The Earth That Holds Us

He used the rake as if a gondolier, pushing the long wooden pole out into the briny water until he drew its flat blade backwards, pulling white crystals free of the shallow pond. The salt pan glimmered and shone in the fierce September heat of Andalucía, its crusted white surface blindingly bright. Flamingos cut a … Continue reading The Earth That Holds Us

A World Away, So Near: Lodge Hill

On May 19th 1924, the BBC made history with its first live broadcast of a wild animal, setting its microphones and sound equipment in the leafy Surrey garden of cellist Beatrice Harrison as she performed a duet with a nightingale. Against all of the expectations of BBC founder Lord Reith at the time, who reluctantly … Continue reading A World Away, So Near: Lodge Hill

The Sum of a Place: Gwent Levels

“They always say the best way to see the Gwent Levels is with a microscope or a helicopter.” I was walking through the stunning June meadows and dense willow copses of Magor Marsh Nature Reserve with Sorrel Jones, a conservation officer for the Gwent Wildlife Trust. The last relic fenland in south-east Wales, Magor Marsh … Continue reading The Sum of a Place: Gwent Levels

A Fragile Blue Edge

Wreathed in egret-white waves, the rippled hills of the coast glittered in hot light. The sky was a flawless blue, a near match for the glazed and glistening sea. We walked on warm sand, sinking into the smooth sweep of dunes that were slowly on the move, cartwheeling south with the wind and waves towards … Continue reading A Fragile Blue Edge

Faith in a Forgotten Place

"Where there are borders, there are bridges." I'd been researching a cross-border eco-tourism project on the Albanian side of the lake when Myrsini Malakou, director of the Society for the Protection of Prespa, suddenly said this during an interview. Her words crystalized for me a vague idea that I'd been carrying around throughout the time I'd spent in … Continue reading Faith in a Forgotten Place