Archive | November 2012

#Otters and #Ash trees live together

I’ve been re-reading Miriam Darlington’s luminous book Otter Country: in search of the wild otter, published by Granta Books.

I noticed two phrases I hadn’t noticed first time:

‘Ash trees are most popular with otters because their roots from a complicated system of shelter below ground, and re often right by or even overhanging the water, so that the otter can slip subtly in and out.’ p.77

‘Up and down the banks are the complex root systems of ash trees, which otters particularly love to use as holts as they provide hidden shelter and easy access to the water.’ p. 175

I have been entranced by the otter following Miriam Darlington’s description of them, where it as if she has become the otter. I have been left wondering if the otter is at increased risk and threatened by the Ash tree crisis? They live together, the ash tree and the otter.

Does anyone know?

The importance of the present moment – guest blog by Phil Wield #present moment



There are two Greek words, used in the New Testament, that are commonly translated as ‘time’. Although they are not always used consistently by the biblical authors, together they represent two different conceptions of time.


The word chronos generally describes the linear idea that we are most familiar with in modern culture. The other word, kairos, often signifies the sense of an ‘opportune moment’, a particular moment in time where something significant occurs. The other important ingredient in such a moment is that of relationship.


Rebecca Nye, following her extensive research into childhood spirituality, has proposed that the ‘core’ of children’s spirituality is ‘relational consciousness‘, by which she means particular moments of ‘an unusual level of consciousness or perceptiveness… expressed in a context of how the child related to things, other people, him/herself, and God.’1


Maybe this is one aspect of what Jesus was referring to when he said that we must become like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of God. To journey any distance into the Kingdom of God requires us to be ready for kairos moments with each other and with God. It is in responding to these occasions that we make progress – so we need not just to pray but ‘to watch and pray’.




1 Rebecca Nye, ‘Identifying the Core of Children’s Spirituality’ in David Hay & Rebecca Nye, The Spirit of the Child, London: Jessica Kingsley, 2006, 109.


(Apart from two years running a relief agency in Thailand, Phil Wield worked for many years in IT, mainly in the NHS and the banking sector. He then studied theology and counselling at London School of Theology and now works as a Counsellor in private practice, as well as being the Assistant Manager of Watford Christian Counselling Service. He is a member of Watford Community Church.


He believes that recent advances in neuroscientific research are helping us to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be created in the image of God, in that we are profoundly relational beings. It is also provoking the Western church to rediscover its heritage in terms of Christian Spirituality, especially in the area of meditation.


Phil is married to Cathy and they have four children and two grandchildren).


One-minute Icon – temporary sanctuary #sanctuary

One-minute Icon - temporary sanctuary #sanctuary

A temporary sanctuary in Hampstead. Step out of clock time for one minute, gazing attentively.
Do you build sanctuary into your day, quietly, unobtrusively?
Is it a place, a practice? A person?

One Minute Icon 4 – am I unreconciled? #contemplation

reconciliation by shaun lambert

Step out of clock time for one minute. Focus on the painting. If your mind wanders, note where it wanders and come back to the painting. Where is your mind wandering? If the painting brings you into a new place of open awareness, what is it that comes to mind? Carrying unreconciled things is a heavy burden. (The embrace was inspired by a sculpture at Coventry Cathedral, a duplicate of which is in the Peace Garden in Hiroshima, Japan). (see also an earlier post in April, The Mystical Boat)