Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Image Left: Otter Cubs in the Kelp
Sunday 8th February
Sometimes I look for signs and wonders but more often they find me: the arch of a mountain peak, a line in the sand or the flicker of a hawk’s wing over the heather. I don’t like the word omen it sounds too wishy-washy, too subjective; I tend to think of these small moments as tracks or way markers. When I look for otters it isn’t the big splashes but the tooth marks found in the discarded bodies of crabs or the scats and trails through the wet grass that give proof of life. I collect and compare incidents hoping to eek out some meaning or understanding of the world based on experience rather than the fall of the cards or patterns left by tea leaves.
When I have collected and sorted then I weave my own world, which is no less ethereal than that of other mystics. Yesterday I found a circle in the sand carved by a single blade of grass that had been spun around its anchor point in the wind, I took as a sign. I once photographed the side of barn that bore similar markings left by a sycamore that had been felled prior to my visit. Once on a mountain I found solid rock cut by the same process and again while waiting in a motorway traffic jam my eye was drawn to a grime covered concrete embankment, scoured by trailing brambles . I have a history with patterns, sometimes it works in my favour and then it doesn’t.
A permaculturist once told me that when dealing with a new garden or landscape the best practice is to do nothing for a year and just observe; get to know your land before turning it under the plough. In a couple of weeks I will have lived on the island for a year, I don’t know whether I have served my apprenticeship but I have a feeling it is an on going process. Before I came here I was following other patterns that led to other places, dark places and an end that I didn’t want. I left and chose life in a new landscape, with new possibilities and new patterns. So I take this circle as a sign, a proof of life.
This morning I walked into a world of patterns and in amongst the familiar nodding of kelp fronds on an ebbing tide I spotted the flick of an otter’s tail as it dived. The sun broke through the cloud as I scrambled over the rocks to watch a female otter and her cubs hunt the rocky margins of island.
Image Above Right: Ghost Sycamore
Image Below: Circle in the Sand