A vibrant living world: writing that never grows old

“Time after time the animate is compared to the inanimate. Language that is so obviously wedded to the manmade world threatens to estrange, rather than reconcile, minds already far distanced from nature, and reinforces the faulty assumption that the natural world somehow belongs to humans. ……… Contemporary writing needs to collectively produce more narratives where the activities of birds and animals are not simply blots of colour or background sound, but are very much alive. We see this achieved in Jim’s article where the birds exist vibrantly in the present”

Moments of Place

glyder fach landscape

In a recent piece about the Berwyn Mountains of Wales my friend Jim Perrin drew attention to the name of Y Berwyn’s high point having been misplaced. For decades Moel Sych or Cadair Berwyn were the accepted high points, but the actual summit lies between them. At 830m it is called Moel yr Ewig (Hill of the Roe Hind), known as such for its characteristic shape. The last paragraph captures the quiet, graceful presence of the hill, set deep amongst the vibrant activities of its wildlife:

“Last time I descended from here, I stopped to talk to a fisherman casting his diawl bach (“little devil” fly) for the small brown trout that teem in Llyn Lluncaws. “D’you know the name for the top?” he asked. I gave him Moel yr Ewig. “Good man!” he responded, and with a gesture of his hand described the ridge rising to it. “See the…

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The Nymph’s Crystal Stream

richard jefferies

Simon Coleman

cupid and sea nymphs

‘Cupid and Sea Nymphs’ by Henry Scott Tuke, 1899

I’ve been re-reading a book titled ‘In the Wake of Odysseus’ by the Finnish-Swedish author and sailor, Göran Schildt (1917-2009).  Translated from Swedish, the book is a vibrant and deeply sensitive account of Schildt’s voyage to Greece and Crete, with his wife, Mona, in their yacht, ‘Daphne’, in the summer of 1950.  Starting from their base in northern Italy, they sailed down the west coast to the southern tip of Italy, before crossing to the islands of Cephalonia and Ithaca.  After passing through the Corinth Canal and reaching Athens, they continued into the Aegean to explore the Cyclades islands where they encountered the dangerous summer winds blowing down from the north, known as the ‘Meltemia’.

Schildt’s views on life and humanity emerge naturally from his own experiences, charged with the freedom and spirit of the born explorer. …

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