A visitation from a minor god

A visitation from a minor god

The past is a place which enriches me in almost all I do, and I love travelling there as much as I love travelling abroad.  As Henry Miller said, it ‘fructifies the present’, and I see history as a vertical version of geography – a place you can...
Trick or miracle?

Trick or miracle?

I love the idea of trusting in Nature, but have to wonder whether it is capable of such apparently conscious agency in our lives, whether playing tricks or working miracles. If such agency is real, may it ever work miracles for you. ‘And then Nature, in whom she...
Nature like an athlete

Nature like an athlete

How wonderful to portray nature beefing herself up to wrestle with winter, stripping off all superfluity such as leaves, the better to grapple with cold and frost. ‘Nature now, like an athlete, begins to strip herself in earnest for her contest with her great...
A poet’s sister or a sister poet?

A poet’s sister or a sister poet?

In Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals, you sense the extent to which she supported her brother’s writing. Some things she records become material for his poems. She also reads aloud to him, including his own compositions, and copies out his poems. But beyond...
Faint-croaking frogs

Faint-croaking frogs

Thoreau is notably patient in observing nature, able to stand still for half an hour or more, to let the frogs and other creatures overcome their fear or shyness and be overcome instead by curiosity.  Here, he ends up being observed in return by half a dozen...
Rainbow-like belt

Rainbow-like belt

Surely, I could bestow such a belt on a character in a story?   And those ‘brilliant-colored points or cones’, garlanding a pond, or a garden. ‘Walden, too, like an Indian maiden, wears this broad rainbow-like belt of brilliant-colored points or...
The lovable vigour of weeds

The lovable vigour of weeds

Yes, I know what he means.  I’m becoming increasingly tolerant of weeds and have started protecting and even nurturing some. As a result, our lawn is taking on the character of a wild flower meadow, and this week I was heartened to see the first invasion of cow...
Like the lowing of a cow

Like the lowing of a cow

Nature’s hoarse summer voice?  Wind shuffling leaves and crickets rubbing hands together?  I like the metaphor, but nevertheless can’t quite capture what it is. ‘Nature has found her hoarse summer voice again, like the lowing of a cow let out to...
What was Nature thinking of?

What was Nature thinking of?

Another of Thoreau’s amazing fungus finds, only this one comes back to haunt him.  Installed in his house it reeks the place out, filling it with the heady vapours of dead rats.  As for his comment on nature, I hope it makes you laugh too. See also his parading...

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