There is nothing here for you

When I am walking, my habit is to surrender.

Not to the hustle and bustle of people nor the intrusion of traffic noise but to the feeling of pause; that single moment when you are suggested to halt and open up. A considerable force that seizes that moment and squeezes you in to it, forcing you to stand, side by side, and witness a miraculous thing.

Miraculous?

Well yes I choose to believe so. Whether it be a recognition of something of wonder; a scene or a sound, a smell of something remarkable or simply a moment of clarity where things seem more real than they ever have … those moments become you and begin to mould your day to day. You choose in faith that this is important and the consequences, somehow, vital.

Before my recent return to the Dorset/Wiltshire border I lived in Birmingham for 6 or 7 years … a city life and all that came with it. I was born there and the return to the metropolitan life delivered familiarity at a time when life was turbulent. I slipped into the depths of it like a pebble silently falling to the murky riverbed.

Nature; a travelling companion that had formerly worn the brightest overcoat was now dressed in a grubby jacket that stank of cars and discarded litter.

It was not silent, where I lived- but there was definite lack of song

There were times when all I saw were the magpies and crows, bickering over possession of where to stand to deliver the cruelest gaze … taunting me to turn away yet teasing me to look. Something kept calling me to heed …

Magpie

And though I can see
The tree above me, below

And fallen leaves
Exist between

All I can hear
Is the clackering magpie

‘Move on’ it says

There is nothing here for you

And it is that moment, when choosing denial and retreat (that you know will leave you no reward but a little emptier), that I choose to call a miracle. For in turning away, I realised my habit was to keep looking back over my shoulder.

I knew I had missed … something. It often takes a challenge, a confrontation to your expectations to reveal an alternative … or a deeper truth.

Hooked from the depths of sleep

Hooked from the depths of sleep
By the wriggling bait of a hacking caw-caw
My eyes reluctant, blink

And in the milky light of a weak morning
Hover the dark kites, nodding their efforts
Wake up, wake up, boy!

‘Though we are black, and eternally mock
Though we rock and bleat in our call
We see all, we see all’

A discordant song, coughed and strained
Yet its peal caved through my slumber
This day requires tribute

Panicked rustling of feather, carrion yet
Divine in its flight and all that is impossible
All I yearned to see

‘Yes, yes. Though dark to your eyes
And forged by cold superstition
We see all, we see all’

True. My words cloak your fate, I
Call you sinister and cast you villain
Perhaps, I am wrong

Awkward in sound, because I hear
Jeering in flight and jittering panic
Because I see

‘The sense of the city, of crowded land
The clutter and bicker of folk
We see all, we see all’

I see myself, from such shallow height
I have not been called in jest
You are mirror

God’s feather, unseen, invisible to me
My loathing reflects myself

When I understood … surrounded by the cawing and cackling, the life outside of myself; when I could hold myself in the company of everything without judgment or fear … then the moments of pause became frequent and more importantly, recognisable.

I was able to acknowledge them for what they were; simply rewards for an acknowledged quest for the divine. A call for place and belonging.

I too could claim a morning, a shadow, a gleeful discovery of a budding plant … for it is all there to delight.

Crows and magpies claiming

The crows and magpies, as usual are
Claiming this misty morning as their own.
You can hear them call … it’s mine, it’s mine …
They caw possessively owning the frost tops of the bramble
And the jewels in the hedges;
Discarded crisp packets and plastic bottles
Glistening and teasing
Breathing their own ‘come get me’
In the hidden places
Beneath the watery sky

And I wonder about the Jay
And the Amber fox
The real jewels in my own dulled eye
I know they are out there
For once, I glimpsed them, sideways
A splinter of my heart pulls and thuds
With tiny tremors in time

Of course, the discarded shiny drinks cans, nor the strongly smelling chip paper were not my idea of treasure but I knew there was something to behold. I was being told … ‘come get me’

And as my daily habit involved having either my camera or my phone available, I began to look closer and record my observations.

Once I gave up the conflict with the magpies and accepted things for what they were … their beauty began to shine. It became easy. Trinkets of joy were apparent beneath every footfall

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It was not an act of casual frivolity though I completely surrendered to the joy of it. I had disturbed a host of sleeping butterflies and I was simply attempting to capture that moment of escape.