It’s been a long time since I posted an update here. In fact the last post was last autumn, and now we’re clearly well beyond the Spring equinox and heading on towards summer, I suppose.
The lack of updates is partly because I simply haven’t had any new ideas and partly because my mind has been in a different space, with work and family issues that really don’t need to be aired in public. After all, that was never my intention when I started this blog: it was intended to be disconnected from my own life and activities, an anonymous space where I could post opinions and poetry and where the “I” of the narrator didn’t automatically get superimposed on the “I” of the writer or vice versa. Eventually, though, I doxxed myself, and now it’s easy enough to find out who is behind the words and thoughts here, which probably makes it more important than ever to keep the details as impersonal as possible.
Even with the blog apparently abandoned, I still occasionally get notifications of likes of old posts and even of new followers, and now that things are settling a little for me, I expect I will continue to post intermittently.
But I won’t be kidding myself or anyone else that there will be weekly updates or anything like that. After all, I seem to have become somewhat anchored to a small geographical area and am not finding the same new experiences and new visual inputs to provide inspiration. Even if climate change affects the weather and the timing of the seasons, so far there’s been no radical change to the local flora and the trees and flowers all produce the blooms and blossoms one might expect in more or less the expected order.
That said, last week on a walk, on a tree-lined urban street within a mile of my home, I saw something I had never seen before: a pair of great spotted woodpeckers. First I saw a swoop of black and white and thought it was simply a magpie. Then I glimpsed the flash of a scarlet rump. And then along came another bird with the same plumage. They perched on the same branch for a minute or two before taking off together towards a more distant tree.
Having failed miserably to photograph birds with my phone in the past, I didn’t even try to do more than stand and gaze in admiration. It was early on Sunday, I think, and there was no one else about to share the wonder.
Of course, in this age of digital camera at your fingertips, not having a photo makes for a bit of a poor story – “pics or it didn’t happen.”
Fortunately, even if I failed to capture evidence, I knew where I could go to take a picture that would accompany the account. This (un)feathered friend hangs out in the park and can be relied on to sit still long enough for even an amateur photographer such as myself.
Woodpeckers aren’t a common sight – I hear them far more often than I see them – and I’d never seen a pair before. Perhaps that’s why, despite a plethora of plumage in my old poems, I couldn’t find more than a passing mention. It was in a piece that had I started years ago when I lived in Spain, but which had been abandoned as unsatisfactory.
Now, with the objectivity of distance and time, I’ve simply ditched the first section and it seems to be a little more successful. It’ll certainly do for the moment:
Today, my thoughts
are in the sky – pursuing the cloaking silhouette
of a cormorant; following the low blue swoop
of a jay; dithering between branches
with a flock of chaffinches;
probing the high bark of a leafless tree
with the woodpecker in search of hibernating bugs;
lilting through cold air with nine… fifteen…
twenty… thirty… two score azure-winged magpies
that burst, shrieking, from the weeping willow as I pass.
I’ve mentioned the rabilargo – the Iberian azure-winged magpie – before here. It is, without doubt, a thing of beauty.
It may be worth noting that the wooden woodpecker doesn’t seem to be very expert in his foraging for bugs, as this great creature is to be found on pretty much the next stump over.
The final creature in this small collection of sculptures is the mouse who featured at the start of the post. It’s my favourite – such a simple yet evocative shape, perched atop a giant mushroom and crying out to be touched by the few members of the public who stray from the standard paths through the park.
All three carvings appeared during a muddy spell that kept me from my usual walks and there was an audible gasp of delight when I discovered them recently. Perhaps there are still new things to be seen, so perhaps I will be able to think of things to post occasionally. Just don’t hold your breath.