Tag Archive | nature

#ash trees, coracles and #otters in their sleep-knots

the otter sleeps in the coracle of the ash-tree roots

‘The wild otter I saw would no doubt be out of the water and making tracks to its own musky holt, to curl belly upward, in a home of roots, peat and rocks. I imagine him enfolded in his fur, dreaming of water; a tight sleep-knot, enjoying the deep sleep of one who exists totally in the moment.’ ( Miriam Darlington, Otter Country, pp.40-41)

‘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 water.’ (Otter Country, p.175)

As I read these words I imagined the roots of the ash tree making a coracle, floating the otter to sleep in its hidden shelter. So I drew this as a coracle sleep-knot.

The ash tree root

coracle

      for the otter

fragile oracle

       of the wild

not going meek and mild.

Mindful of nature – Isaac the Syrian

ImageIsaac of Nineveh (The Syrian) of the seventh century was someone who who was mindful of nature. His purified heart, purified through contemplation of Scripture made him mindful of nature.

And what is a compassionate heart?..It is a heart that burns for all creation, for the birds, for the beasts, for the devils, for every creature. When he thinks about them, when he looks at them, his eyes fill with tears. So strong, so violent is his compassion….that his heart breaks when he sees the pain and the suffering of the humblest creature.’ (quoted in Olivier Clement, ‘The Roots of Christian Mysticism’, p. 227).

Christians who rediscover the ancient paths of contemplation will rediscover the possibility of seeing  ‘every common bush afire with God’ (Gerard Manley Hopkins). They will rediscover a heart that burns for all creation.

Otter Country – mindful of nature

Miriam Darlington, a poet, has written a beautiful book called ‘Otter Country – in search of the wild otter’, published just recently by Granta. It is a book to be read slowly, with a chocolate-covered cappucino and lemon tart. Perhaps only a chapter a day as a treat to be savoured and tasted.

I have read just the first three chapters so far but I am captivated. Like all good poets, through awareness, attention, and observation she has got under the skin of the otter. Miriam, along with all poets and nature writers is mindful of nature, and demonstrates that mindfulness is a universal human capacity. Within our mindful brain we all have the capacity for wise present-moment awareness that sees far and true.

Her words melt the padlocks of your mind and suddenly you are free to slip into the book as the otter slips into the river or the sea. Read it and see again.