I toss a bottle in the sea, watch until it’s lost to sight. Like Lir’s children, tossed from sea to loch through storm and crashing waves, it drifts unchanged and undiminished.
Not in pure white feathers clad, its coloured label fading with the sun, but smeared and greened with algae, for three hundred years it sails, condemned to never let its atoms free.
Three hundred years again before it finds a different sea, an ocean broad as half the world, and carried in the currents, jostled by a million lost semblables, it joins the continent of plastic trash.
Perhaps in three hundred years again, when time has put an end to our earthly reign, the sorry debris, our eternal badge of shame, will sink like human bones, to rest among the corals and the last of all the pearls.
I think we all know what we as individuals can do to help slow down climate change, famine, floods and mass migration for the poorest populations in the world. It’s simply that most of us won’t do it unless we’re forced.
I was going to post a very short, non-exhaustive list, but I won’t. We all know it by heart. Nor will I write a poem about saving nature, because poetry makes not one iota of difference.
There’s nothing that’s impossible or even difficult in being reasonable and humane. It’s not fascist or Medieval to stop wasting resources. It is simply the plain truth that our throw away clothes are produced in sweat shops often by children, that abattoirs are hell on earth, that those floating luxury palaces destroy everything they come in contact with.
And it’s depressing that we would rather believe in hoaxes, irrational conspiracies and whataboutery than scientific fact. In the end, it all comes down to whether or not we care
and whether we want the books we will read to our grandchildren to have elephants and badgers on the same page as unicorns.
These fields are veined with running feet, the hooved and the padded, the broad forked twig-feet of pheasants. Through the long grass they run, tunnelled through bramble, broadening to the crushed stalks of temporary resting places. River banks are scored with badger claws and the parallel slices of deer hooves, caves hollowed by coypu, the landslips of boar.
Birds weave their aerial paths, the flitter and flutter, leaf-like, from bough to bough, the flash of damselfly-dip into the stream. Squirrels antic their way, highwire, no trapeze, through poplars and alders, where woodpeckers mark altitude points.
No contour lines track these slopes, sedge symbols the ponds. Dogs nose, gaze, see smells as bouncing colours in the air perhaps. I follow, trusting to commonplaces, my half-world as much as I can ever know.
Smells recall childhood baking bread hot tarmac here quince blossom.
This is for Paul Brookes’ Wild challenge, a ‘mindfulness walk’. I’ve just come in from a walk that was more watchful than mindful, but I’ve been thinking about the weather forecast for the coming week. High summer temperatures are coming earlier and earlier and next week is set to break records. We’re bracing ourselves for in excess of 40°C (104°F) from Tuesday, not cooling down at night and lasting until next Sunday.
The meadow beneath the window waves, yellow fescue, sucked dry, ripples in the hot breath of the anger coming.
Green grips deep, hugging the thin shade of tall stalks, grips the cool with root-fingers.
Perhaps only we cringe before the earth’s bellows and the furnace boiling,
the rest flutter, creep, spy, blackbirds grub in morning dew, making the best of things.