The northerlies are tenacious this year, persisting not only throughout April but well into May. It’s hard to believe we’re only five weeks off the solstice when I’m still making fires every evening. The flowers seem to be feeling it too: the lesser celandines and violets which I remember starring the woodland floor as I took my daily walks last April have only recently begun to raise their heads. It feels as if the passage of time has stalled, that the seasons are on pause or running in slow motion. I initially assume this sensation is due to the weather but then I start to wonder how much it’s to do with the prevailing social climate too. I read in the papers online about “brain fog” – the mental listlessness and confusion that many are apparently suffering due to the monotony of life under lockdown – and it seems that the suppression of our natural life is taking its toll as well.

Things are “easing” now socially at least but it’s all so different to last spring. I remember driving to Lochinver ahead of the first lockdown thinking how incongruous it was that just as the natural world was coming into bloom – with sunshine and daffodils fairly bounding along the glens – the human world was closing down. This spring it’s the other way round: we humans are tentatively opening up but winter is stubbornly hanging on – cold, fixed, relentless.

dry ochre oak leaf hanging in front of bare grey tree

Rosehall trails, Sutherland, Scotland
13th May 2021


bright green and yellow backlit hazel leaf with sun-dappled trees in the background

beneath the feathered yellow haze of the larch
and the tiny gold coins of the birch leaves
the last green fires alight

Culag Wood, Lochinver, Sutherland, Scotland
26th September 2020


red japanese maple keys with orange leaf hanging before winter green grass

Green temples, red altars.
Places to offer yourself,
places to belong.

transparent orange Japanese maple leaf in bed of red ones

Bryngarw Country Park, Glamorgan, South Wales
23rd October 2019


      a footfall,

             a leaf fall,

        a syllable
                    on the air

short printed poem mounted in resin above grass

Corbenic Poetry Path, Trochry, Perthshire, Scotland
17th June 2018