to the little, little ‘beach’ where the sun shines on the water but you must dress and undress in the shade. A dog runs down the steps for a quick dip. I wait and change and slip into strong but smooth cool water, out into the sunlight; I stretch back and look to the land, up to the blue sky, the sun which patterns my legs with light.
I walk back to the café past hot yet fresh smelling fennel. I drink coffee and eat a croissant and meet the swimming dog – Max and his owners again.
Along to the estuary, I watch and watch a white angel bird with pale feet and dark legs stalk about, stop, jiggle the legs, eat, stalk about; it seems to take fright over one bit of water and walks a long way round and back in.
Meet two strange men – The Brothers: tight jeans (really tight), black t-shirts, black leather jackets (getting the picture?) balding on top but long, long hair – guitar players, one Terry Prachett reader (and kind of bird reserve man!). I think we talk for some three quarters of an hour then walk along the estuary and up to town – me to the post office they to the pub. They’ve just moved to Dinas – I’ll meet them again.
Get my shopping, have a lovely conversation with Emma from Brithdir about water and floating and her looking beautiful and welcoming on the front of the local newspaper (illegal house in the wood). She bathes in the Clydach – isn’t that the stream that Simon and you walked during Crwydro?
Then to the butchers for plums (and don’t tell anyone – black pudding). Then I met MB again; we had already chatted in the wholefood shop. We sit outside her textile shop – Ty Twt, in the sun. We talk a long time with her friend R over the wall, about friendship and honesty and disappointment. MB and I talk more, now inside (there are sometimes customers to attend to!) – war and peace, housing, Jesus, honesty, politicians, capitalism, buses, doing too much. Then I’m hungry and it is 3.45 p.m. so I go home (to fried black pudding and rice).
What an unexpected, as it happened day.
Sunburn from northern trip is dusting off; I’m wearing black.
28thAt last I reach the secret beach to the west of Traeth Mawr, just beyond where the river meets the sea. A long tide out and sunshine. Off with my boots as the gaps between the rocks grow longer and the water pools deeper. I am through, a patch of sun and seagulls. I feel like skipping, I am a child on a wild magic adventure. The main stretch of the beach is rocks, smooth, like a hundred small grey seals sleeping. I can’t stay long; someone is waiting who wouldn’t come with me. Back I go by the sea, find a deep bit, rolled up trousers over the knee, well over the knee water. On dry land I turn my cardigan into a skirt.
From the train hundreds of birds spotted along the water’s edge and the sea disappearing into the sky. Small dark ducks and oystercatchers.
13th: first flock of starlings, parting over St. Mary’s church.
16th: a sheet of cloud zig zag igam ogam from above.
First bid sighted a kestrel at the airport. One heron to the east, three herons to the east.
Skua? Outside on the road not flying. A black cat dabbing two hotel staff watching. Cat rising up to look big looking down at the open beak of the bird. Bird tries to climb the wall, grabs the girl’s leg and escapes through a locked gate.
17th: Four herons going west, early. Two swallows near El Toro.
18th Cala Tirant: egrets, herons every type of dragon and damsel fly. A flock of white ducks walking across a field. A little egret plays at being a cattle egret on the back of a ginger cow. So many of them. Did I see a pied fly catcher.
19th Es Grau: warblers but which? Dragon flies and damsel flies some as small as a cat’s whisker, startlingly blue. Many big blue dragonflies. Little egrets politely spaced around a lagoon. The water is deep and flooding, seeping through stone walls. A cormorant circles. Two fishermen in a boat check their nets.
In the pine woods I hear a man with a deep voice singing beautifully, are there children there too? A flooded path, smells of spiciness. Was that a pied flycatcher again? A seagull having a bath in a boat.
20th swifts, five to seven in the evening at Dinkum’s
21st thrush, brown white song thrush finches ravens stonechat warblers hoopoe over my head something big black and ginger brown. Air filled with honey. Glowing green bronze beetle remembered. Smaller than thrush bird with rust red underwing. Dead dragons on the pebbly beach. Birds bird birds. It’s like being in an aviary – a pet shop full of finches with some robins thrown in.
Sparrows like fat little chicken trying to run not fly.
22nd humming bird hawk moth, warbler.
Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea
Past the houses, past the headlands
In to deep eternity.
William Blake, Auguries of Innocence
Joy and woe are woven fine
A clothing for the Soul divine
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
Down a small deep valley peregrines speed. Every bird shouting a warning in their different ways at us or them? A blackbird chink; a short phrase three times from a bird we’ve never heard before. So many birds dart in and out from thick trees and undergrowth.
The pleasure of a creamy soft textured paper serviette on a blackberry ice-cream coloured skirt.
24th a hoopoe so fragile flew past my nose. It found another on a roof and yet another flew across the top of the road. Honeysuckle, one flower head hidden under vast greenness, sweet sweet scent
25 egrets sitting on a wall
pair of ravens
pair of booted eagles
pink honeysuckle with pink blush seeds near the sea. Very neat, sharp not a deep scent.
25th a wanderer on the road, swarthy. Scarf on head, rucsac. Smoking walking down the main road, stopping to look at things. We saw him last (roaring drunk?) careering down the middle of the steep 3 lane road to the harbour.
26th Calas Fonts, morning: pigeons and ducks at old bits of fish and rubbish. Then they divide; the pigeons still eat, the ducks move away to preen.
27th Wagtail day (well it started yesterday when a wagtail ran up the road in front of us then flew up the road, kept landing in front of the car) Now Dad chats to one outside the window, it answers. I hear them 5- 10 minutes later out over the balcony – the birds that is, dad’s not flying with them.
Later at Albefura the air rang ring rang with small bird song. Hoopoe, blackbird, thrush – but the hoopoe didn’t call.
Cat up a tree showing off with a tightrope. I feel all the ages that I’ve ever been.
Slip of a moon 18:08 (Tuesday?) Wednesday: tiny motor launch containing a couple; she at the front holding forth a green umbrella held against the spray, he at the engine and steering.
Remembered the bee from Albefura walk: ginger red fluffy head, strongly striped body.
Dead female sparrow at sunrise, Sol del Este
Dead male sparrow in the windmill, Sant Lluis
Fri/Sat 31/1Nov? I dreamed of a flock of birds softly brown with rusty red wing edging and underwing that showed as they flew over me.
November 7th I see some one walking well ahead of me, going round the curve, they are carrying what? A sculpture, metal poles, curious.
I smell fresh mown grass from somewhere, now I know what they are carrying – a lawn mower a flymo thing
Sat 15th leaves pushing. sea full of sand and leaves, hundreds of leaves. held at the top18th the bus to tenby: grey flat sea. fog out before the horizon. invisible woman: a man pushes a door closed on me another shakes his umbrella on me – and still doesn’t notice. sudden views out to sea.
28th binding my feet, not to trap but to hold firm. you are not asked always to thrive. under feet round ankle under feet. an angel but I’m not moving in the labyrinth.
December 4th: so many different people on the bus, at the bus stop. opened out wasn’t too difficult to be nice to people. misting cool evening, clouds coming over.
A DAY A TIME
Today I need fire.
I collect paper rubbish and take it up the garden. I leave the bag and go to the top where it smells like a cider factory or perhaps an old carton of apple juice from the back of the fridge, sniffed for freshness (or not). We have all been away; I didn’t know the tree had so much fruit; there are already rows of apples in the house. I collect them in my cardigan pockets and my arms. They can all go into the carrier bag that holds the paper. After.
I crumple up the very small pile of paper; some of the glossy stuff is not going to burn very well. I layer in some twigs and large brown (black spotted) sycamore leaves. I light it: on a gust of wind it burns well. A branch of wych elm goes on top; the dried leaves flare brightly and so briefly. Smoke tears, smarting sharp and cutting; sad, lost tears half hidden, not as despairing as yesterday.
Suddenly I notice a new fox hole, under the hedge; dark, dark, paw printed earth, sticky. Hope I’m not disturbing a napping creature.
The fire goes through several smoke and flame cycles, prompted by breezes and my poking about with a stick.
I want a bath now. Is there time before the bus? If I make a quick lunch: pale smoked fish poached in water, served with plenty of soft sweet beetroot. Gherkins? No.
Deep, hot bath. View up the garden as I lean back. Brown limbs, pale torso; brown arms against white breasts. Drift into water, deep water: a creature is swimming with me, not sure if I want to go there. Maura, Maura you’ve already been there, no turning back.
Dress into smoky clothes. How to face going out the front door, the street, the people, the bus driver. I go. I journey through a copper bronze valley, so bright it seems as if in sunlight, through the greying over.
A reiki healing session (with R); allowing myself to let go. So many tears, so much difficulty over such a small action. Just open the hands, my hands. Can only do it if I float in the water, air is too unsafe. I make a plum purple spongy support around my right hand and arm. It sinks through the skin, the flesh – or does the skin and flesh move out into it? The bones stay startling white; slowly a stain, like blackberries on lips, appears: the bones sink into plum, with a liquid, molten cool, hot golden orange slim core. What is special about the thick plum colour? What is it that it knows? I am clear on that one – it knows how to change.
I am in water, with a vast purple universe around my right arm. There appears a creature in the water with me, a huge aubergine otter. I am laughing, reaching out my left arm to him, I am nervous if I think too much. He is strong and lithe, a whiskery smile, wild. Rachael sees him part seal; the flipper paws like hands, with something to say to my hands; big eyes, looking at me.
She drives me back to Aberteifi, to the bus. We feel/see the otterseal with me; in in in inside I smile, laugh, outside still I am nervous, unsure; especially if I think!
Yes I’m sad, miserable even desolate in moments. But when I felt the need for a fire, I made a fire. I did all that I needed to do. If I can just do that everyday, even briefly, I will feel less the rocky, graveliness that I keep dragging on, getting stuck on.
As I write this out the next day I listen to some Bach and can feel a light dance inside. Why am I sharing this? Because things are so bad sometimes; so bad I don’t know how to talk to people, especially new people and in talking to friends, like you, all there seems to be from me is miserableness. Yet I never totally let go and say how bad I feel, or any reasons why, I’ll cover up sometimes with smiles. Sometimes I feel like crying when I’m talking to someone or even just see them, so I shut myself in, then of course any communication is a bit difficult. And I feel guilty, ashamed because my problems aren’t so very big by comparison to other people. So this is to let you know that if I cry, that’s just how it is. But then there are sparkly moments: a copper leaf against a blue sky, pouring rain on my face, travelling on the bus and knowing the world is perfect – and that includes all the rubbish dumped by the road and my pain. I’m not sure I know how to be real anymore – except when I’m dancing. These words are my being as real as I can. Yes I feel unable to cope a lot of the time, but sometimes it’s as glorious as it ever could be. Thanks to all of you who listen, and some have had to listen more than others! Normal service may or may not be resumed shortly, I apologise for any inconvenience (that sounds like something from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…). I have a feeling I’m just beginning to accept, to fight less, it doesn’t make any of the pain (physical or otherwise) go away, there’s just not so much struggle.
When I finally remember that it’s all just stuff, I’ll let go, into the air, and I won’t even think about whether it’s safe or not.
P.S. I can whistle loudly now – fingers under tongue and go for it.
11th I’m so glad to be on this train to be nowhere to be in-between
Sat 13th Family man: woman, three teenagers. Normal average unremarkable, perhaps all dressed predominantly in black. With a Dad about my age black mid-calf Doc Martin’s, black combat trews, black jacket and mohican.
Grandmother and small grandson, he held by lead, holding umbrella with ears in right hand, balloon in left, a little transparent rucksack on his back.
January 6th 2004
Sitting by Cenarth Falls. As I walked here from Abercych: thrush, bright breasted, faces the midday sun from the top of a slim old tree, songing over the valley. In a sheltered place a hazel bears catkins that have begun to stretch so that they are long enough to hang rather than splay out in all directions. At Penlan Holiday Village I notice the jay logo and instantly hear a screch. I wonder if it is a recording or a jay in a cage. The white line along the edge of the road, that keeps the cars in, can be slippery. I see lots of rubbish even large junk thrown into the forestry; I even think I see a white van. But it is a white, once smart, go faster car off roaded, wedged in trees, tied with red and white stripe incident tape. A pair of white rubber (disposable) gloves hangs in a bush behind it.
I see an ostrich, no, it is a sheep and a large fence (gate?) post. Do I need my eyes or my mind testing?
Spent over much £4.09 on a piece of smoked Cenarth cheese – one of my favourites – another food item to slip from the not O.K. to O.K. list.
If I were to lie down on the path I bet I could see rainbows over the falls.
Tree creeper and kingcup in flower at Ffynnon Llawddog
Friday: I made up some bird food on Tuesday evening. Instead of melting the fat first then adding the bread and nuts I piled it all in together, which uses more fat so makes for a very fat laden mix. So the poor birds are forever wiping their beaks on the tree. This morning I am sitting overlooking the garden hoping to see a sunrise though the clouds are rushing to fill the south-eastern sky.
The list of birds feeding or trying to grows. The usual blue tits, great tits, sparrows and robin (who has the greatest difficulty eating – no good at clinging onto the food ball, a good deal of fluttering and leaning from nearby branches, must take note of that for positioning the food in future) also a chaffinch who hasn’t worked out yet how to get the food, a coal tit and two nuthatches (who can’t stay in the same tree for long without chasing each other). No dunnock this morning.
The sun briefly emerges over the hill, catching the feathers of a blue tit, then is folded into red purple grey cloud which soon changes to dove grey.
The coal tit is back, it is more nervous of the traffic than all the other birds. The female sparrow is very slight and graceful, compared to the rather portly male. A female blackbird is interested in the food. But doesn’t see any way of tackling the problem.
A dipper at Ffynnone waterfall. Head height.
Fynnone waterfall/ The deep thundering pool under the massive fall of water, fronted by a delicate winter only cascade. The whole air filled with that dank, yet alive, so alive, green water smell that is normally confined to the steep sided passage to the waterfall, only smelt if you climb high and stand over it or swim it. The bridge is impassable. A dipper flies high, head height, down stream.
8 books and poems in a row that refer to snow, three of which also refer to alchemy. One a book from the past that it now seems is THE book from the past as Slug has lent it to SW, it was our book, the one I first read. Is it really a week since I walked in the fog. I hardly left the house. The walk to Cenarth.
I thought I was lost but suddenly there is a glimmer of a possibility. I feel softer, but it’s fragile. I remember the child after the fight and the banana filled camera.
You once reached out and held my hand in the middle of the night. When you laugh you really laugh
20th Mathry – 8 buzzards in a field, one with a white-collar marking. Flock of lapwings. 2 farm dogs play together in a field. Llanrhian – gorse in good flower.
Mae’r dwr yn torri lawr y mynydd
Wedi ystlys gan defaid a’r melyn o eithin
Ffo flach y screech y coed
Wynt yn dawel, awel
February 6th my skin sheds and sheds; cascades of white flecks – snowy, dusty - spread over my shoulders, my legs as I sit down. Really I should just wear beige.
This train goes to Penzance – could I stay on it? How can I get back to Bath again, on the 26th? All these ideas, travellings, I want to go north, muddle through my head, planning, planning. I need to plan actions and goings and leave spaces, because I can’t cope with the chaos. Somehow it reminds me of the blank wall that that I put down to stop feeling and thinking. Meticulous control.
after floods: from the train, Caerfyrddin. Dead sheep draped over the fence. How did the farmer miss this one? Why is it still there? Did it drown?
Oyster catchers on banked fingers of sand. See the men digging the cockle beds. Hawthorn in leaf at Port Talbot (also at home: Felindre Farchog) Catkins long, alder and hazel; buddleia never seems to lose its leaves.
Whose country is it anyway?
My place my home fy nghatref i
Their place their home ein catref nhw
Your place your home eich catref chi
Taken place taken home
Our place our home eu catref ni
7th Why do I want to write? Especially as it hurts. Will I forget my thoughts – will it be a loss that I can’t recover, if I need to remember.
9th Last night I dreamt of my Nan and Ed & Tom when they were in their late teens, early twenties. The field across the lane from the farmhouse, green and smooth. Beech trees behind Gorse Hill. Nan smiling. Me below them calling to them.
In the womb all as touch, by something more tangible than air, more encompassing than clothing. Was there deep taste and smell? And thick sound?
11th The boys on the bus trust one man more than another because the untrustworthy one wears thick glasses – he wears tyres on his eyes for heaven’s sake.
12th Heart aches. I am sad.
A few days at the end of February 2004
I sit and stare at the sea, shivered by skin cutting northeast wind. In the hollow, February white blackthorn blossoms, a Japanese vision, too early to be real, but there all the same. Below me the river and incoming sea criss-cross one another, the spit decreases wave by wave. How long do I have to sit and stare at the sea to find the tears, not just wind tears, real tears? Tears to rip apart my heart and make me feel, to help me move on.
I leave, feeling an idiot for wanting to feel it all, fully.
On the bus to Haverfordwest, weekly appointment.
There has been some snow; I know when I will be able to look back at the Preseli hills. I wait. There they are. I see Foel Eryr and Foel Cwmcerwyn; they have caught the snow well. On the journey back, a snow-storm from the north is descending and Foel Eryr disappears. I recall another storm, one coming from the south as François and I were on the top of Foel Eryr last May. Views changing by the minute under fast moving, low, deep grey cloud. It became wet! We kept walking because our feet were wet and cold from the bog.
I arrive home in Newport, sad and sit by the gas fire. Just after 2.30 I turn to the window: snow filled air. Out I go. I head to my favourite rocky outcrop along from Carningli, gorse and wild plum, lichen-covered branches lightly coated in soft snow. The word ephemeral flies through my head. As I head onto the open mountain mae’r tywydd yn dod lawr a mae’r byd yn bach. The weather comes down and the world is small. The air is speeding with fine granular snow. Hard sharp gorse spiking through downy snow.
As I climb the rocks the sky to the north is clearing. Clouds still drop in patches on the sea, but beyond that is brilliant blue green, Bardsey and The Llyn ac y mynyddoedd yn y gogledd yn gwyn, deep white; and the mountains in the north are white; startling in the sunlight, reaching down to the sea. I want to be there now, but I am here watching the storm still dragging across the shoulder of Carningli, a few hundred metres away. The reclining figure reappears, horses come into view. I decide to walk on and up past the horses – arses to the weather all white flanked no matter what their colour, the move quietly, as I get closer. Where they stood still during the storm each has left a set of round green patches.
As I reach the brow of the ridge I see the whole stretch of Mynydd Preseli – Tŷ Canol and Carnedd Meibion Owen, Cnwc Y Hydd, Foel Eryr, Foel Cwmcerwyn, across to Carnalw, Carn Meini, Foeldrygarn and Y Frenni. All emerging from the cloud, snow covered; looking back to the coastal strip, green fields under sun.
I am tempted to walk on and on down Cwm Gwaun and up the other side, towards Foel Eryr, but I know it’s too far for me, the daylight will go and I have no food or warm drink – well, I have a champagne chocolate truffle (very large) – so I eat it.
I walk towards the sleeping beauty figure that suddenly appears really close on the horizon – the closest I’ve been in years. I stride towards her, powdery snow flying around my feet. Skirting beneath her head, her breasts and swollen belly, her arm, her knees and shins I arrive at her feet, onto her feet.
From there I clamber down and walk out to St. Brynach’s spring, where I walked with Star, TBear and JF last May. The sun was shining, low in the sky, turning the rocks soft in colour. Far to the north Bardsey and The Llyn had disappeared under massive storm clouds. Stretching under the over hang I find water, and splash my forehead and turn towards home, still a long stroll away. My arm and toes hurt, I know it is the right time to leave the mountain, with the setting sun. Three hours of sky and land and walking.
A hot bath. Energy streaming through my limbs. I feel the want for a man, skin, muscles … !!
Fortunately (or is it unfortunately) the most desirable ones are not in reach. Great isn’t it – I walk the Goddess and then want a man, what a laugh life has with us, I guess we just have to join in with the joke. I go to The Golden Lion with SGC for a quiet drink; perched at the bar, we put the world to rights. SGC came to the Golden after we had all arrived down from Carningli, some of you may remember her.
I lie in bed now, blessing the invention of hot water bottles. Do I hear sea or wind? I open the window wide – star lit COLD still night. It’s the sea – such a roar. If I was not so warm in here and it was not so cold out there I’d go and have a look. My last view over the sea as I left St. Brynach’s spring was of huge cumulonimbus clouds – they must have been pulling up the waves.
*I know it’s difficult for farming, and emergencies where the snow is bad, and it’s been freezing, but my yearly desire for snow is phenomenal – and I live in a place with low snow fall – even south Pembrokeshire has more today!
In finalising images and text to send to SC for the website I had lots of memories
sharing in the making of a most spectacular feast for ‘the Canadians’ then eating it – after documenting it - because we were hungry and they weren’t there, because FC was annoying the customs people (he thought he was getting paid to do art!); rain after such a long dry spell; early mornings; bird song; walking; sharing the caravan with SC on April 30th, and FC thinking there was an affair occurring! my Quest and sharing it with FM, JF, TBear and Star, leaving them behind one by one as they found their own places, gathering together again in rain; confusion, lack of self worth; the magic; the mundane; food – making and eating; walking; sharing a small room with a BIG spider; sharing three weeks with 8 other people; having to say goodbye; PB coughing, his chest weakening; Alfie and Ewan stealing chocolate; rice blowing off my fork on our grand walk (whose idea was it anyway, and where were they eating lunch?); bluebells emerging; the earliest swift; walking; rolling over and over down a bank for a hat; the moment I regained, integrated, became myself at 8 or was it 9 years old? The world seemed to stop, my body let go, so still, I stared up at the trees, a hand on my forehead told me it was real; SC keeping his birthday quiet, me demanding ritual, ceremony – tea caught in the wind and missing cups, fairy cakes, feeding you all faerie food with whispers (if only I’d realised that I was the one they had caught and pricked and poked and disturbed); trust and sharing; the morning I couldn’t make any connection with you all and lay lost under the chestnut tree – how BS somehow gave me the space to find my feet and join you again, to move forward (I need to find that again, now – it doesn’t need too be at a full tilt run just a step or two); dancing again; TBear telling stories; walking; JF’s eyes lit up; learning to sing; admitting to PB that I sometimes felt inhibited by his presence; seeing a pair of kites; moss thick and giving; red flag may day; FM’ skills in encouraging others to communicate on their own level – and all to understand; an invisible diving peregrine over JF, TBear and I; SC in the phone box; a fox really close; feeling devastated; a field of violets. Oh it’s endless – well certainly there’s plenty more.
I nearly gave up on it all then and now. Putting the stuff together for SC overwhelmed me: memories and thinking that nothing I had to contribute was of value. I decided I’d feel worse if I didn’t put in some images and it led me to write all these words to you all (which you may or may not think is a good thing!!). Star commented to me that putting the images onto the website was a way of moving forward, I hope so.
Thank you for bearing with me and for the support given that enabled me to sing in a tree.
Rabindranath Tagore, Friut Gathering.
Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not look to allies in life’s battlefield but to my own strength.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved but hope for the patience to win my freedom.
Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling your mercy in my success alone; but let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure.
… And my deep sorrow. And when I am unable to take another step alone let me find a way of calling out.
AS ANTS IT IS OUR JOB TO INTERPRET WHAT THE MUSIC IS EATING
Today the stretch of Preseli under a long shaft of sun seems like it is a big roller, about to tip. The sharp dark rock tops like the white of a breaker. The veined pale green look of the land like the underside of the wave that is drawing foam from the last one.
March 17th the first birthday of Aunty Pat since she died. That time of the evening again – wait for the bus listen to the blackbird. I search for my motives. What do I fear about being well? I fear taking on commitments then getting unwell again. Remember goals. MadDash gave us a lifeline exercise recently. Mark on your lifeline where you are now. Now draw your hand and lifeline on a sheet of paper and write down two things you want to do before you die. I. Live at least each of the seasons in a more northerly place than her. Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Northern Canada, Northern Russia – even Northern Scotland. Not necessarily all in one go, but to experience the cycle of the year. And 2 is a new goal, the northern thing has been life long ambition. It involves the season’s but it is not something that I can do on my own. AND to remember that I am not separate from God.
Our freedom comes from turning inward honestly enough to see the truth and then taking the courage to live our lives with what we see. Bo Lozoff?
Body .surviving. breath/air. Feeling. Space inside me. space outside me. spirit. wandering. land.
SELF HONESTY, COURAGE, KINDNESS, HUMOUR, WONDER.
19th from the bus, Dinas: I see a chestnut tree, sticky buds bursting open. How like chrysalis they are – a multi-winged green butterfly, there in waiting to unfold. I remember the chestnut tree at Clynfyw; I remember a chestnut tree in Blaenau. A week later the leaves are spreading out.
We leave Tyddewi on the bus following a learner driver. Young lad on bus informs two girls that it is John and he’s in the army – bless his socks one says, then, not even I was that bad. Of course the bus can’t overtake – two whizzy cars behind us take quick advantage of the straight bit. Well he is improving with speed and road position. He pulls into a long lay-by – there was a dog in the back of the car aswell. I am eating American (U.S.A) chocolate.
22nd last night I dreamt of having a thick rolled neck
25th scurvy grass white clumps. Pussywillow green yellow.
Two cows look at a dead sheep.
Two cows fight in the wide open field by the river, tossing heads and swinging tails.
31st I stand at the top of the garden in Trefdraeth. Blackbird song fills the air and the warm breeze brushes my skin. A feeling of acceptance. It would be an achievement to reach such a state without the blackbird. But I’m not enlightened yet. The blackbird is my reminds me that what is, is what is, it is as it is. The blackbird sings for his life, he does it for procreation for life. It is necessary to his life. For now I am satisfies with a prompt. It allows me to look at myself, to be with my self, in despair and wonder, simultaneously. I can even smile at my deep feelings for you, as I sand by this living energetic tree, as I panic about money. At the top of the garden in the warm weather, you are right, it does one good. I like the rain, but this warm spring weather lifts away worry about things being too hot, too cold, too wet and lifts other worries. And well you know how much I like a warm breeze.
Our sgwiffy singing chiffchaff is back at FTG
Two butterflies yesterday, and sand martins with a butterfly flight, seen with you.
April 3rd Saturday. This morning became a big dark pit of loneliness – depression. A bad nights sleep. Wandering in the garden in wellies and nightclothes – and through the neighbour’s garden too.
I cooked a huge breakfast – masses of mushrooms and crispy-bottomed egg. Went back to bed. Nothing worked to lift me. I was rushing down and too scared to stay with it. I rang Dougie who immediately wanted to know what I thought the soul was. Later we met in Aberteifi for thick Spanish hot chocolate. After he had been to a funeral
someone gets buried, someone gets married, both young. This could be the last moment of my life; this moment is the only moment of my life. I just want to love everyone everything I like buses and trains for allowing these strange thoughts.
A big moon, I think of willow, darkness, dreams, moon, hare, spring.
Blue mattress on a green bank.
Blue rabbit wet in a box beside the road. Wet enough to drip. I hung it out to dry.
7th I lie back in an early morning bath and watch two pigeons try to fuck in a hornbeam. A robin ticks at them. They try some more on very thin branches. A magpie dive-bombs them, cack cacking them apart. They don’t come back to the tree, a lot of effort, no result.
Scurvy grass, blackthorn blossom even early cow parsley make spring snow on a cold breezy April morning. Green soft drooping leaves on the Dinas chestnut
11th Easter Sunday. Young squirrel in a box, tired of its short life so soon. Big Ging caught it, killed it, dragged it through the window cat flap into TraLaLa’s bedroom, in the night and ate its back feet. Now Lizzy takes it, in the bow, to the field for a sky burial (and hopes that some other animal than Ginge Bimble finds it).
I hear then see a swallow 1.30ish Parrog, Trefdraeth. Tuesday: two swallows chatter over Heol Hir
Thursday gorse and blackthorn and ginger old bracken. Below Castell Llansteffan.
18th low sun along gorse flowers.
21st a stream of kingcups macros a field, just before Dinas. Pebbledash bungalow with a pebble garden. Plantains up and dark. The chestnut is bearing blossom. Wild garlic flowering. The driver processes all the tickets for the school pupils who board the bus they don’t take them. The little boy pushes forward to claim them, a long strip; he’s so happy. Bus is failing and we’ve missed the green light at the bridge works, we’ve reversed once instead of going forward, now stalled; the driver puts his head into his hands. Pan Welwch olau coch sefwch yma. A young driver and all those school kids to mock him. After we unload them he calls the depot and says he’s not taking this bus all the way to Hwlffordd. He gets the one that crosses our journey at Abergwaun going back to Aberteifi. On the way home bluebells in a small wood and a bog of kingcups in Trecwn.
23rd So I walk across the field at the top of the garden, and find a new crossing point into the lower half of Foxy Loxy field. A fine old ash tree with three trunks creating two saddles: I climb into the bank. A new place to sit and be, a new camp! It is a warm and moist day and the gorse in the next field fill the air with its coconut scent. Smells know no boundaries. Across to the North East there is breeze catching the tall trees that have enough leaves to sound like the sea. The sycamores along the bank near me are green and lush, covered in blossom and fast expanding leaves; so bright a green it seems the sun is shinning.
I hear my first cuckoo, high above me on the moorland edge of Mynydd Carningli. Between me and the mountain there is a hedgerow of blackbirds, I’m sure I can hear four or five. The closest ceases as a chaffinch warns of my approach. Foxy Loxy field is full of rabbits and rabbit holes. White tail flashes all around as I walk through the plantain. On the path back down to the main road the bluebells are coming out; I don’t think I’ve ever walked down this path, only ever up.
24th Some fields are yellow with dandelions. Fog from the sea is pushing into Lower Fishguard, drifting up to the town over roofs around corners, making it cool in the bright sunshine.
25th the birch trees have more catkins than I ever remember seeing; some more than others. Some have female and male catkins, others just a profusion of male. The trees cascade in green.
Monday: Weles i chwech jacado ar cefn buwch, pulling hair, beakfuls of rusty coloured nest lining.
27th 3 swifts above memorial hall, Trefdraeth.
May 1st Disturbed night – people, cars, waking, sleeping, wanting to be ready to get up at % and go out. Realised at 2ish that I probably shall not do the long walk so set the alarm for 5.15. Wake before, everything hurts. Go downstairs to make a hot water bottle. While the kettle boils I go outside and walk the garden. Dressing gown and flowery wellies.
Birdsong. Vast. A great sea of sound. A song thrush in the lilac to the right and a blackbird a few feet to the left. Apple blossom and lilac scent in the air – mild and lovely air.
I climb over under the fence and walk across the field to look at Carningli. Surrounded by the song that will greet the sunrise. I am noted and some of the song changes to warning.
Back I go, picking a piece of apple blossom from next doors fallen tree and wrap myself in hot water bottle
Wake later make tea, read a boring book. Later I hear swift, I jump up, the world goes black for ages, I hold the window surround.
I open the window to see three.
I think to myself that I’ve been sulking. Get up, half dressed the phone rings, t-shirt on inside out. It’s Simon. It’s not raining; we’re going for a walk. I go to the Beehive for a last cooked breakfast before they close.
The apple tree is in perfect blossom – deep buds and opened flowers. A misty sun, a cool breeze, garden warbler.
Carnedd Meibion Owen. Gorse. Kite. With SW And Star.
2nd blackbird, song thrush, swallow.
Ben Okri, Mental Flight
The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering. We are best defined by the mystery that we are still here, and can still rise upwards …
Date? Wake up and really want to not be here, entirely sure of wanting death, now, after odd dream, passes and I am shocked. Avoid BS in his tiny house til can’t avoid then sobbing. He leaves me at Bangor cathedral, I cry some more.
13th Vera Eve cat with a shrew that gets lost, due to my intervention, in a pile of slate. Elvis hanging his head over the path edge into the flowerbeds.
Still more buds on the apple tree.
Swifts and swallows, Penrhiw.
After nine in the evening a song thrush sings in the ash tree outside my bedroom FTG
14th live life as if I mean it, do everything as if for God. Bragod – amazing performance and evening of coincidences ending finally with BS remembering that Ceinwen and I share the same birth date. She was someone that I could talk to without being introduced. A lovely sparky evening of chat with her and Os. At last I leave the terrible deathly despair of being afraid to die after a momentary flash of deep desire to nothingness, and not knowing how to live; perhaps it’s just the medication. And yes I do need taking. And nobody believed me when I said I was doing nothing in particular in life or tomorrow in Cardiff, I was there for no reason other than to hear the music and remove the despair that had sat in me for a week.
Yesterday I started to pretend to have courage, pretend I wasn’t scared of life, that everything was just fine. (Mandy’s advice on Wednesday).
15th The black may flies (St. John’s flies?) are out. Food for the swifts.
Blue butterfly in green leaves.
16th Hawthorn snow laden Pembrey – Llanelli
22nd A young raven doing the rounds of Trefdraeth. Caaaaaaa it calls with regularity. Roof next door this morning. Lucy’s husband and daughter are watching from their front door. Tabby Toes was watching too from our back steps – this could be the biggest catch of his life. Later Raven is further away on another roof, then up Mill Lane on a wire.
Another café meal disturbed by one of the terrible two Brothers.
25th white butterflies tumble from white may blossom.
A sight to sink the hardest warrior: a pale pony with a sticky week old foal, still prehistoric; flicking knees, tails and ears. Beside them a rabbit, caught in a light shower, slowly lowering its ears to sit amongst clover and plantain.
The drip drip drip of warm foggy rain in summer through the long twilight. Why did I open up my skin, fill my inside with you, embed you in me, then seal it all up again?
3 jacadaws on look out duty. I search for the intellect to comment on life; within minutes I spit (inside my head) at hand holding happiness. The tide is slowly receding, the shop yn agor the café wedi cau. Intense Magnum, chocolate inside ice cream calls even though I have eaten my fill. Boats being drawn in, boat club members drinking outside. One red van drives onto the shore; one man brings a trailer and boat and van together and is gone in a blink. A heat haze mirage across the spit of Traeth Mawr has the sea shimmering into rock, like blue flames and a speed boat rushing into nothingness, just heads on a black abyss. Hopeless with myself, on an ocean edge my back to the mountains. My hand writes a little easier than normal. Be thankful in a random non-chwarae teg world. It quietens it cools. Boats become landed leaning bulks. Oystercatcher calls ‘wlyb across the beach. A gull, feet tucked in, rustles slightly overhead. A thin cloud and a light breeze make goose flesh on my arms. Next day. Open a bottle of beer on the beach and watch the river recede. A Swiss army knife that needs cleaning. One man a rucksack and a plum jacket and four children head along Y Parrog
Had people nothing better to do in the past than smash willow pattern plates in the garden?
June 7th so hot that I can’t get comfortable. I sling myself around and still nothing comes right, perhaps there is nothing to come right. I stand at the top of the vegetable garden (FTG). At the very top of the larch behind my right shoulder, a blackbird sings. In spaces I hear one more up the slope and another down. A copper sun shines through the sycamore catching midges pooling under branches, making them seem like firefly. Below me I hear a pigeon. My Father and Mother are working outside, one cutting hay in the top triangle field the other potting plants by the house. The two bird songs, the dimming light, knowing others are still doing brings me to my childhood: pink roomed evenings, in bed in the not dark. And the world goes on despite the tragedies. Ronald Reagan is dead but a blackbird still sings, his need his life’s worth. Life force, it all rolls forward and Venus will cross the sun from our view tomorrow morning. So is there a purpose? Any purpose that can be named is too narrow. Procreation? Then I have no purpose, lost in sunshine and may blossom, blushing pink, turning brown on one hot day. Procreation. My head bleeds and I don’t really care. I can’t write with intellect and wit and sometimes that matters to me.
I danced yesterday and Star played Dancing Queen, said it was my song. ON the floor on my knees falling, arms reaching up, recovering, falling. I believe in angels (with feather tails). Why was it my dance? ‘It as your time’ said JS. Was that it was that my time? We all die.
I believe in angels (with feather tails)
I believe in Solpodol
I believe in Amitriptyline
I believe in caffeine
I’m lost. I know there are bats in the ceiling. I know there are discarded letters, unsent.
22nd on the school playing field (Preseli) there seem to be two football games occurring on the same pitch, two goalies at one end. A small boy still plays after the school bell – hooter,has sounded.
24th Red kite tipping the wind over the dip by the change over bus stop, Synod Inn. Midsummer’s day – Faerie night. Aberaeron: Torri porfa. Dyn blowing the grass and hedge cuttings one-way, the wind blowing them up. They need a Hoover for this sort of thing not a blower.
25th just above Ogwen falls a grey wagtail.
Where is hope and faith in what? Charity? Do I have charity?
briefly the mist clears from the lower shoulder and it all becomes sharp, so near, so clear and the heather like velvet. The top disappears, the clouds come lower and the rain falls.
It is too late to start
For destinations not of the heart.
I must stay here with my hurt.
Our destiny our beings heart and home
Is with infinitude…
I laugh and laugh at myself. Why can’t I change my desire for a man as I swiftly and as easily as I just swapped my herb tea for a coffee? I hadn’t even had a sip of the herb tea; and I don’t normally drink instant coffee.
Actually I think I should clarify that a little: why can’t I wilfully change my desire? I believe all the trouble started when I didn’t mean to, when I wasn’t expecting it.
Dydd Sul. Caernarfon 13.35. A man in a Howies t-shirt.
I stare and stare across the water from Caernarfon, wondering where the muscle pickers are. There they are; I make a fancy that you are among them.
Earlier I painted a green picture at Idwal. The wind flipped it sticky onto my (favourite trousers); think it’s called a monoprint.
dw i’n gari di
The Moon and the Yew Tree
I simply cannot see where there is to get to from here
And the knife not carve, but enter
Pure and clean as the cry of a baby
And the universe slide from my side.
Aberystwyth, glan y mor. Chips and tea amongst pigeons, gulls and bikers. Children scream in wind whipped waves.
Remembered after: Beautiful air full of birds; dunes full of rabbits, some black. Cross bills seen for the first time, but hardly seen. Hear them: cracking cones. Ravens tackling a pterodactyl in the forest. More ravens gathered here than anywhere else, he says. I still fear but loosen. A tick on my bare foot! Do I have to put my boots on after a long sand, soft mud, wet and dry grass walk? He wants a fight, I can’t give him one. I don’t have the strength. Would I hurt him if I did? A day later I catch a glimpse of the sand dunes from the bus across the Straits. Terns, wild pansies, crossbills, black bunnies.
July 2nd Chestnut foal – steam from its nose. Well most of the people on the bus are wearing coats and jumpers. Dw i’n cofio dreaming neithwr: the top of the copse, cut down to nothing. Tree stumps and very uneven ground. I talked of where I had had a camp.
Kestrels on the cliff at St. Non’s. Is it a young one left the nest early and won’t fly – says the drop is just too far. Flaps and cries. Whilst still it is completely invisible. Another bird flies in and appears to feed it. But it has also been landing just round the corner, hidden. Is there another young one?
3rd humming bird hawk moth FTG
4th three heads are better than one.
Blackcap just outside the door in the bracken. I was attracted by the alarm call. Watched it awhile.
5th Kite turning low over the garden. So many birds, lots of small warblers, magpies young and old. Is it because Les has gone to town and the garden is all theirs –surely they can’t be that worried about Les, but I suppose there’s the dog too.
The soul comes into its fullness at the place where it encounters God, the infinite …
Several dreams this week of my childhood home: the woods chopped down. The lower wood tidied and shelters but still need to climb through the fence getting caught on the barbed wire and something else?
6th palest blue sky. Soft dove grey blue tipped clouds, just pinking in the distance. My badge reflecting the sunlight. Always low clouds over this patch before Swindon. So flat and open I suppose. More room to float low (like when everyone goes flat on the floor as a bat flies in the room, so it just flies lower), no hills to lift them. A summer afternoon of cricket sort of sky. Not at home, on the bus, on my own, less heavy hearted.
Right! Now if you see the cat going for the pretzels you have to tell him off.
Wake whenever light or late
7th Ants in the dentist’s waiting room. A two way path from under the counter, then around the counter to under the gas fire. 14th Caerdydd, the Bay: a man hoovering a fountain.
Pigeons and a jackdaw on a roof. Pigeon food – rice from a tin bowl. They all fly down. The man bangs the dish to empty it, most fly up. The seagulls circle above. All the pigeons arrive down again. A car hoots its horn they all fly up again. Car leaves, down again. The man leans against a car and rolls a cigarette. The man asks the children to frighten the bird, so the boy throws a stick. They wait on the roofs for the children to leave.
Thursday. Seems almost to be late August; red rowan berries, buddleia going over, flowers browning. Two astonishing colours together, three if you include the orange rowan berries. I know that the centre of each buddleia flower is orange red
A stream on a sand bank. I am so tired.
16th 551 Synod Inn – Aberteifi: To Tommy Katie and Rosie fansy you witch one are you going to dump?
She buys a child fare then talks of getting drunk live life to the full i.e. get pissed Did you bath in perfume before you left home? I smell hairspray.
18th I watch a family play cricket and suddenly think of you. Are you still playing cricket?
One seagull got it, what ever it is, now they all want it.
24th I think it was 365 days ago.
29th I have the strangest feeling that keeps re- occurring, whether sitting on a wall, in a shop or ar y bws, that I need to be wearing a seat belt.
Sometime, Caerdydd. The smoking room at Café Republic. 4 individuals on four tables, quiet. Jazz F.M. playing. Tapping to a different rhythm, one man listens to a mini disc; checking his accounts. I look down through the window on reflections in the Burger King windows, mainly torsos and legs.
Sometime Trefdraeth. Sky blue, open head to skyblue and flickering sun. Sea and to one side a stream. Lie down in grass.
August 4th watch a black headed gull preen itself on the seafront at Aber. Ar dydd Llun a Dydd Mawrth roedd hi’n bwrw glaw ond heddi mae hi’n becoming brighter.
10th I write very little at the moment. Usually I write for you and as I’m practising not thinking about you I write very little.
Knock kneed they lean over the incoming river with nets, one two three, big middle little. Ever hopeful.
The sun is hot though it is late. An orange and green still life, left from the regatta. Green and orange wooden boat, orange motor launch and orange and green large course marker buoys.
Robin sings his winter song from the very top of the larch tree at the top of the vegetable garden, where the blackbird was singing.
Yr Almaen notebk….missing
September 17th soft still fragrant autumn day. A sinking bonfire in the middle of town. Huge apples. Hanging. Black spotted sycamore leaves crunch under foot. A pigeon calls and a jacadaw
and rooks. Always jacadaws and rooks. Gentle air to cushion my rushing, to fold me in. A thick blanket of red over each hawthorn tree. Light grey sky veiling the sun all day. A tiny triangle gap lets a late beam down over Carningli way – seen from the coast. Lull me into winter into darkness.
22nd plane: Caerdydd - Mao. Orange shadows turning to gold. The man across and down one casts his shadow above my head. I can watch him eat and drink by it.
23rd one swallowtail
24th Café Amadeus
1 kite, 2 kestrels chasing across a field, sticky backed plastic net curtain, hoopoe flies alongside car (open top), swallow, swallows, finches, loads, hidden in a tree, 2 meadow browns on the beach, I tiny blue/purple hairstreak butterfly, 1 humming bird hawk moth. Pass a field of irrigation, smell of wet earth – the plus of an open top car.
The sun is getting lower the breeze runs, the clouds thicken, the gin runs- and runs through my veins.
25th one large swift
26th still the wind blows, one short shower, missed by mum and dad, maybe due to the protection of the house, it didn’t fall their side, just mine. The trees are al small and slim leaved to survive the wind
red rust rock and bright green grass. Soft brown sandy soil and dark green foliage. Siberian Warbler.
Dead dolls around a fig tree – a warning to dolls not to steal figs. Kite. Kestrel.
Monday 27th and still a big wind. Es Castell, one swift in the morning sun. when it blow it can blow for five days, I hear them say.
Black birds not blackbirds, by the sea, over rocks, squabbling, chasing racing, singing who’s the king of the castle. Peachy full moon rising
Tuesday 4.30 low red planet 7.30 high and still sparkling in the pale blue sky of sunrise. Still water at last, morning swim.
2 hoopoe lick flack about over two electric wires full of pigeons – hedfan igam ogam.
Ferreries: stout pairs of short older ladies talk quietly on the street, gossip in the air. Short hair, shopping bags, neat clothes. Close heads, eyes sometimes looking over the shoulder of the other; no details are passed while fiddling with the neckline of the shirt.
Wednesday. Swifts over Es Castell – hear them calling. Beetles and eagles. Crystal waters.
Walk to playa and back in the evening. Stoat/weasel looks at me as I look at it. Runs across the road in front of me, looks some more then flashes off as a car approaches. Man juggling by the water’s edge. Couple on bicycles that I saw on he Fornell’s road and in the Mesquida shop when I bought ice creams. Dogs – the perro puppy from some years back now grown, with his large creamy friend and family on a walk. Kingfisher across the rocks.
30th loads of pigeons on the electric wires and one kestrel on the wire at a distance. Seagull with a dead fish tries and tries to swallow it whole, to stretch its neck long enough with the fish in the right position. Swallowtail. Flip flops encrusted with beads. Brandy and coke.
October Monday 4th this time the kestrel sits a metre from a pigeon. Great birdsong outside my window this morning – was it the rock thrushes, the black birds not blackbirds. Quiet walk as sun sets. Kingfisher from root of tree, black redstart, stonechat, redstart, Dartford warbler. Eagle.
8th Friday past Llanelli (Caerdydd i Caerfyrddin) before Cidweli. I remember the snowy may blossom earlier this year, spectacular in its coverage. Now the berries are spectacular, across the levels here, red shinning hedgerows. I’ve never seen anything like it before.
Tuesday: I go to a favourite secret place and tidy up annoying a squirrel and a blackbird. Now I’m annoyed by midges.
I can’t see my place, my self.
Are you still looking for that damn river? If you want to swim, swim now. But remember you are not a fish. And while we’re on the subject remember you are not a bird, you can’t fly. Your feet need to be firmly planted on the ground.
They also serve who only stand and wait Milton, On His Blindness.
Saturday. Larry opened the door at the mist rising moment. He sat and faced the steaming rosebay willowherb and as he breathed the out breath turned to mist and curled over his shouters into the room.
I can’t see my place and won’t see myself
November 3rd bindweed around a twig, like wings, like a green angel. A fly dances the ceiling. A trackway of self heal up onto Clynfyws steep side.
Ar y ffordd rhwng Abercych and Cwmcych: a lime linden leaf caught as it fell while I stood watching a pair of ravens and a pair of buzzards cross the valley high above the trees challenging each others air. A linden leaf caught in my hand and to be posted. I smell apples fermenting – cider in the making; a pond floating full of crab apples, an autumn drink for badgers. Smell of violets and in the same place again as I walk back.
Thursday Looking up a steep bank at blue sky through turning larch and young beech: palest green, yellow and bronze.
Caerdydd. It is 10.30pm and there isn’t another bus for 21 minutes. I pause and decide to walk. I realise how cold it actually is and wrap my orange scarf around my ears. As I walk to the park where it meets Cathedral road under street lamps the leaves sparkle. I see my first frost of the autumn. I pick up leaves for a closer look.
December 10th sparrow with large feather, probably lofted from the freerange ducks and chicken at Llanfair Nantgwyn. Lapwings, Llantood.
20th Hard frost. The nasturtiums are gone.
Rooks and jacadaws washing thoroughly in a sodden field – next to the black llama. One rook refuses to share with a jacadaw. The water sprays up into the sunlight. Gorse starting to cloud yellow. Above Lower Fishguard one bush thick opaque yellow.
21st I heard a blackbird singing on the solstice morning to heavy sparrow clatter.
Flock of lapwing at Traws with curlew?
Double dipper day at Llyn Y Fan Fach
23rd a pair of red kites low in the sky dancing together.
January 1st Violets in flower, celandine, cow parsley, red campion, hazel catkins, primroses, daffodil.
First week. Warm with horizontal rain in storm force winds. Blown across the mountainside as soon as I was exposed to the southwest.
Daily walk attempt whilst in Trefdraeth, up,up to Carn Ffoi and across the side of Mynydd Carningli to Brynach,s well. Day two as I walk the tree roofed path I see my right foot landing into the print I left the day before. Everything slowed as the boot pressed into the mud and time seemed confused.
Second week. Ffo fflach y snipe, igam ogam o fy nhraed i. 2 days in a row.
10th donkey rolling onto its back and wiggling its legs in the air, then dropping over to the other side, then onto back again, a wiggle and to the other side, back and over and back some more.
Been dreaming of kestrels – or have I really been seeing them.
Last week. The song thrush is singing thick and long (3 hours or more, outside my window from 7:30). A walk up to Carn Ffoi and blue tits and great tit sing from the bushes, and a songy in the distance.February 2nd. A dawn chorus; at 7:10 the songy up the field starts and other birds join immediately. By 7:25 my window thrush begins his marathon.
TODAY I have been sitting in the house garden at Clynfyw, in the rain, lots of rain.
I walk to the walled garden but can't get through, so much plant life thick and wet; I wrap my blanket around my legs but still can't make a way through. turn back and go down the bank to the pond past feathers that mark the last breath of a pigeon. I run and skip along the path, through the woods to Abercych a wild child a wild woman, I find smiles and laughter that I thought I'd lost, at the same time remember my rib cage feeling too tight to contain my heart and lungs as we all returned from the field on the last Friday there. my heart soars and embraces everything in the moment, then gone.
I dance with SW, Star and EK: flying hot energy, steamy air dance, soft, full heart dance, spent passion dance.